Our Scout camp a couple of weekends ago went very well. The weather co-operated and rained only through Saturday night after campfire. At first it felt a little odd having a different set of leaders than I’m used to, but we had a lot of fun. Nobody got hurt, the kids all got along together and the meals were fantastic – interpret as “I didn’t have to cook!”
It was the first camp for the new Scouts and they had a bit of a tough time adjusting to the new routines. They were expected to set up their own tents of course. But now that they’re in the next age group, they’re expected to work with the other Scouts preparing meals and cleaning up after eating. It was rather humourous to observe how scarce some of them made themselves. Good thing the leaders were on their game and rounded them up when necessary.
On Friday night, we had a beautiful night hike with no headlamps or flashlights. The moon was spectacular, being almost full, so we didn’t need any additional light. We walked for about an hour and a blanket of dense fog rolled in as we returned to camp, prompting some storytelling. We even made up stories about the imagined ‘face’ in the window of the heritage house.
It was very damp the entire weekend, but not especially rainy. My tent was soaking wet from the evening dew before it was even fully set up. Regardless, my super-boots kept my feet nice and toasty and I think most of the Scouts stayed warm. However, there was one child that concerned me as they didn’t think they had brought a jacket with them and they arrived wearing shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt (I offered one of my spare jackets from my van, but they didn’t like the colour). Seriously, what were their parents thinking letting them leave the house that way? If things had become much worse for them, their parents would have been called to pick them up or bring appropriate clothing. Happily, once the child had done a more thorough search of their bag, they found a light jacket. A wise scouting friend of mine recommends that kids should always pack their own bag – at least they’ll know what’s in it and where to find things. That child would have saved themselves a very chilly hike if they had been aware of the jacket in their bag before setting out.
The leaders (not me – I was attending as a lowly parent) incorporated some compass work into a treasure hunt and the Scouts carved jack-o-lanterns. They also scrubbed last year’s guck off the three burner propane stove and completed an inventory and shopping list for their patrol box.
I was hoping we would work on some knife skills or axe/hatchet permit requirements, but… nothing. During the free-time portion, I worked on my lighting-a-fire-in-the-rain skills then took a nap. No success in lighting a fire in the rain with my ferro rod – sadly, I resorted to coating some dry grass with a bit of lip balm and used a match to get the fire ignited. A couple of the Scouts joined me in my fire-lighting activity, so I suppose it wasn’t a total loss.
It was interesting to see how the kids used their free time. Some formed a group, playing a long round of the Magic card game. Others just hung about and watched the card game and a couple of the girls decided to go for a swim in the slough (they had packed their swim suits and had permission from their fathers who were in attendance as leaders). Wow, I can honestly say that the thought to jump into the cold water would never have crossed my mind. They should participate in the polar bear swims at New Year’s!
The most difficult part of camp was getting Daniel to pack. He had decided that it was a chore and really dug his heels in. Next time around, I’m not pushing him. He’s old enough to know what needs doing and if he’s not ready to go when I’m loading up, he won’t be attending.
Tonight and tomorrow evening, Andy and I will be packing for the Beavers camp this weekend. Our bedrolls are already done, I just need to do a bit of laundry and choose some appropriate clothes for layering up to keep both of us warm and dry. A dry Beaver is a happy Beaver. This goes for Scouters as well! As the Beavers are a younger age group and the nights are pretty chilly now, we won’t be tenting, so I won’t be trying to beat the clock to set up my tent before nightfall. All we’ll need to do is simply arrive at camp and unclip our bedrolls. Sweet.
As always, I’m grateful that my children are enthusiastic about the outdoors and provide this opportunity for us to get outside with like-minded people.