26th Milton Keynes Coniston Cubs experienced their first overnight camp at The Quarries this week. It was a memorable FIRST experience in many ways for the Cubs – first time away from home, first time camping ever, as well as first time camping as a Cub pack. So, well done to everyone in the pack!
The wetter the better
Not even the driving rain, cold and smattering of soggy sheep poo in the fields could dampen the enthusiasm of our pack. The Cubs completed a challenging six-kilometre hike along the canals and fields around Cosgrove as part of their Hikes Away Stage 1 Activity Badge. This amazing experience, combined with the Cub’s first activity day experience at Leslie Sell Centre back in August, has meant that many of the Cubs earned their Our Adventure Challenge Award. Spirits and morale were kept high with party ring biscuits and Maltesers chocs, and we even found a serendipitous picnic spot to take lunch beneath a canopy of lime trees that offered shelter from the rain. Raksha also did a fantastic job of ensuring we all stayed together and bringing up the rear of the pack.
Catapults at camp
Once back at camp, make-shift lines were created using rope to hang all the soaking wet waterproofs. This was a perfect segue into a pioneering session, as Cubs worked in their Six groups to learn a range of knots and lashings which they went on to put to good use on their main project – making working catapults to fire tennis balls with! Shere Khan and Raksha did a fantastic job helping Cubs to create their catapults.
Friendship and free play
It was then time for some well-earned rest and relaxation, as Cubs deepened their bonds of friendship through free play. There was much laughter and chatter as Cubs hung out in their tents and shared books, toys and played games.
Singing in the rain
The rain continued all day until early evening, but we were so lucky and thankful to the Quarries site team for providing us with a shelter to hold activities in and eat in. Two of the Cubs, Ashley and Drew had recent birthdays, so Bagheera surprised them with an amazing birthday cake with a checker-board interior in the colours of our 26th MK Scouts necker – white, purple and blue. Everyone loved the cake; it was delicious, and a new tradition has possibly been set in our brand new Cub pack – cake for Cub birthdays! (Akela, it’s your turn to bake the next one! – Bagheera)
Our plans for sitting outside around a roaring fire were dashed by the continuing rain, so after dinner and dessert we gathered indoors instead around a tepee of poles and lamps in place of a campfire. Akela and Bagheera both had their guitars with them and led the pack in a series of sing-alongs, Shere Khan read the Cubs the story of the “Wide Mouth Frog”, and the best performance ever of Roald Dahl’s “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” revolting rhyme by Bagheera. GSL Jenny also introduced the pack to the song and actions of ‘Singing in the Rain’ (Scout style!). It was a fantastic first campfire experience, even without the campfire. After all, what better for a pack that does virtual meetings, than a virtual campfire?
Fire and fun on the following day
The clouds and rain finally cleared, and we had glorious sunshine the next day. So, one of the finale experiences of our camp had to be a ‘proper’ campfire for toasting marshmallows and eating s’mores. Akela was very grateful to Mohi for his production line of s’mores – yummy! This was then followed by firing of a different kind, as each group of Six tested their catapults at a range of targets that included a bucket, tin cans and even Akela and Bagheera. Finally we had the opportunity to welcome two new members of the pack formally with their investitures – Alex and our new leader Shere Khan!
Onwards and upwards
The camp was fantastic and we’re so proud of all our cubs for making it through the wet weekend – this was learning to camp the hard way! We look forward to many more fun experiences as our new Cub pack continue their adventure through Scouting!