I grew up in suburbia, and hence had a romantic image of camping out in the wild. When I was growing up the boy scouts were going through a bit of a decline, regarded as quasi-military organisation by mine and many parents so I never got the chance to join.
Perhaps if I had been able to play boy scout as a child I would have never ended up spending the last week of the school holidays looking after nine boys aged between eight and almost ten in middle of a forest in Gembrook Victoria under canvas tents. That's right I have been at
The weather for the the week was as follows
Monday min 6.8 max 11.1
Tuesday min 2.4 max 9.2 and 10 mm of rain
Wednesday min 0.9 max 9.1 and 9 mm of rain
Thursday min 2.4 max 9.5
and friday we returned home
So 3500 cubs scouts and another 1000 leaders and support staff all up in the wilds of Gembrook Victoria, and DAMN it was cold and wet.
|A small section of the night time campfire circle|
What is alarming that despite having a trial pack weekend where the cubs go away and camp, nights where we invited all the parent to come so we could be sure they all know about what is needed for Cuboree, numerous newsletters, handouts, emails trying to make sure everyone understood what was expected, stressed that it would be cold and that the cubs needed to pack their own bags so they could find what they were looking for on camp.
Yet we still had conversations like this
Leader "its raining, get your rain coat"?
Cub " I don't think my mum packed a rain coat"
Leader "need to have a shower"
Cub " I don't have showers on Tuesday, I don't have any soap, I don't wanna"
Leader "Get ready for lights out?"
Cub "I don't have a sleeping bag"
Honestly, I don't know which is worse the cubs or the parents. Actually that's not true. It worse that an adult would send an 8 year old to a camp with out warm clothes and a sleeping bag. So if nothing else then I've taught 9 boys that they need to pack there own gear if they are going on a camp.
So what else can you learn as a cub scout on Cuboree, well watching Russell Crowe's Robin Hood the eponymous hero quotes
"I could teach you how to tie a knot that won't be slipped. I could teach you how to move through a forest. And I can help Marion teach you how to stay clean, so you won’t get sick." Add to that how to prepare meals for fifty, find your way around a camp, keep a tent dry and how to build a decent campsite in the middle of a forest and thats not a bad start.
I ended up as a cub scout leader because I used to stay and watch the_weapon when he went to cubs. They announced if no one volunteered as a leader then the pack would have to breakup. The pack now numbers 26 and we only have myself and two other leaders. This is not an un-familiar problem with packs all around Victoria. Next year I am moving up to be a scout leader now the_weapon is turning 11. I don't know how they can continue to run the cub pack if more adults don't step up. Our number continue to grow, yet our volunteers are getting fewer and the ones we have are growing older. I worry other kids wont get these chances.
Still we must be doing something right as almost all the cubs said they wanted to go the 23rd scout Jamboree in 2013.
13,000 scouts for 10 days under canvas, watch out Marlborough Queensland.