To my mind there are three main reasons why Scouts love camp. They are 1) an endless supply of carb-rich food and cakes, 2) no parents talking about washing or teeth cleaning and 3) the freedom to sleep in the same clothes that they spent the day in.
Trees are also very important for sitting in at camp, but not as fundamental as the other three.
When we signed up for a family Scout camp, I was determined to make the most of 1), not put my children through the humiliation of 2) and make sure that I didn’t fall into the stinky creed of 3).
I also thought we’d have pleasant social interaction with my children’s contemporaries, without realising that 40 or so boys move at such speed they blur into one amorphous mass that grunts occasionally on the way past.
That aside, the pressure was immediately on when we arrived. The Scout leader cheerfully told us which direction the prevailing wind was coming from so that we could adjust our tent and guy ropes accordingly.
My husband and I smiled and nodded in that ‘ah, exactly’ way before bumbling over to our allotted space and wondering what we could do to make it seem we knew what the ramifications of said wind were.
I think the advice must have also been given to the man pitching next to us as, while we banged in a few pegs and twanged the top of our tent in an ‘it’s staying up’ manner, he kept readjusting his rope lengths. Without a doubt, he was as baffled as us.
Scout camp appears to have travelled back in time. Yes, the tents are better and technology plays its part (sending the amorphous mass to one side of the field to hold their phones in the air and sigh in unison at the poor signal). But the essence remains.
Take the campfire. I haven’t ginged, ganged or gooleyed in a long time, but the words came back to me with startling clarity.
I would say though, that my recollections from my Guiding days are of far more risque ways of not getting to heaven.
Still, the camp fire was followed by cake, so what’s not to love?