As the light evenings start to disappear and everyone returns to school and work, Ballymoney Scouts and Explorers look back on a summer camp of fun and challenging activities and, yes, it rained!
Summer camp was held at the end of July in Newcastle Co. Down, and as usual we were joined by Mytholmroyd Scouts and Explorers for what promised to be a week of challenges, fun and water! Arriving on the Saturday we got the tents up quickly in the sunshine but by the evening not only had the Scouts arrived in Newcastle but so had the rain! This didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm though and camp was quickly in full swing with the scout patrols organising their tents and getting wood for their fires.
During the week all the normal summer camp activities took place – learning to use axes and saws to chop wood for fires and learning to cook on the fires (even roasting a joint of meat in an old tin box). In addition the scouts went swimming (in the river and the pool), had a day trip to the Folk and Transport Museum, walked to the top of Slieve Donard and went “wet bouldering”. This last activity was enjoyed by all and involved getting kitted out in wet suits, helmets and buoyancy aids and then “walking” up the river from Bloody Bridge. The addition of natural rock slides, waterfalls and jumping off the rocks into plunge pools made this a great day out, and all without too many bruises!
The Explorers took on the extra challenge of completing their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze/Chief Scout Platinum expedition. They did this at the beginning of the week in probably some of the wettest days of the summer! However, the weather didn’t deter them, nor did the midgies! They completed the challenge of the expedition, being exactly on time at the final pick-up point on the second day. The Explorers also made the most of the better weather later in the week with an afternoon and BBQ at Tyrella beach followed by really big ice-creams!
Friday evening saw all Scouts, Explorers and Leaders enjoying Patrol Choice –the patrol planning the menu for the meal and the youngest member of each patrol being sent shopping for the food. Then it was time to get some of the tents down for leaving early the next day. The final Saturday it was all hands on deck to get the Mytholmroyd tents down and packed into the wagon for 9am.
Scouts Own gave everyone an opportunity to reflect on the week; what they had learned, the new experiences they had, and the new friends they had made. Ballymoney tents and kit were all packed up by 12 noon, and it was off to the chip shop for lunch before heading home – tired, dirty, but with happy memories and looking forward to Summer Camp 2013!