Re: need camporee programs
Norman J MacLeod (normac4101@AOL.COM)
Sun, 1 May 1994 19:53:46 EDT
There are probably very few types of people in the world more relieved that
the Camp Chief of a District Camp who has suffered a runaway success. That s
my position today, having just returned from my stint as Camp Chief.
Whhheewwwwwww! This is a long post, since it provides an overview that I put
together while things are still fresh, so that I can have a memory jogger
when it comes time to do the report. Short version: Had Camporee. No
complaints of any king from anyone. Everyone had a ball. Went home with a
success in hand.
The weather was more than decent to us, at least until about 10:30 this
morning (Sunday), but all the tents were down and packed, and we were in the
middle of a District Wide Game that was new to the Scouts (in the BSA
District where I am now located, that is). We introduced a lot of things that
were totally new to the Scouts and Scouters here, though many of us have seen
them in one part of the world or another.
The only thing that failed to materialise was the Coast Guard helicopter
rescue demonstration that was to take place Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, their home station was pretty well fogged in all day, even
though we were being sun-burned less than 30km (about eighteen miles) away on
the other side of the Delaware Bay.
The weather prognosticator was less than optimistic, saying we would have
occasional afternoon thunderstorms. He lied, fortunately. Friday night was a
power company s nightmare 100 miles (about 160km) north of us, with severe
thunderstorms. Saturday afternoon we saw a big storm pass to the north of us,
and actually heard two rumbles from it, while we stayed dry.
The main theme for the weekend was GO FLY A KITE , since that is what we
did. Secondary activities included a Highland Games, complete with graduated
sized cabers, clachneart, sheaves, and more. The secondary programme was
included as a weather compromise - just in case.
We began on Friday by giving the adult Leaders and SPLs sketchy information,
while we gave full programme details and score-cards to the PLs, since these
are the Scouts who are supposed to be managing their Patrols. Novel concept -
confused adults, but it worked like a charm! (Of course the SLs and SPLs had
to spend the weekend asking the PLs where they were supposed to be and when -
but it gave everyone a better appreciation for how things could be...)
Scoring was done in just about everything the Scouts did all weekend.
Contrary to some trends in psychology, the Scouts thrived on the competition.
The programme was designed so that it would be impossible to do everything
available in the given time on Saturday, so the Patrol Leaders had to do some
planning, holding of Patrols In Council, TLCs , and such, in order to plan
the coming day. In most competition areas scoring was done according to this
Points earned by Scouts / Number of Scouts in the Patrol participating in the
event, plus five points to the Patrol for participating in the event.
Not all Scouts in the Patrol had to compete in the event for the Patrol to
get a competitive score in the event.
SLs and SPLs were drafted to assist in operating the stations if they had
not already volunteered. Draftees far outnumbered volunteers. (Is this a
common situation in the BSA?)
The scored kite activities included:
Time to Height (pre-measured line length, time to climb to max)
Greatest Altitude (100 second time limit, as well as an unlimited event)
Three kite design competitions (judged by a retired SL who has judged
nationally for 30 years):
Kite lighting (using lightsticks, electric lights, and just about anything
that could be made into a design worth entering in a competition. If there
was wind, the kites had to be able to fly with the lighting design operating.
(It blew, and they did...)
Stunt flying (after using a large portion of the day to train under some of
the best kite flyers in North America)
In support of our programme, several kite companies donated materials or
kites, as well as providing enough stunt kite loaners to keep everyone who
wanted to learn stunting busy.
The Highland Games included:
Clachneart (Scottish version of shot put, using stones)
Weight toss (used helmets for this one)
We had a Posh Meal - where the Scouts use the months leading up to the Camp
to dream up the most outrageously impressive meals possible. Some had three
full course plus extras. Invitations went out to adults and Scouters
connected to other Scout Groups, and the Patrol was judged on meal quality,
timeliness, appearance, and decorum of the Patrol members, along with other
criteria. We had Patrols with white tablecloths (one was lace), good china,
impressive flatware (someone persuaded his mother to part with her
gold-plated flatware). There were candles (five stick candelabra in one
case), and flowers all over the place. We had menus from pulled pig to
Mongolian Barbecue, to lamb and beyond.
Every one of the Posh Meal judges came back with glowing reports about meal
quality, how well behaved the Scouts were, and how much fun everyone was
having trying to out-do each other. One of our guest kiting experts said that
he wished he had known about this in advance, because he would have joined in
by bringing his tuxedo with him! (We are going to remember this one!)
There was a DC s (District Commissioner s) Uniform Inspection that was
conducted by the Posh Meal Guests just before sitting down for the meal. This
also went well.
Having noted a decline in campsite quality, we re-instituted the Dreaded
Campsite Inspection. The Patrol Leaders were provided with the inspection
sheet on Friday evening, so there were no surprises for them come Saturday
when the inspection was conducted (three passes throughout the day for each
Patrol). Health and Safety issues, such as grease in pans, were taken
directly to the SL, so that we could avoid the possibility of Scouts being
sick by Saturday night. We had no problems in that department. The only Scout
to become ill threw up as a result of a migraine headache.
In order to raise the quality of the campfire programme, we held an afternoon
competition called Skits and Songs , where the Scouts were coached in making
improvements to their presentations, as well as competing for points and to
see who would be able to take part in the campfire programme. Making this
something to be earned instead of a given really raised a lot of interest
and enthusiasm. We got some really superior performances at the campfire,
We also put yet another ace in the hole by having what we called Scout
Spirit Points , something we showed all the Scouts before it got too late on
Friday evening. Any Scout could earn between one and five points by showing
good Scout Spirit in one way or another - from simply being cheerful and
having an evident good time with what he was doing to seeing a Scout from
another Troop struggling with a full water container and jumping in to help
carry the water back to the other Scout s campsite (max points for this kind
of thing). They never knew which adults had points to give, only that there
wouldn t be any from their own Leaders, and that there wouldn t be any if it
seemed like they were just out fishin for the points. While this might
seem like bribery (well, isn t it?), it did wonders to the entire atmosphere
of the Camp. What s more, they didn t quit trying even after the competition
was finished Saturday night. The spirit carried over until they left for
We had live music for the campfire programme, provided by a husband and wife
folk music team. We found last year that the Scouts participate much more
willingly and enthusiastically at campfire if we have interesting musicians.
There was a combination of folk and traditional Scouting music, along with
the skits and some presentations. We had our second District Investiture
Ceremony, where we formally bring in the new Scouts as members of the
District in front of the fire, using the World Flag as a focus.
The musicians stayed behind after the formal campfire programme was over, and
continued playing a wide variety of music. A majority of the adults and about
a third of the Scouts stayed, roasted marshmallows and other snacks, and had
a good time on the beach in general. Being shattered by having been EXTREMELY
active all day, the Scouts had all spontaneously turned in by about 11:00 PM.
(We had a late lights-out on Saturday, and a late Rise and Shine Sunday due
to the kite-lighting competition.)
An interesting late evening side-line we had not anticipated was a bloom of
bioluminescent algae that lit up the breaking waves. This is something we
don t see every day, and the kids had a ball leaving glowing tracks in the
sand. (Well, OK - so did we old fogies!)
Sunday morning we had a Scouts Own observance of the fact that A Scout is
Reverent. This is something the District had been leaving up to the Troops,
with varying levels of success. We used sources from several different areas
of the world, and the Scouts enjoyed what we did together as a District. I
personally think that it made a significant difference that when we sat, we
had everyone sit, including the usual gang standing in the back of the crowd.
After the Scouts Own we went to the field we had been using for the kite
flying for the centre of the District Wide Game (Four Team Stratego). Since
they already had the rules (studying them since Friday night), they were
stoked to go and REALLY anticipating a super time. Since this was about the
best frame of mind we were going to have them in for the remainder of the
camp, this was the time we selected to go over the ground for litter. It only
took one pass, since we told them there would be a second pass (which would
shorten the game) if they didn t do it right the first time...
On Saturday, we had a District Trading Post next to the beach where we sold
old event patches, Scouting items, and drinks and some of the more wholesome
varieties of junk food. We found this to be a success at keeping the kids
well-hydrated and giving them something else they could enjoy that they had
not had at previous Camporees.
As it was, the game was cut short by the coming of the rain we were supposed
to have had all weekend, even though they didn t want to stop playing! They
made the District Committee promise that they could have Stratego at the next
District Camp - so we will, since they were only just getting the hang of
things, never having heard of the game before...
So there s a brief synopsis of our Camporee (District Camp). (Brief at this
length? You bet cha! There s an awful lot between each and every one of
these lines...). I welcome any questions or comments about how we did things,
and hope this gives you a few ideas to try out in your own Districts and
Groups. How about sharing your Camporees and District Camps with the rest of
us? Let s do whatever we can to help each other raise the quality of our
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City