8th Worcester Scout Troop
Survival Camp - 19th March
The noise made when a slug is put in a fire, or so we were assuring each other.
Our major activity for the Spring term this year has been a survival camp. We've been preparing for it by working on the theory behind it during the second half of the term and now it came the time to put it into practise.
We all met at the Wyre Forest car park, with the leaders playing a game of Fox, Chicken Wheat in order to ensure that cars ended up placed properly so that two were left at the camp site, while one was left at the Wyre Forest. All of the Scouts were loaded up with their kit, including (as a new addition to how we've run this previously) any equipment that they wanted to bring which could be used to build their shelters.
Navigation was easy enough for this route, as the entire thing was planned to follow regular footpaths. Navigation duties were handed out on a per-leg basis, with one Scout having to navigate through the Wyre Forest, then another taking over for most of Dowles Brook, and so on. We navigated by description rather than grid references for this, with all of the Scouts having to keep up on tracking where we were.
We were staying at Rhydd Covert camp site, and came into the site from the back rather than the front. As such we managed to bypass all of the roads and came by the more scenic route with a view of the safari park next door. Once we arrived, work began on the shelters.
These varied quite a lot in design, as usual. There were three examples of the basic 'Toblerone' model (a long triangular tube with the ends sealed by some means), two more conventional ones, and three suspended.
This is the first time that any of the Scouts has tried to make a suspended shelter, and the general consensus has been that it isn't a great idea; the use of webbing tends to give the feel of lying on a mass of roots, and the limited space that tends to be available meant that one of the Scouts ended up having to sleep in a foetal position. The most successful model of this kind was constructed using three pallets and ratchet straps by one of the leaders; once actually tensioned it gave a reasonably solid base to lie on.
All of the shelters held together overnight, and were serviceable for their intended purpose. The only problems with them appear to have been related to either space or insulation, both of which are to be expected in this kind of designs.
We had three meals as part of this camp: a packed lunch during the hike, and then dinner and breakfast as part of the camp itself. Any cooking was meant to be done on a fire, which limited us somewhat in what we could have, and there was also a requirement for raw ingredients to be used as much as possible. Cooking was done on the altar fires, with a table being kept available for preparing on (we wanted to do a survival camp, but without a fully trained expert on such things being around some things present quite a hazard and so need to be done in a manner to ensure safety and hygiene). That being said, most of the food was served still in the foil, on spare wood.
Dinner was in two parts, served separately due to the different cooking times. The first part was stuffed tomatoes, filled with cheese and mixed herbs to give a flavour best described as "pizza topping". The second one was chicken stew, left on for longer in order to ensure that the chicken was thoroughly cooked. Following this was baked apples or bananas, with mixed fruit and brown sugar. All of these worked well, though the distribution of quantities was commented on as needing some work.
Breakfast was again cooked on the fire. The original plan was for garlic bread, but no one could find the garlic when it came to it. As such it became half of a baguette each, cut open and filled with cheese and mixed herbs, and then wrapped and put onto the fire to cook. The one bit of cooking that was done on the stove for the camp was the bacon which was fried and then stuffed into the bread as well.
Again, quantities appeared to be a problem, with some of the bread being insufficiently wrapped for being cooked on a fire and some people having particularly burnt ones. This is something that will be looked at in the future; on this camp it was clear that we will need to work on the Scout's understanding of such things in the future.
Sunday, aside from breakfast, was mostly concerned with taking down the shelters and otherwise tidying up the site. Thankfully, though the weather was cold, it was also dry and so only a couple of the shelters were sealed enough to have acquired a damp layer on the inside, and so taking the shelters down was a lot simpler than it has previously been.
We all left satisfied in the end, having achieved all of the critical items that we set out to achieve, and all having had a good time on the camp.
Wide Game - 11th March
The penultimate night of our term was a wide game, held on the Old Hills. This is a good place for such games, with plenty of open spaces and some wooded areas.
The game in this case was based around the use of four beacons, which could be set to be either blue or green, similar to those which we originally made during the October half term. These were then used by two teams to mark out their bases. Silver pegs were then divided by each team between their two bases, and life cards were issued; anyone challenging someone else compared cards and each card was marked with the numbers that it would beat or lose against.
Preparation for a Survival Skills camp requires that certain items of theory and preparation work be signed off in advance. This list has reduced from what it used to be, however it is still requiring several weeks to get through it all.
The first week of this was based around the construction of shelters, going over different shapes of shelters and the practical necessities of what they need to account for. From here we then took the Scouts outside to get some practise with ropes, groundsheets, and the trees out on the field.
Our second week covered revision on previously covered topics, including the safe use of knives and multitools and how to clean then, the theoretical aspects of making a fire (such as what kinds of wood are best for it), and the first aid skills likely to be needed in a survival situation, including assessing some of the differences in severity between normal first aid and survival first aid.
The third, and final, night of theory work was held at the hut and covered three topics: a personal survival kit and things to do in order to keep you and your group alive were both covered in bases at the start of the evening, while various forms of how to call for help were covered by everyone together later in the evening.
We ran our normal fundraiser for the year in February this year. This started with a number of us getting together on a morning for handing out leaflets about the sale to the local houses, and then continued with us heading out to collect jumble on the Friday evening. We got the usual collection, including one bag of grass cuttings, which we then spent the remainder of the evening sorting out.
The sale itself went well, with the usual twist that most of our takings for it occurred in the first twenty minutes, after which things began winding down until we were finally cleared up and everyone left within two hours. Our total for the day was over £200, which goes towards equipment and activities for the Troop.
Pancakes - 5th February
With our jumble sale coming up next week, we weren't going to be able to do pancakes on the week of Shrove Tuesday as we normally would. As such we moved the whole thing back a week.
With several Scouts not present we had to rearrange the Patrols in order to get three teams. Each team was given supplies and equipment, and then allowed to get things done at their own pace.
The results varied between very good for the first pancake produced for the evening, and somewhat worrying when one of the Scouts forgot to put some oil in the pan. Overall however the results were good.
Videos - 8th January
Having come up with ideas for videos to do on the first night, the Scouts spent the next few weeks working on them. The first week was spent putting together the script around their chosen idea, including dividing up how they were going to film it and assigning roles where possible.
The second week was set aside for filming. Each group had to film separately, using the same equipment, and so each group had a slot to do all of their recording in. For this evening one of the teams was significantly without Scouts, and so was broken down to assist the other teams. All three teams managed to get all of their recording done in time and it was prepared for the third week.
The third week covered editing. Each team was given a laptop to work with along with the raw footage that they had previously recorded. One team found that their footage was easy enough to put together that they were done quickly, while another team actually overran into flag down while editing. The third, and largest, team split themselves up, adding in some extra footage which they recorded on that night while editing was going on.
First Night Back - 8th January
We settled on a fairly active program for our first night back, opening with a game involving lots of running around and then moving onto a slower item: planning for the next few weeks.
Our plan is for the Scouts to produce videos, scripted, recorded and editted by them. For this they have been divided into four teams, and for this first meeting were given the task of coming up with ideas for what they wanted to do. A key part of this was the theme: parodies.
We picked this theme based on the Scout's previous successes at doing such parodies. And the ideas that they initially came up with were quite varied in their scale and detail. It will be interesting, going into the scripting next week, to hear where these are going to be taken.
We then moved onto a new game, involving some pieces from Settlers of Catan; in three teams the Scouts had to run up the hall (one at a time from each team) and were provided with a random resource card. Once they had accumulated enough cards back at their bench they could take these to another leader to exchange for road, settlements or cities. The first team to ten points won. We played twice in the end, and the same team won both times; it was noted that stricter measures will be in place next time regarding "one person at a time."
We then ended the evening with a final game before finishing the first night of the term, set to move straight into the second night.