Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Brownie camp - very long

The Guide Guider and family had done a brilliant job of getting tents up and there was only the big frame store tent and the toilet tent to go up when I arrived.

We had 7 tents in all: 4 tents for 4, 4 and 3 Brownies; 1 tent for the Guide Guider, her husband and two daughters; the toilet tent; and I got the first aid tent all to myself, which was great because I could wriggle around in the night without worrying about disturbing anyone!

The girls were in patrols: Florida, Texas and New York and had a rota for washing up, collecting water and orderly (anything that needed doing). Each patrol would wash up their own plates, then do their extra duty, when it was washing up that meant they had to do all the cookpots and the leaders' plates. There were three hot meals over the course of camp so we made sure those were spread on the rota so each patrol only had one lot of really dirty stuff to deal with.

Friday night they went off and did a wide game and came back with medals. We had hot chocolate, and then they actually settled down quite quickly and were quiet by about 10.45pm. In fact the camp organiser came to see us about 11pm to talk about something and we were all in our tents fast asleep!

The weather? Well, it was actually pretty good on Friday, though it did start to rain about 10.30 and didn't really let up. It was also quite windy.

They were awake about 5.30am so I told them to be quiet and (gasp) they were for an hour despite the Brownies who traipsed past our camp screaming about water a few minutes later. All up by 7.

Saturday they all had eggy bread and bacon for breakfast, plus cereal. We had free time first session so that gave plenty of time to get everything bundled up against the predicted bad weather.

Then rockets and frisbee golf - they loved the rockets, using air pumps and even water to send them into the sky. That was followed by crafts - really good crafts: a leather bracelet that you used letters to stamp your name onto, a little man made of 37 beads, an American pompom pet with a flag and a dreamcatcher. They did half in this session and half in another session later in the day.

Back to camp for lunch then a rest hour where they explored the woods around us - I don't really know what they were doing but I did hear the word torture at one point but no-one seemed to be in pain! It was raining but they just put their coats on and carried on.

Then they swam in the outdoor pool, the sun came out just in time which was lovely, though it didn't last too long. We made them all have a warm shower afterwards which warmed them up nicely. Back to camp, dried off and dressed, they did their second craft session.

That was when the weather really turned on us - we didn't see sun again! It got really windy, and one of our stoves was blown over, fortunately away from the tent and the cook, it did delay dinner though we didn't lose any, and the weather just got worse and worse.

The girls went in their tent and wrote postcards to the American troop who had sent us temporary tattoos, badges and some Girl Scout cookies. They also sent 3 little American flags, each patrol had one in their tent.

We had to eat dinner under the trees, with the wind blowing leaves at us - we just told the girls to eat faster! Then they had chocolate whip with Crunchie bits in, again eaten super fast. The wind abated enough to get quickly washed up then we put everything inside the store tent and we all went into our own tents to wait it out for a while.

I must admit, at that point, I was a bit lonely! The girls were all screaming in their tents and the Guide Guider was with her family. I hadn't brought a book as I'd assumed there would be no downtime - I am the kind of person that can't stay still without reading though so I ran to my car to see what I could dig out: a Rugby Visitor Centre guide to the rugby trail round the town and a High School Musical book from my daughter's storage box! So I took them - I will genuinely read anything if it's all there is!

We were waiting to see if the campfire was going ahead but unsurprisingly it was cancelled. We had decided to do something in the central part of the Guide Guider's tent (the biggest space we had since everything else was in the store tent!) if nothing else was happening but the camp organisers managed to get us an indoor hall and we had an indoor campfire - the girls had a ball but most were getting exhausted by the end.

We just went back to camp, grabbed toothbrushes, went to the loo then went back to tents, got changed and went to sleep. The rain was hurling down and we took down the toilet tent as we didn't think it would survive the high winds.

They were all asleep by 10.15 and I wasn't long after them. I still woke up at 5.30 partly because it was still really windy and really wet. We had to wake the girls at 7.40am as there was so much to do before the first scheduled activity at 10am - they had to dress, brush teeth, eat, wash up and pack everything except the clothes they were in, and that took two and a half hours even with 2 adults, a Young Leader and a Guide helping as it took forever to reunite them with all their things and get everything waterproof so the tents could start to come down.

Then they had low ropes, team games and climbing (the highlight for most) before lunch - it actually stopped raining for a while and we were able to eat lunch outside.

Then three parents arrived to help us break camp, they helped get the last of the tents down and us to push the trolley loaded with gear to the leader cars so we could get as much packed away as possible. Their help was absolutely invaluable and cut a good hour off the time it took.

I thought we'd lost the beautiful camp badges but I found them on Monday, inside my plate bag - not sure how they got there - so I will give them out at this week's meeting, last one before the summer hols.

All the parents bar three had arrived by 2.45pm (they listened to us when we said don't be late!) so I told the Guide Guider and family to get home while they could. All but one parent had come by 3pm (the official collecting time) so I walked up to my car with my daughter, the remaining Brownie, and her stuff. Her parents arrived at 3.15pm just as it began to lash down again so I threw her and her stuff at them and ran for my car!

A detour via the Guide Guider's house to drop off the kit that had been stored in my car, and we were done.

I haven't yet done the washing - I was too tired on Sunday night and instead watched the amazing last episode of Doctor Who and the fantastic Wimbledon mens final. I worked yesterday but I have managed to negotiate Tuesday off, so I will snooze once the kids are at preschool and school and do the washing.

So that's all the news that's fit to blog - my longest post ever I believe, I won't do it again. Much like Brownie camp!

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