It is quite fitting that one of our main celebrations for our centenary year should be a camp. What a fitting way for young people to join in and take part in fun, adventure and challenges all rolled into one. I know from personal experience , the amount of preparation that is required to set such an event and this task was deemed so important – there was no way the Leaders were going to trust me to carry this out.
Step forward our newest Leader Patrick West to take up the challenge. And what a work he put it, quite put my efforts to shame. He was closely supported by Norman West, Kenny Moyes and our Explorer Unit. Under Patrick’s guidance the preparations were thorough and complete and paid handsome dividends in a smoothly run event.
We started the week with looking out the equipment on Monday night, Tuesday was a parents meeting, work on the site on Wednesday, Thursday was setting up some of the main tents but the scene at the Scout Hut on the Friday night was quite predictable – chaos. The Cubs met at 6.15 and as they left, the Scouts started to arrive . Add to this traffic the Beavers who were holding a sleep over in the Hut on the Friday night and you imagine the scene.
Back in camp and it was a case of all hands on deck. Tents were springing up everywhere and little patience expressed with anyone who was not mucking in. The Scouts were using out Patrol tents which require a bit of effort to put in the wooden tent pegs. Our campsite rang out to the tunes of “Hud that pole straight” ,”Get they guy lines sorted oot”, “When I nod ma hied , hit it”. As it was we got the site up just before supper which we were meant to prepare. But the catering staff took pity on us and we dined in the marquee in fine style (it always pays to put in a wee lad first!).
The Cubs had a late evening hike designed to guarantee a good night’s sleep. How successful this tactic was is debatable, at the least the Leaders were exhausted.
On Saturday Patrick had encouraged people to join us for the day, if they could not camp the weekend. By 9.45, he had us all round the flagpole and sorted us out into groups for the day’s activities comprising of two different groups with activity bases for each group (now you see why no-one let me loose with this). Back to camp for lunch and resumed our bases. It was a highly contended group that returned to camp for a huge BRBQ which required reinforcements to the catering staff to cater for the entire 120 ish.
The Duck Derby followed in the early evening. Usually held in the placid water of Commercial Street we were more than a little startled in the Den when they took off downstream at a rapid rate of knots. The remainder of the evening was the traditional campfire with contributions from the Scouts present and past. The cool evening encouraged even the hardiest Scout to his pit and needed little encouragement to drift off. Sunday – not so many souls evident first thing this morning, but gradually the camp stirred to the aroma of cooking bacon.
The good Rev Mike Erskine provided us with food for thought before Patrick gathered the camp together, put them into “clans” and the Highland |Games ensued. From my observations the adults were so much more competitive than their off spring and judging from the banter that ensued, everyone had a thoroughly good time. With such beautiful weather, lunch was al fresco or in Alyth Scouts terminology “Oootside”.
Gathering round the flagpole for the last time it was so encouraging to see everyone smiling – maybe a bit weary but still smiling. I recall one comment after a similar event, when asked by his mother if he had enjoyed himself he replied” It wiz a’right, but I widnae like tae dae it every week!” Praise indeed, but on this occasion I think we could have done it every week!