To kick Start our scouting year, we held a Group Camp in our County Campsite in Bog O' The Ring. All sections were represented from Beavers to Rovers. Gear was packed up on Friday night and dropped out to the site, where Donal, Sean, and Ciaran started to get the tents up.
By 9am there were enough scouts and scouters on site to start getting the marquee and sleeping tents up. Some scouts and cubs were going to have their first ever experience of sleeping in an Icelandic tent and were really looking forward to it.
One the all of the tents were erected we moved on to bases of Cooking, Backwoods, Pioneering, and Team Challenge. The bases were to last 2 hours each and groups were mixed to allow younger scouts to learn from older, more experienced ones.
It was great to see all of the scouts mixing and enjoying themselves. A couple of rain showers cam through in the afternoon, but we didn't let it dampen our spirits.
While dinner was being prepared, a rave broke out. There was no stopping it so we just went for it.
Thanks to Slke for providing the Banging Tunes
Dinner was a fabulous stew that went down a treat with everyone. Even the scouts didn't seem to mind doing the wash-ups. They all mucked in and got the job done as one big team.
Meanwhile, the campfire needed to be prepared. Who else but Silke again was all over it. She's a one woman wrecking machine, but was assisted ably by Andrea.
As the sun set we all gathered for the campfire. Luckily, in our group we have a good campfire tradition and an excellent attitude to putting yourself out there to sing songs that make us look silly and crazy. It's all part of the fun and all of the scouts get a lot of enjoyment from it. Campfire is an essential part of the camp. It allows everyone to join together in one group and have a shared experience. No two are the same. Alex, a member of Phoenix Patrol, brought some ashes from the last campfire we were at - The Phoenix Challenge in Cork - and explained that his tradition and that of many scouts is to bring ashes from each campfire to add to their next to keep the same fire burning. He explained this to the group and although it might have been lost on some, the experience our scouts had this summer at the Phoenix Challenge meant a lot to them and in this way, they could share part of it with the rest of the group. It was a very special moment.
Hot chocolate was served at the end of the campfire and the beavers and cubs headed for bed. Some of the scouts and ventures stayed up a bit longer to chat and tell stories and jokes. There really is nothing like a campfire to bring out the conversation.
Next morning, breakfast was a fry for all 80+ people on camp. The beavers had been up since about 6am so they were well ready for it by 9. The sun was shining and everyone was in good form. After breakfast we had another round of bases before was started to break camp. Some showers were threatening so we wanted to get all of the tents down and packed away while they were dry. Brendan, our new Group Quarter Master, took an inventory of the gear and made note of anything that needed repairing.
To close out the camp, we held our Link Ceremony. This is where the older beavers, cubs, scouts, and ventures move up to the next section and continue on their own Scouting Trail. The scouters said goodbye and welcome all at the same time. Our Group is also celebrating our 5th Birthday and nothing helps you celebrate like cake so Mary ordered one. Our oldest youth* member and our youngest helped cut the cake and an orderly (yeah right) queue formed to get a piece each. There was even enough for the parents who had come to the attend the link ceremony and collect their little darlings.
The dubs were playing Kerry in the All Ireland Final so there was a great rush to get home to watch end of the match. That said, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to the parents, scouts, and scouters who helped us tidy up the site deliver all of our equipment back to our gear store. Camp isn't over until everything is back where it goes.
It takes a lot of effort to organise a camp for this many people and we want to say thanks to Donal and Ciaran for helping plan it and to Sean, Mary, Andrea, and Brendan for helping out with the logistics and transport.
With our 5 year Group Camp being such a success, we can't wait for our camp to celebrate our 10th Birthday. Maybe we had better start planning now.
*While Ciaran has transitioned from a youth member to a full adult member, he still acts like a little kid so we let him cut the cake. We wouldn't have been able for the tantrum if he didn't get to do it :-)