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Family Camp Fun with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts

When my eight year old son brought home the letter from Cubs inviting us on ‘family camp’ I envisaged a muddy field, men in shorts and long socks and watery stew in a less than clean looking receptacle.

How wrong could I be…….

On Friday night as we left MacDonalds (a kind of ‘last supper’) the sun was shining and instead of feeling a sense of foreboding I was actually feeling the stirrings of excitement. Our camper van was packed to the hilt as was our hire Camper which I had cunningly booked to myself for the weekend. We set off in convoy myself, my husband, our 2 children and our friends’ 2 children (may I add in here our friends had ‘escaped’ to a swanky wedding in Spain!).

The setting was idyllic, a huge open playing field behind a cricket pitch, lined with trees. No electric hook up but hey, who cares?!

As we all set up our pitches I was glad once again for the ease of just popping a roof and popping on the kettle, there was no struggling with tent poles for us.

As the sun set we retired for the night, feeling confident we would have a fabulous nights sleep on the uber comfy RIB bed complete with mattress topper. I was in one Camper with two small people, my husband in the other with the remaining two and we shared a ‘Little House on the Prairie” moment as we bid each other goodnight. However, the night was not a peaceful as we hoped….

Around 1.30am the distant rumblings of thunder began to move closer and pick up momentum and for the next two hours we were treated to the most spectacular light show I have ever seen. Now, if I had been cowering under canvas, held up with metal tent poles and sheltered by the trees I possibly wouldn’t have been so impressed. But snuggled up rather smugly in my Campervan with its all important rubber tyres I watched nature at its best. The best bit was my two young charges slept through the whole thing, including the torrential downpour!

Although slightly sleepy, I awoke Saturday morning feeling relaxed and ready for the day ahead. I was beginning to see that ‘Family Camp’ did just what it said on the tin, it was uncomplicated family fun and I was loving it.

Despite the lack of showers I was able to make myself fairly presentable from the comfort of my Camper. With the curtains shut and the roof up there is plenty of space and total privacy. The wardrobe was also a real saving grace as my clothes looked freshly pressed even by Sunday when I was feeling decidedly crumpled.

A delicious ‘Full English’ banished any remaining sleepiness and we embarked on a fun filled day, jam packed with some truly inspiring activities. The effort and dedication of all those involved was second to none and I would defy even the most recalcitrant campers not to have been caught up in the energy and enthusiasm which permeated the day. From pioneering to marshmallow catapults, bread making to giant marble runs there was never a dull moment and certainly no time to ponder upon the absence of a shower!

After a sumptuous feast of homemade lasagne, salads, garlic bread and a dessert table groaning under its mouthwatering offerings we wended our way to the newly dug out fire pit, where the camp fire was roaring. A motley crew we were indeed, slightly grubby, recumbent in a technicolour array of camp chairs and blankets, with the sleepy smiles of those who have given their all and made some truly wonderful memories. As the strains of ‘Ging Gang Goolie’ slowly ebbed away we returned to our Campervan and I snuggled the small people into their sleeping bags, their eyes closing almost before their heads hit the pillows.

So…. without a pair of long socks or a dish of watery stew in sight I can categorically say that scouting is cool, or in the words of my boys ‘awesome’!!

Move over Bear Grylls …. Mummy Bear is coming to get you!