The camp of the century
The National Centenary Scout Camp was held at Boy Scouts Headquarters, Hazelwood, Collymore Rock, St. Michael from July 2 to 10, 2012. To describe the experience as interesting would not do it sufficient justice.
To just give a running log of what occurred would not give you the full feel of the participants and the leaders who attended this activity. To do so we will get the perspectives of three participants, each of whom will give you a glimpse into the activity.
The writers are Fabian Norville, Leader, Harrison College Scout Group, Johnovan King, Venture Recruit, St. Stephen’s Scout Group and Hadley Edwards, Scout, Bay Scout Group.
Harrison’s College Scout Group
If I could sum up the Barbados Centenary Scout Camp in two words, they would be exhilarating and exhausting. This being my first opportunity to be part of the operations of a Scout camp at National level, I had the distinct honour of occupying a number of positions during the event: Quartermaster, First Aider, Senior Patrol Leader and at one point, Acting Camp Chief. Suffice to say, this meant very long days and tight schedules. But the experience was indeed worth it.
The Centenary Camp is one of those few opportunities where Scouts and Leaders can be somewhat laid back and truly experience the joys of camping. From gadgetry to campfires; from caving to snorkelling; all part of a truly enjoyable nine days.
The first two days were all about setting up camp and getting comfortable with the surroundings. The real fun started soon after, with trips to Coles Cave and the Archery Range, snorkelling and kayaking adventures with Dive Barbados, horseback riding at Jah Works Riding Stables and night fishing on the boardwalk.
Of course we did not forget about our duty to God, as we attended Sunday morning Service at the People’s Cathedral. The service itself was very well presented, and the sermon hit home for many of us.
Of course no camp can ever end without a campfire. This was one of those opportunities for boys, leaders and parents to come together and enjoy skits, yells and songs, all in the spirit of Scouting. An enlightening and entertaining experience for all involved.
The camp also had the honour of a visit by the Chief Scout, His Excellency Sir Elliott Belgrave. During the visit, he was able to sample some of the things we enjoy about camping, such as dutch oven and backwoods cooking, gadgetry and of course, the aerial runway. In the words of His Excellency, “indeed an interesting experience”.
The highlight for me was the soup battle between the Camp Chief and the Chief Commissioner. Not a competition in the truest sense, but it was definitely an opportunity for the boys to see what can really be done within a camping environment. Both dishes turned out extremely well, and opinions were evenly split on which one was the better.
I have little doubt that the boys fully enjoyed the experience, and will remember it for many years to come. I certainly will!
Venture Scout Recruit
St. Stephen’s Scout Group
As a Venture Scout recruit there is a feeling of ease as the pressure of constantly being supervised is lifted somewhat. Instead, I get to supervise the younger Scouts and assist the Leaders in dealing with the boys. Some of my activities ranged from assisting with the erection of the floating flag poles, the development of the camp area and sitting in on the Patrol Leaders’ Council meeting at nights.
On the away activities (off site) I provide an extra pair of eyes to ensure the safety of the boys. This transition from Scout to Venture Scout recruit helps to prepare me for the increase responsibility of working unsupervised in my future role as a Venture Scout. It feels great to function in this role but at the same time the added work load was extremely tiring at some times as evidenced by the nights I fell asleep in the door way of the tent with my shoes still on totally exhausted.
Being a Venture Scout recruit had given me a little more responsibility than I had in the Scout section as a Patrol Leader. As most of the Scouts within my Troop are new to camping I helped and directed them as to how the tent should be pitched then I pitched two other tents to store food, equipment and their uniforms.
In the absence of our Scout Leader I had to make sure the Scouts did their respective duties in camp and assist in any way I could such as helping in the kitchen to tying a simple knot. As we ventured to and from our activities off camp I assisted the leaders in keeping the boys under control from simply having them maintain a single or double file to pushing those in the back up with the main group.
Some of the activities done during camp were caving, archery, kayaking, snorkelling and a few in camp activities such as backwoods and dutch oven cooking just to name a few. The dishes done with their respective type of cooking are Dutch oven: cake and rice, and Backwoods: baked fish, baked chicken and roast breadfruit.
Before the activity started I was responsible for making sure there was enough wood for three fires. Two of which would be used to bake the fish and chicken when the wood was reduced to coals.
This is not the type of “national camp” I expected but I eagerly look forward to completing my Venture Scout Membership Award gaining my Venture flashes and completing the Venture Scout programme.
Bay Scout Group
At the National Centenary Scout Camp our Troop Leader was unable to be there with us during the day due to work commitments and we were instructed to go to Hinds, one of the other Leaders at camp, to collect our equipment when we arrived. After we received the equipment we selected an area only to discover that it had already been selected by another Troop.
Another location was selected by us but one of our members pointed out that centipedes tend to live under the tree where we were going to set up. Yet again we were in search of another spot. The last spot available was not as bad except that it was next to a huge amount of bush.
After we had set up the patrol tent we had to set up the quartermaster’s tent. We then started to work on our area. Later that night, we prepared a dinner of creamed potatoes and lamb stew and this first cooking experience at national camp was not very good. It was obvious the cooks needed some more experience.
The next day we had to make breakfast of hot dogs and bread with tea. This was done with no problems and was a greater success than dinner. After breakfast we had morning ceremony during which each Patrol Leader gave a report of his Troop’s well being.
On this first day no inspection was done as we had to finish setting up our camp area. After lunch we visited and hung out with other Troops but our Leader was not very happy about this as we had not completed all the tasks assigned to us for the day. He urged us to cooperate more and to make sure we completed our task. Dinner that night was not too bad.
My Troop had to complete their gadget making exercise and we needed materials which Mr Hinds assisted us with. He took us behind Corbin’s Garage where one of my Troop members accidentally injured him with a piece of a tree he cut down. We of course said “thank you” to him for the assistance and “sorry” for the injury. After a couple of attempts, we successfully made a table, a bag rack, a towel rack and a gateway with letters displaying our Troop’s name.
My first activity was to Cole’s Cave where we went caving. This went very well and I enjoyed it. We were tired when we got back to the camp site but happy (no arguments, too tired). All of my Troop members attended the caving tour and we said thank you to Mr King for this exercise.
My second activity was archery in Waterford. We hiked there and learned the basics of holding, targeting and aiming a bow. This too was fun for us and special thanks are extended to the facilitators at the Barbados Archery.
My final off-site activity during this camp was horseback riding. I was a little timid about the horse so instead I spent my time with a German Shepherd which was well groomed and friendly. I have never been this close to that breed of dog. Thanks are extended to Jah Works for having us.
During this camp we were assigned duties such as cleaning the bathrooms and showers, cleaning the camp site and raising and lowering the flags. Of these I found cleaning the bathrooms the worst and something I tried to avoid.
As we were away from home for eight days our parents were allowed to visit and a campfire was lit by the Leaders around which we sang songs. Entertaining skits were also performed by the campers. I think that a good time was had by all. Some of us felt sad when our parents left. While the parents were there we showed them our camp site and gadgets and, of course, at this visit home cook meals were brought.
On the last day we were excited about going home and this excitement stopped us from striking the camp site on time. We were tardy in cleaning up, dismantling our gadgets and tents and this made our Leaders very crossed. When my mother came to collect me at the time given she had to leave as we still had not finished and I did not hear the end of how she took time off from work to come and we still had not done what we were supposed to. Our apologies to our Leaders, parents and guardians who were stuck waiting.
We finally got into our uniforms for the closing ceremony. There we received our certificates of attendance to the National Centennial Scout Camp. Finally, we left for home.