On Monday we gave the girls another 7am wake-up call, as we were booked for some more site activities. I can’t remember what breakfast was officially, but by this stage of the week the options included puddings from previous meals. Unit Helper made a noble effort and had jelly and apple sauce with just about everything in an effort to finish it! When breakfast was eaten and washed up, bedding rolls were made, and tents were tidy, the girls started activities. Half went off to the zip wire, which was reportedly good fun. They got several turns each, and some were brave enough to do it upside down! The other half stayed at the campsite and did craft. We used the party tent for shelter, but took off one side because the weather was nice. There were several dabbling options, and most Guides chose to make dream catchers and/or decorated horseshoes. These were a load of used horseshoes that First Aider had got free from a local stables, and polished to get the mud and rust off. The Guides were very happy wrapping these in wool, ribbons, feathers, beads, and so on. Co-Activity Leader and I sat with the Guides and gave them little bits of help; mostly they were just happy to sit and craft. Meanwhile, we painted some cactus shapes that I’d made from a bit of foam from work, for a bit of thematic decoration. Something I thought worked well was a half-time energiser: after 45 minutes, we got the Guides up and played a couple of running and catching games, just enough to keep them lively, before going back to the crafts. The other half of the Guides returned, we all had squash and cake, and I think the Guides then had time to get their tents ready for inspection, and a bit of hobby horse-making time, before lunch.
In the afternoon, the two halves swapped: one group went off to do crate stacking (again, it seemed to go down very well, with much hilarity over the way people’s towers collapsed), and the other half stayed in the party tent and did crafts. The other activities we’d laid out were rain shakers, which only a couple of Guides made, but I helped both of First Aider’s young sons make their own; and moccasins, which involved cutting a shape out of felt and blanket stitching it into a shoe. The prototypes looked really good, but no one finished a pair of their own. I’m sure we’ll be able to re-use the pattern some time in the future. During this craft session, Co-Activity Leader and I took it in turns to sneak away and fill up water balloons, because water games were next on the agenda. Fortunately the weather was, if not hot, at least fairly mild. After squash and cake time, the Guides changed into swimming costumes and/or waterproofs, and then we had a few rounds of “drip, drip, splash” (like “duck, duck, goose”, but dripping water from a cup onto everyone as you go round), some relay races with a holed cup, water balloon throwing contests, a sort of volleyball game with water balloons and tarpaulins, and a challenge for patrols to raise and lower a full basin of water between them, using only their feet, lying on their backs.
There was drying-off time, there was dinner, there was the resolution of an issue involving an unwanted visitor from another campsite, and then it was saloon night. This was a variation on casino night, which the other unit does as part of their programme every year or two, and was masterminded by First Aider, who spent most of the afternoon working out odds, making signs and labels, and counting poker chips. Hats off to her.
We set up several games, all with an element of gambling: net-a-duck, roulette, 21’s, a dice game, toss the horse shoe, and skittles Each had a leader or Senior Section running it. The Guides were each given the same value of chips to start with, and had about an hour to go around playing what they wanted. Just for fun, the QMs made cocktails (ice cream sodas and mixtures of various types of juice and fruit), turning their storage space into a rather snazzy bar, and we set up the “Wanted” sign – with props – for people to pose in before it got too dark.
The Guides’ gambling behaviour was interesting to watch: most latched onto a favourite game and stayed there most of the time; some were cautious with their money whilst others were reckless. As for me, I really enjoyed running the roulette wheel – perhaps I should start a new career as a croupier.
At the end, First Aider got all the Guides to line up in order of how much money they had left. What’s meant to happen is that the ones with the same amount they started with are well above the median, illustrating that the odds are in the casino’s favour. It didn’t quite work this time, as some of the odds were a bit generous to the Guides, but I really like the principle: lots of fun with a life lesson. The Guides’ day finished with hot chocolate, of course, and the leaders’ day finished with an unexpected sleepwalking Guide, just as we were heading to bed. How do others handle this? She woke and was surprised but not distressed, and we returned her to her tent, moved her bed from next to the door to the middle of the other Guides, and laced the door up tight. It didn’t happen again on camp, but it gave us food for thought, as none of us had had sleepwalkers on camp before, and hadn’t asked parents if there was any chance of it happening.