Group Weekend Family Camp - Helpers View
When Akela asked me to come and help at Group Camp, I didn't really know what to expect. Although I was a Girl Scout some years ago, nothing could have prepared me for a weekend with Pinkneys Green!
I arrived Friday evening having fought my way through the rush hour traffic on the M25, to be greeted by friendly, welcoming faces and Sheila's marvellous stew. After an evening of wide games, the boys were told to go to bed. Eventually they went to sleepů
I was awoken at 6.30 the next morning by a small but extremely loud cub. The day had begun. All the leaders were out of bed (well; sleeping bag) and already preparing breakfast for everyone. The level of activity at this early hour was really quite commendable. This was when good memories of Scout Camp came flooding back - mugs of tea and sausage sandwiches always taste better 'al fresco'!
The day was a carousel of games and learning - my favourite was the parachute activity, which gave fully grown adults the opportunity to scramble about on the ground like small children! The hours passed and after helping to run the fair games activity, a spot of volleyball and some boxing , it was time for the infamous Pinkneys Green barbecue.
What followed was an evening of wonderful food and conversation, bringing together young and old - parents, Scouts, Cubs, Leaders and helpers. The atmosphere was very special. A good old sing-song around the camp fire ended the evening in true Baden Powell style.
Sunday was something different again with 'Scout's Own' followed by more activities including my opportunity to do my bit and run a Spanish task base. I really enjoyed the contact with the parents and children, it was really good fun. Everyone took part with enthusiasm and good spirit.
After lunch and a frenzied hour of packing away, it was time to take down the flags and say our good-byes. Thank you to all the parents and leaders and boys of Pinkneys Green for making me feel so welcome and giving me an unforgettable weekend!
Group Weekend Family Camp - Parents View
Andrew (Beaver, 6 months) and I decided to join in the family camp held at Berkshire Agricultural College when it was first announced a few months ago. It would be Andrew's first taste of life under canvas, and my first attempt for over 20 years.
So, the car laden with borrowed equipment, we arrived on a gloriously sunny Friday evening at the site. It was exactly as I had expected. The marquee and associated cub and scout tents were established and organised, parents were pitching tents, organising caravans and brewing tea. Everyone looked very efficient, unlike me who had never taken our tent out of the bag before. Andrew disappeared off to play with the others and I grappled with an assortment of poles and nylon for a while before managing to establish our base camp.
It was a beautiful clear evening - the parents spent time chatting as the younger element played and ran around with torches in the darkness. Eventually people began to retire with their torches and Tilley lamps. I had made the potential error of pitching our tent next to the cubs' tents, but the night passed very quietly. Well I think it did, we were both sound asleep.
Saturday was the start of "proper camp", with flag break (4 flags on a 30 foot pole made from different sections lashed together, very impressive) and then organised activities, which the groups, including the adults, enjoyed very much. This took up most of the day, with breaks for football (with a 6 foot diameter ball), rugby, bouncy boxing etc.
Saturday evening was the highlight of the weekend - we had been joined by more families and enjoyed an excellent barbecue, with free wine for parents (Scouting has changed since my day). We then gathered round a blazing campfire and tried to keep up with the campfire leaders as they led us through a range of songs, some of which I recognised, others not, but it didn't matter. After a rendition of Kumbaya, it was bedtime again.
Sunday started with a Scout service around the flagpole. More activities were planned for the day, before camp closed in the afternoon.
My overall impression was of the hard work put in by all of the leaders - it felt exactly as a Scout camp should - welcoming and organised. Andrew is now hooked - his first nights under canvas have given him a taste for it. I enjoyed it too. We'll do it again.
Alistair Duff (Beaver Dad)
More reports will be added when they have been written
Photos of the Group Camp Click Here