Emlyn – Scouts show leaders how to camp

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013

Before the camp started the patrols had been hard at work. They had selected and prepared equipment ready for camp, planned a menu for the whole weekend and purchase the food and sundry items.  The Patrol Leader (or nominated Scout) had to ensure the menu was within budget, offered a balanced diet and would be enjoyed by the whole patrol.

From 6pm on the last Friday of June patrols arrived at Bragger’s Wood. Each drew lots to secure a site that would be their home for the next 69 hours. The patrols set up their camps to a lay out to their own design. There sites included a sleeping tent (or two), a dining shelter, a store tent, fire area and chopping area.

On Saturday the patrols were set the previously undisclosed tasks of cooking scones in a cardboard oven and making a map of the site. The 29th and 9th Cobras were notable by failing to produce a fire big enough to create a cardboard oven inferno.

The three course evening meal must be prepared using fresh ingredients and cooked on an alter fire. Earlier in the day Scouts had collected and prepared wood for the fire. The Scouts, lead by their Patrol Leaders demonstrated safe and skilful use of axe and saw.

As 6pm approached judges were selected to sampling the Scouts’ cooking. There is usually a joke here about these judges taking their lives in their hands. This joke is very much redundant. Eating the Scouts’ cooking is only dangerous if you tell Lin Gibson the Scouts’ cooking is nearly as good as hers.

This year had some impressive food including chicken stew, beef stews, lemon chicken and spaghetti bolognese. One patrol had forgotten to include a starter in its menu. Showing their inventive side the patrol produced a starter from the ingredient it had.

The evening ended with an Explorer Scout organised wide game in the campsite’s woodland.

Sunday started with a broad and inviting selection of breakfasts for the judges to score. This fuelled the patrols to demonstrate their navigation skills on a hike on the nearby moorland. It was a hot day and the patrols managed there water supplies to avoid dehydration. Only two teams left the prescribed route and the remainder got to all the waypoints in a timely manner.

Congratulations to all the Scouts that took part.  All had good working camps so with the addition of the other activities at Emlyn they have achieved the camping requirements for the Outdoor Challenge and the Patrol Leaders demonstrated the camping skills for the Outdoor Plus Challenge. Only the first aid sections left to do! These Challenges are hefty contributions to the Chief Scout Gold Award.

Thanks to Stuart and helpers for organising Emlyn, the judges, Lin Gibson for catering for the judges, the leaders, parents and other Scouts who helped prepare the patrols for the competition and most of all the competing patrols.

It is important to remember Emlyn is open to every patrol in the district or any teams, within the age constraints, a troop can enter.

Emlyn may not boast the headline grabbing activities other camps do but it develops team work and leadership and hones Scouting skills that make activity camp work. Most of the skills demonstrated and refined at Emlyn are key life skills and are as essential to a successful Queen’s Scout expedition as mountaincraft. Some of my best memories of as a member of a very active Scout troop were just being at camp with other Scouts. I know I am not alone in this thought. I believe failing to offer Scouts a place at Emlyn denies them a significant part of the Scouting experience.