We have just returned from five days in the new forest with 7 Guides and 3 Senior Section girls.
Last week we boarded the train to the New Forest, with all the equipment beating us down there in a van. It isn't very often we get to take the girls on a train so we thought we'd seize the opportunity and add a bit more adventure to the trip. With only one change, and a bus at the other end, it was a reasonably straight forward journey, and the girls were extremely well behaved!
The first three days of the camp, was our own summer camp. We arrived at Foxlease full of excitement and anticipation for the activities over the next few days. For once the sun was shining brightly, not a cloud in the sky and it was HOT!! However this did make it a bit of mission for us all having to drag our equipment to the top of the field and then putting the tents up. But once everything was where it needed to be, it didn't take the girls long to set up our little site.
I am currently working towards the Queens Guide award and so I took the opportunity to use our camp as part of this, I took on a new role, something I had never done before on camp, I became the cook. After working out the menu with other leaders from the unit and doing the food shopping, I felt reasonably comfortable and prepared for the challenge.
I had made it slightly harder on myself by choosing this camp to do it on, in that we didn't have a kitchen, no kettle, no oven, no hob. All cooking was carried on gas burners out doors. But thankfully the weather held out and made it considerably easier for me!
The menu consisted of Pasta Bolognese,packed lunches, wraps, Sweet and Sour Noodles, Pancakes among other yummy things, oh and don't forget the smores!
The second half of camp was the brilliant Wellies and Wristbands festival. Whilst everyone was setting up on Friday afternoon - we were comfortable in knowing that ours was all in place, we took the opportunity to leap straight in the hot tubs! A glorious hour soaking in the tub after three days of camping.
I used the Wellies and Wristbands for another section of my Queens Guide Award. This time for the residential experience where you have go away for a minimum of two nights and three days, where the majority of participants were unknown to you. Given that there were approx 2200 girls at the festival, it was a brilliant opportunity to tick another thing off.
This was the first ever Wellies and Wristbands and I have to say it was an absolute success, there are of course a few wrinkles that need ironing out before next years one, but on the whole it was great - another brilliant Guiding experience!
The girls (Guides & Senior Section) and Leaders were all able to join in on a variety of activities.
Before attending the camp we had to pick a selection of activities we wanted to take part in and were allocated two each. My activities were Archery and the Crates Challenge. As well as doing this I also did some craft, took part in a Zumba class in the middle of a field, watched live bands, went on a tour of Foxlease house, enjoyed a dip in the hot tubs, face painting, had an Indian head massage, and spent some time at the 'beach'.
The highlight for many of our girls was meeting the band 'Three Times Over'. It took a while to calm them down Saturday evening to say the least. We had 10 VERY hyper VERY happy girls that night!
I was very proud of one of our girls who got up on the huge stage in front of an audience of probably over 200 + and sang a brilliant rendition of Rhianna's 'Diamonds' without any backing music - she was extremely brave, conquering her stage fright and got a huge cheer at the end, despite the wasp interrupting her halfway through . . . !
I also got to meet Chief Guide Gill Slocombe - which was a personal highlight for me!
The week was fantastic and one I'll never forget. The girls were buzzing the whole way home and already asking if we can go next year!!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the experience happen and giving the girls a week they'll never forget. And a huge thanks to the leadership team who helped me tick off two more things on the Queens Guide Award, couldn't have done it all without you!!