Monday, October 4, 2010

Cub v Wild

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. 


  1. AHHH 11, that explains the negatory from the old man on the Al Qaeda gear. Check.

    I was in the cubs. Never made it to the Scouts ... not sure why. Think it mighta had soemthing to do with the fire boys rocking up with a display of everyday item failures. One just happened the metho can that blew my old man up. He survived, just. Plenty of bark missing and some spliced from other trees ... uh, people.....well, pigs, back then.

    Then when I got to Aus I joined the SES, which is the general progression from Scouts here I believe. Loved the SES. Still got all the gear, just haven't had the time.

    Yeah, and it surprises me that many people figured out how to breed.

  2. It's funny. I grew up in the suburbs as well and had absolutely no desire to go out into the wilderness. Now that I'm grown up, though, I like the woods and want to be out there more. Luckily Michigan has tons and tons of woods toward the north.

    Sounds like you all had a lot of fun despite the weather. And no doubt you'd be a great scout leader!

  3. I love my camping, and make it even more complicated by doing in with lots of medieval gear.

    Soccer seems to be doing better - our u11 Canberra Soccer team had almost as many coaches as kids :)

  4. Moko
    Thanks for that, yeah the SES is one way he may go, or Cadets either way will try to encourage him to stick with scouts all the way through. One of our leaders Chill has come through all the sections and the way she talks about doing camp aways, and weekends with other scout folk and different activities I want the_weapon to have those memories.

    Have you considered become a scout leader?

    When you say more coaches, do you mean coaches or just parents who shot from the side line and think they can do a better job?


  6. I enjoyed the Scouts. Our troop had one great asset, the son of a doctor who had a bloody fantastic wine cellar, so whenever we went camping out would come a decent claret. Being all of thirteen at the time it was a brilliant education in vin rouge. One time after ripping out the cork, sniffed it and swore. The fucker was corked and that was another good lesson.
    Well done on doing the leader role, its what I define as a Good Thing.

  7. I was a Soviet pioneer once, it wasnt nearly that fun. Congrats