After a break 18 months, the activity that scouting is based on, camping, returned over the weekend of 10/11th July. We had been waiting for HQ to give the go ahead to return to camping and as soon as this was confirmed lots of planning started. COVID related Risk assessments were written and re-written a number of times. Some camps were postponed due to the restriction being place on the leaders, but our Sycamore Beavers spent the weekend at Stanford, our district camp site. Along with the risk assessment, programming planning, menu creation, etc kept the leadership team extremely busy. One week before one leader had to withdraw due to having to self-isolate. The leadership team were worn out before the camp!
Friday night was spent by the leaders and young leaders setting up camp, including more tents than normal as the young people needed to socially distance in the tents, and extra dinning shelters were needed for shelters as the young people were not permitted to rest in their tents during the daytime.
The hard work paid off when the Beavers all arrived Saturday morning, most of whom had never camped before. The camp started with a general welcome along with the long list of what they had to do and not to do under the COVID restrictions, but you could still see the exited young people’s faces as they were in camp. This was followed with the young people exploring the area of the campsite we were permitted to use, before lunch.
Saturday afternoon saw the Beavers hiking from the camp site to Buchan Park, around the lake and back to the site, a good 4 km hike for them, a distance some would not of done before.
On returning to site whilst waiting from dinner the young people were challenged to make the best structure with spaghetti and marshmallows with range of success.
Even meal times had to observe social distancing and thanks to the long bench at the campsite it made things easier for us.
A camp wouldn’t be a camp without a campfire on Saturday evening, so after dinner the young people collected wood and we held a campfire introducing the traditional songs to the them all.
The camp fire concluded with the Beavers toasting Marshmallows on the fire
Bedtime was the usual challenge for the leaders with some Beavers getting upset, but the leaders managed to get all the beavers to sleep, eventually!
Unfortunately, the Beavers woke with the Sun and were awake at 5am, fortunately they didn’t come out of their tents, until told.
Sunday was a little more of a laid back day, following breakfast the Young Leaders helped the Beavers make bird feeders.
This was followed by some knotting practice and then all the Beavers’ teddies got injured and all needed bandaging, two essential skills that the young people have not been able to do at online meetings.
All too quickly the camp came to an end, when the Beavers were collected by their parents.
This then left the leaders to take the tents down, pack the kit away and return it all to the Acorn, before getting home for a well earnt rest.
The leaders had a wonderful time seeing the young people experience what we have been missing for so long, and seeing them develop over the weekend as young people taking a massive step camping without their family for the first time, and hopefully many more years to come.
The Beavers had a great time exploring, learning, discovering and returned home exhausted but could not stop talking about it until the fell asleep. None of them made it through the Euro final which was on that evening, and some didn’t make to the start falling asleep where ever they were!
This is just the start of camping this year for the group, every section now has camps planned in August and September. The Group is gradually making its way back to ‘normallity’.