At the end of July 2017, 30th Abingdon Scouts went on their annual week-long Summer Camp. Activities included caving, stand-up paddleboarding, cycling, trampolining and swimming, as well as traditional scout skills. The scouts cooked in their patrols each day, on stoves and on open fires.
Leo, a scout, wrote about the caving:
On summer camp 2017 as an activity we went caving in Swildon’s Hole with West Sussex Scout Caving Team. We were split into two groups each group had two instructors, in my group we had Sam and Toby. The caves were public and we went in a little hole in the ground then through this very tight bit called the zig zag. A stream ran through the cave going a long way down and there were some water falls. We went all the way to this place called the 20 foot pot but we did not go down but the other group did. We made our way back towards the top and then through a really tight tunnel into an opening, after that we carried on walking through the caves and up Jacobs Ladder until we found out that we walked in a circle. When we got out we found out that the other group had finished one hour earlier. I would recommend trying caving out and I would like to do it again.
Summer Camp was enjoyable because there was a wide range of activities. Most of all I loved the cycling because it was exciting to go through the tunnels on an old railway line just outside Bath. It was nice to go through an old Roman town. But there were plenty of other things that I liked. It was fun to cook and eat the food. There were some mishaps which made us laugh. We had great fun caving and stand up paddle boarding. I really enjoyed the whole week and would love to go again.
Another scout wrote:
Scout Camp was brilliant; I like that we got to choose what we cooked and what we did. I also enjoyed the sense of community and that every one pitched in to get something done. I liked that there was never moment when you were standing around doing nothing and always had something to do. We also got to do a wide range of activities from cycling to caving which was great fun. I particularly enjoyed singing and playing around the campfire where I got to know several of the Scouts better.
From the 2nd to the 4th September 2016, beavers, cubs and scouts from 30th Abingdon, and their families, camped at 1st Goring Heath Scout HQ for the group’s annual family camp.
Friday evening was mostly pitching tents and hammocks, and getting everything set up. After breakfast on Saturday, everyone split into teams and hiked down to 1st Goring HQ. Teams used either a northern or southern route.
The northern route:
The southern route:
Once at 1st Goring, the beavers, cubs, scouts and explorer scouts took part in climbing and everyone took part in the other activities: fire lighting, giant marble run, first aid, craft activities and circus skills. We invested Tom as a scout while on the climbing wall.
We stayed at 1st Goring until late afternoon when the teams hiked back to 1st Goring Heath using whichever route they did not use in the morning. The hike back was very wet with torrential rain and streams running down the paths; it was certainly a walk to remember!
Sunday morning involved more activities: sucker archery, slack lining, map making, pioneering, water rockets and more fire lighting. The young persons and their families were free to choose which activities they wished to join in with. The fire that resulted from the fire lighting was used to toast marshmallows after lunch before we all packed up and went home.
Camping with minimal equipment is a useful skill. Recently, scouts from 30th Abingdon undertook two “survival” camps, using only a small amount of equipment and hiking to the campsite. The camps were organised by scouts Luke and Tom. Scout Dan wrote the following reports on the camp:
On Luke’s survival camp we hiked to Youlbury starting at the scout hut and going up through Abingdon and Sunningwell. When we arrived at Youlbury we set up our camp which was made of 2 ground sheets under overlapping tarpaulins. The activity we did was Aerial Trek. We cooked noodles on the Trangia and made a fire. Overall this camp was really good and well organised. The activity was great (but an adult has to be present) and the noodles were easy to cook. We made fires which I enjoyed and played games on the field. I think the survival bags could have been better as they weren’t breathable allowing a layer of moisture to build on the inside. On Tom’s camp we hiked from his house in North Abingdon. This improved the hike as it meant we did not have to do the section of the walk that was on the road near the centre of Abingdon and could immediately join a footpath.
On this camp we hiked from Tom’s house to Youlbury and made camp in a similar way to Luke’s camp. We did go-karting as the activity and the food was noodles. This camp was very good as we had learnt from any mistakes on the last camp – we took more food! Tom’s mother brought all of the group kit such as the camping gear in her car making the hike significantly easier as we did not have to carry extra gear. The food was good and the activity was enjoyable. However, I think it would have been better if the camp had been organised a week or two before as most of the activities I would have preferred to do were all already booked leaving go-karting as the only activity available.
Overall, two days and one night was really good timing as it could be easily fitted into a weekend, was not too expensive and there was plenty to keep us busy.
Congratulations to the “Chocolate Bacon Banter” patrol who narrowly beat the “G. A. S. Banta” and “T. B. D.” patrols in the camp points competition.
The Scouts were asked to write something about the camp. Some of their pieces are in the comments section of the post. Toby wrote:
This year Summer Camp was really fun (as always)! We experienced a wide range of activities such as: cycling from Greenwich to camp (28 miles), snowboarding in Hemel Hempstead and fishing at Cassoibury Farm. They were fantastic! We had great fun pitching tent and banter in the hammocks, even making up a parody. We all had an immense time although none of it would have been possible without Geoff, Ali and James our wondrous leaders who were with us keeping us safe every step of the way. In short, it was a joy to be at Summer Camp, it was AMAZING!
White water rafting because it was fun and gave me an adrenaline rush!
What was the lowlight of the camp?
Spraining my ankle and having to go to A&E.
There wasn’t a lowlight as I enjoyed everything but not good to fall out of my hammock!
What difficulties did you have on camp?
It was difficult to get everyone in the patrol to stay focussed on the jobs around the camp, and looking after myself but that will be easier next time.
The only difficulty I found was getting back up the top of the ski slope!
What could have been done differently?
Having to work out what you need to do yourself is part of being a scout so don’t change that. Somewhere to dry wet kit would have helped. I found a week was a long time to be in camp.
The washing up rota was quite confusing.
Do you have anything else to add?
This was my second camp. It was really fun because we did tons of interesting activities like white water rafting. I got to camp away from home for a week. All the other scouts made it great fun. Geoff and James and Ali are good leaders and made sure we were safe and had fun.
It was my first full week Scout camp and I had an amazing time. I was a bit nervous about white water rafting but it turned out to be my favourite thing. It was good fun sleeping in the hammocks. I got to know the other Scouts better and made good friends with them. I think it is great that our Scout leader, his wife and assistant Scout leader and parents gave up their time to allow the camp to go ahead. Thank you.
From the 6th to the 8th June 2014, Scouts from around Oxfordshire took part in a wide range of water sports. Here is what one Scout from 30th Abingdon had to say
about the weekend:
We had a great time at aqua camp this year in Standlake in June. I really enjoyed the time I spent camping there. We did a range of activities including: dragon-boating, kayaking and sailing. I enjoyed sailing the most because it was a new skill I learnt. It poured at first but then the sun came out and we got hot chocolate to warm up. A few people fell into the lake but otherwise it was a great camp overall, with thanks to Geoff and Ali for organising the event and for cooking