Young Leaders are a vital, and often underappreciated, part of the leadership. We decided to run a camp for the Young Leaders in Wolsey District in order to thank them for all the hard work they do, and the sacrifices they make, as well as to give them the opportunity to experience the wider world of scouting outside of their group, meeting fellow Young Leaders from throughout the District. As this was their camp it was only right that they shaped it. Five Young Leaders gathered around the meeting table at the 36thIpswich. Shannon, a YL at the 36th, had expressed an interest in catering, and had created a camp menu which she brought along. A few tweaks to adapt to our cooking facilities and we had a menu. As for activities, I brought up a list of everything Hallowtree had to offer, and a discussion was had. In the end we decided on Crate Stacking, Laser tag, an activity provided to Hallowtree by the Wolsey Cub Council, and a walk along the Orwell on Sunday morning.
On a wet and dreary Thursday evening we collected all the gear we would require for the weekend from the County Stores. In not much more than an hour we had a mess tent and base camp fully pitched and all equipment inside.
Driving straight from work, with a weekend’s worth of shopping squeezed in to my little Peugeot, on top of an unnecessary amount of camping gear, I arrived at Hallowtree. The weather was far from ideal, but jobs still had to be done; I unloaded industrial amounts of bacon into the fridge, set up the kitchen, and having forgotten I needed lunch, made a quick trip to McDonalds. I had planned on squeezing in a quick nap before everyone arrived, but before I knew it people were on site, along with enough cake to feed an army.
The weather had cleared; tents were being pitched, and after all the months of planning camp was finally starting to take shape. After some brief introductions and icebreakers it was time for dinner, a camp classic of Spaghetti Bolognese, followed by cake, custard and ice cream. After dinner and washing up was done, the playing cards came out. Countless rounds of cheat later going to bed was considered a good idea.
On Saturday morning Young Leaders slowly emerged from their tents, with the latest up not much past nine. Breakfast was served by the duty patrol, consisting of cereal, a fry up and a very strong coffee. At 9:58 there was a mad dash to the climbing tower to do crate stacking. After crate stacking we wandered back to camp. More rounds of Cheat and Chase the Ace and then it was time for lunch, once they had collected enough wood for the fire. Steve the DC led fire lighting, and in no time we had embers ready to cook on. Hot dogs and burgers for lunch, cake and ice cream for dessert. After lunch, laser tag followed by a water fight. During this Peter arrived to carry out my assessment. Many questions later, I was told I had passed, and would receive my night’s away permit. Time had flown by and it was already time for dinner, camp stew. The duty patrol chopped up industrial quantities of veg, put it all in a pan with some chicken and sauce and waited. A game of rounders was used to fill the time before dinner. Silence around the dinner table as everyone scoffed down dinner, generally regarded as a good sign! After dinner even more cake, along with toasting marshmallows and games of cheat.
Up at nine on Sunday it was the leaders turn to cook, with cereal, a fry up and more strong coffee on the menu. After washing up was all done with we would go for a walk along the River Orwell, taking it in turns to navigate. After we finished the walk we held a scouts own, where we discussed the camp - what they had and hadn’t enjoyed - as well as what they would like to do in the future. Lots of the Young Leaders had asked when the next camp would be and if it would be longer. We are discussing the potential for an international trip, with the aim of giving the Young Leaders an experience that would stick with them for a lifetime. After our discussion, Becky was presented with one of her missions, which she has completed as part of her Young Leader training. After that, a grab and go lunch, camp packed down and everyone went off home. I am delighted that the Young Leaders, who are from seven different groups, gelled so quickly, especially considering many had not met before. It was an absolute pleasure and I hope will be the first of many.
I would like to thank everyone that helped make this event possible, including Peter Jarvis and the County training team for running the nights away training weekend, from which I gained many of the skills and knowledge I used before, during and after the event, the County stores team for providing us with all the gear for the weekend, John and the warden team at Hallowtree, the 36thIpswich for the use of their hall, our crate stacking instructor. Also, a big thanks to Peter, Steve, Di and Jane for all their help and guidance before and during the event. But most of all the Young Leaders, for all that they do – you help make Wolsey the amazing District that it is.
Wolsey District Youth Commissioner