Summer 2020

Tomorrow I will be returning to school for my very last year (year 13), I am slightly nervous and I have written this blog post to recap my summer.

  1. Caught up on some school work – this included some of my maths and chemistry which after taking my online course, I became behind
  2. Read quite a few books – such as Red Rising, Red Queen, The Summer I turned Pretty, reread the Selection series and more
  3. Watched Netflix – including Scorpion, iZombie, the Order, Vampire Diaries etc.
  4. Home and Away via. My5 – I’ve been getting very behind on this show but it is amazing
  5. Did a tiny bit of revision – this was reading my flashcards through from year 12 and creating a few more resources
  6. Visited my family – this was lovely as I had not seen my family since Christmas
  7. Met with some friends – I was able to catch up since lock down and even saw my friend who moved to Manchester
  8. Watched too many movies – including Chalet Girl, Camp Rock 1&2, Feel the Beat, The Kissing Booth 2 and more
  9. Took some photos – I learnt some new skills and practised star photography with Comet Neowise
  10. Played guitar – learning some new songs and chords
  11. Spent time in the garden relaxing
  12. Stroked my cats
  13. Went on a 30km charity hike – blog post coming soon
  14. Wrote some letters
  15. Tweeted for changed to my ALevels in 2021
  16. Played on my Switch – changed my island in Animal Crossing New Horizons and visited my sisters island
  17. Celebrated my sisters 14th birthday – in my eyes she is still 12
  18. Practised french plaiting my hair
  19. Created a photo book – blog post also coming soon
  20. Went camping by the seaside
  21. Cooked lots of different meals – including pizza, burgers and coffee cake
  22. Attended some virtual camps
  23. Attended virtual open days

Online Stravolution

Blue looking at the online site

Over the past weekend I completed online Strategy and Evolution. For the past 2 years I have helped out with Strategy and attended Evolution as a participant. The weather has usually been warm and sunny during this camp and this year also lived up to the warm weather.

Blue painting my nails

During this weekend we would complete different activities on the Saturday earning points as a team. Different activities would include; nail painting, obstacle course, wire maze, first aid, bag check, ring toss etc. For the online version we were set 15 activities to complete. These included; spending a night outside, nail painting, first aid, drinking a pint of water, designing a new weapon, making ice cream, creating your own campsite, etc.

Blue and I both participated together and Blue tried to paint my nails in triple blue. I really enjoyed participating and so did Blue and we cannot wait until we can go camping again.

European Jamboree 2020 Precamp 1

I have been selected to attend the European Jamboree next year (as I like to nickname it EJ2020). The Jamboree is based on ‘ACT’ which is the idea of acting upon the environment to make the world a better place. A few weekends back, I went on my first unit camp with my EJ2020 unit.

Blue at the entrance to the campsite

On Friday evening we set up camp. We helped to move bags up to the kitchen area before I set up my tent and sorted out my roll mat, sleeping bag etc. I then talked to other people before heading to help put up another tent. The thing with this tent was that someone got told to take down their one man and sleep in a 4 man by themselves. As clever Explorers, we put the outer side of the new tent over the old small one man tent to save time taking down one tent and putting up the whole of the other tent.

Campfire circle

That evening we headed to the campfire where we were told who was in each patrol. We were told some of the programme for the weekend including that on the Saturday we would be helping clear some of the site as part of our ACT mini project. As my patrol would be cooking the next morning, we played 2 truths and 1 lie to get to know one another before we soaked up the rest of the campfire. We ate supper and then headed to bed.

On the Saturday morning, I had to wake up slightly earlier as I had to cook breakfast. We cooked bacon for bacon sarnies and then eggs for the vegetarians. After breakfast we washed up before helping put up tents as part of our ACT project. We had to check the quality of the tents before taking them back down again. In the end, the tent I put up was one of the worst tents as so we swapped the good poles of the tent with the broken ones from other groups.

Blue with the trailer containing the weeds we had cut down

After a quick snack break, we were then on weed cutting duty. My group cut all the weeds around the traverse wall as well as some near a car parking area. The rake I was using kept breaking so at first I fixed it with some rope, but that only lasted for 5 minutes before it broke again so then I used some duct tape which lasted for longer. After this activity, we ate lunch before proceeding to the afternoon activities.

Blue at the Tomahawk throwing

In the afternoon, we stayed in our patrols during a rotation. Our first activity included going around the traverse wall and coming up with our patrol’s name. The name had to include the word ‘ACT’ so our current name is ‘PACT man’. Our next activity was tunnelling where we played hide and seek in the dark followed by a talk from one of our leaders. Our final activity was Tomahawk throwing before we had some free time before dinner.

Blue after the hike

During this free time, we went back into the tunnels and had music playing through the tunnels. For dinner, we had chicken curry, rice and naan – so a variation of chicken and rice. After dinner, we plotted grid coordinates onto a map for our hike the next day before toasting marshmallows on a fire to make smores. I then headed for an early night to bed.

Blue with an ice lolly

The next day, we woke up slightly late for breakfast but fortunately did not miss it. After breakfast I packed my bag for the hike before heading off in our patrols. The walk was around 7 miles long and halfway through we met with another patrol and walked the rest of the route with them. After our hike, we returned to the campsite and helped move a few things to help finishing taking camp down. We moved a trailer of weeds before being rewarded with an ice lolly to then take down our tents. Our parents then had a meeting before we were collected and headed back home.

Over the weekend we found a bit more about what our Jamboree experience would be like. We were informed that we would fly to Amsterdam, then travel by train to Berlin and then on to Poland. As part of the main Jamboree, there would also be a 2 day hike as part of the programme. We would then fly directly home.

Rumble in the jungle 2

Luckily, I was one of the only ones who did not wake up to the sound of the Beavers at 4:30am. I only then woke up at 6:30 am from the alarm I set myself.

Before breakfast, the Beavers painted jigsaw puzzles until they then ate bacon, scrambled eggs and baked beans. After breakfast, they then started washing up followed by a scavenger hunt on the campsite. They then made animals masks using paper plates and pens.

After this, they played a quick game of NESW but with a jungle twist. When called out ‘Make the sound of …’ they would sound like the animal and when called out ‘Act like a …’ they would act like the animal mentioned.

Finally, it was time for lunch – a banquet of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and veg. For pudding, they had slime (green jelly), bugs (raisins) and sticks (matchmakers). After lunch, they rolled up their roll mats and stuffed their sleeping bags as well as collecting all of their kit together.

finally, it was time for them to go home. Once all the Beavers left, we helped to dismantle camp by taking down the marquee as well as packing away our own personal tents. The weekend was brilliant and was a nice break from my revision.

Rumble in the jungle

This weekend, I’m on Beaver camp as a young leader. I arrived a couple of hours earlier to help set up camp – I helped put up the Beavers tent and the Marquee.

The Beavers soon arrived and I quickly are my lunch ready to start the activities. We all got given jungle books and then we were off on our first activity.

The first activity consisted of hunting for different tracks – the Beavers had to at first spot the tracks and then understand what each one stood for. There were a few challenging tracks to look for which I did not manage to spot.

After our first activity, we then packed our day sacks to walk to the obstacle course. Here, the Beavers completed the course in multiple variations and even attempted the cargo net. Luckily, no one fell into the stream which the course took place above.

Our third activity consisted of knot tying and putting up a tent. The Beavers learnt the reef knot and a clove hitch whilst the other lodge put up the tent. This was shortly followed by swapping activities before going to wash our hands before dinner.

Our dinner was spaghetti Bolognese, but due to last Beaver camp where I broke multiple Scout laws (https://explorerscout84.co.uk/a-scout-is-to-be-trusted-but-not-on-beaver-camp), I was expecting revenge. I was told that my dinner might become chilli infested but in the end, it was normal. Everyone then helped to wash up.

Me and my fellow Young Leader, then made a string trail. Originally it was too long but we managed to shorten it. The Beavers thoroughly enjoyed this before then proceeding to sit and enjoy the campfire. They toasted marshmallows and sang traditional songs.

Finally, it was time for bed after a long day. The Beavers were read a bedtime story.

I am currently writing this enjoying the silence. I have borrowed the campsites WiFi to upload the post – which I only discovered recently.

Continue reading “Rumble in the jungle”

Jamboree Camp: Take 5

So this weekend I went on another Jamboree camp and caught up with all my friends. We arrived on Friday evening and got put into our patrols. I got the position of being the assistant patrol leader for my patrol and so once we were all in our patrols we had to come up with patrol names. As a patrol we came up with some very obscure and weird names, we could not decide on a name so still haven’t chosen our final name yet! but we did chose a time to wake up and cook breakfast the next morning.

‘Before bed’ (as quoted) we had hotdogs and hot chocolate for supper. We then watched Toy Story 3 in the hut all cosied up with our sleeping bags and roll mats. As usual on my Jamboree camps we didn’t get to sleep until way past 2 the next morning.

The next morning we cooked omelettes for breakfast and washed up before the activities began. One of our morning activities was to plan our unit video to be sent to the UK contingent. We discussed what represented our counties and what represented our unit as a whole as well.

After this we discussed where we wanted to visit in NYC and Washington DC. For NYC we had discussions on visiting Ground Zero, Times Square and Central Park. For Washington DC we discussed visiting the White House, The National Mall and Smithsonian museums including the air and space museum (Mum and Dad- I promise not to sleep through the whole of the first floor exhibits if we go).

We then watched a short video on the timeline of the 9/11 attacks, we then discussed how it had changed and shifted the world and how we now experience air travel.

Our unit then played a couple of games before we went inside for lunch. To practice having to use points to buy meals we were given a set amount of points and had to decide the best way to ‘spend’ them on our lunch. Each of the lunch food items were worth different points and so we had to work out what we wanted for lunch and to make sure we had enough points to buy it.

After lunch, we had a talk about what to expect if we go to Canada and which countries we would also be going too. We also looked at the additional kit and what kit we would be given. As we were doing this we wrote down any queries into a box and also who we wanted to share a tent with out on the Jamboree.

In the afternoon, we went on a mini hike around the village where we had to go on a mini scavenger hunt. We had to find a blue item, see how many people we could fit in a phone box, get a takeaway menu, take pictures of birds (we cleverly took picture of chickens in the butchers) and more. My patrol lost but I believe this just gives our patrols a lot of room for improvement. When we returned we were given an activity to find out what was stuck onto our forehead and the pair. Later, we found out that this is who we’d be sharing a tent with.

For dinner we had chicken curry and rice and for the only time ever the whole unit had finished cooking and cleaned 40 minutes before planned. We were then split into half and talked about some of the things which might happen on the Jamboree and any more worries we might have followed by yet another unit discussion.

Our evening activity consisted of as called ‘Unit 82 got talent in their eyes factor, get me out of stars in their strictly popstars on ice’. In our patrols we decided on our ‘talents’ with my patrol doing a mini magic show with magic tricks. I did a card trick and we had other card tricks and a plate trick. Other patrols did dancing and acrobatics. My act came second from last but as I mentioned earlier there is always room for improvement. Our leaders also surprised us by dressing up in suits and dresses to be the show’s judges.

To finish ‘Unit 82 got talent in their eyes factor, get me out of stars in their strictly popstars on ice’ the whole unit sang Bohemian Rhapsody. After a couple of rounds of Irish snap and cheat, we settled off to sleep. Yet again, we weren’t asleep until 2 the next morning.

Breakfast was bacon baps and was then followed by a first aid session. We talked about what we might experience on the Jamboree and how to prevent it. For example, we were reminded of DR ABC, what to do if someone faints, how to prevent dehydration and sun burns as well as how to clean and cover grazes.

We played a couple more games and then it was time to set up afternoon tea for the parents and to eat our lunch (no point system today). The parents then had a parent meeting where they learnt some more information and had the chance to ask any questions. It was then time to say goodbye to all of my friends before we left to go back to our county.

I’m currently finishing this blog on the way back with my motivation (a minibus classic and tradition) of cold custard. We also had a challenge this camp go try and fit all of our kit into a medium bag to practice for our first few days travelling to the Jamboree where highly likely we won’t be allowed to go into our big bags. I managed to pack mine into a small-ish rucksack, so my Mum didn’t have to call the plumber to remove the kitchen sink this time!

Equipment: A very serious blog post.

I was recently challenged to come up with a list of things I’d take camping, but only things that began with the first letter of my name. Which of course is E for Explorer, or is it Eighty Four?

It was harder than I thought but here are my top 25 items:

  1. Emergency Blanket
  2. Extra Thick Socks
  3. Earmuffs
  4. Eurohike Tent (other tents are also available)
  5. Envelope
  6. Equipment
  7. Eye drops
  8. Ear plugs
  9. Eiderdown
  10. Espadrilles
  11. Elephant dung (dried)
  12. Entertainment system
  13. England’s Glory Matches (other brands are also available, just not starting with an E)
  14. Email
  15. Energiser Batteries (or maybe Every Ready, still taking bids for product placement on this one)
  16. Electric toothbrush
  17. Elf on the shelf.
  18. Emery board
  19. Edam, eggs, enchiladas, escallops and other edibles.
  20. Embalming Fluid (you never know)
  21. Epic novel (on an e-reader)
  22. Elastic
  23. Eagle Scout Repellent 😉
  24. Erasers
  25. Exam revision
  26. and of course: Everything Else!

Beast of the future

Unfortunately this is not another snow camp unlike the beast from the east but it was another camping trip.

I went camping last weekend with my friend who I hadn’t camped with for a couple of years. It was nice to catch up and because we were the only ones from our unit, we made friends with other explorer groups in our county. I saw my Jamboree friends as well, who as well as I were taking a well deserved break from fundraising.

On the Friday evening I failed at circus skills but instead aced a game of cards. Followed by a disco, to then finally fall asleep at 1am the next morning.
The next day we could choose which activities we wanted to do. I did archery, rifle shooting, caving, a blind folded trail, tomahawks, arts and crafts, laser tag, bushcraft and many more.
The evening entertainment consisted of a silent disco where half the room would be dancing to the cha cha slide and the other half of the room would be singing and dancing along to YMCA. This finished gone midnight so yet again, I finally fell asleep at 1.
The final day consisted of rain and more rain – luckily this hadn’t been over the whole weekend. I did some more arts and craft by building a tower from spaghetti and sweets, did some archery and played some more cards. I went home having had an amazing time and meeting some amazing new friends.

A Wild Weekend in the Woods

Trees!

I have been on another training camp with my Jamboree unit last weekend. On the Friday night, we travelled up on the minibus, jamming out to music for 2 hours and catching up with one another.

We arrived at the campsite after pulling down a very very bumpy lane. Once the minibus had parked up, we were told by one of our leaders that there were no proper toilets – instead it was a wooden shed with a hole in the ground which fed the soil.  In the dark I was not prepared for all the spiders I was going encounter especially after Strategy.

State of the art toilet facility!

Before we set up our tents, we had to help the rest of our unit put up the cooking tents and say hello again. Apart from the disaster of me not being able to find my spare batteries and then finding them in the only pocket I hadn’t looked in I could help. We then got to set up our own tents before sitting around the campfire.

Pretty Fire

Around the campfire we had an introduction where we got new numbers to call out when someone would shout ‘number off’ and we’d count in order our new number. We got put into our patrols for the weekend and agreed on a time to wake up and start to light a fire to cook on.

I woke up on time to meet with my patrol to collect fire wood and start the fire. We collected lots and lots of wood as there is no such thing as having too much wood and we started cooking once the fire got hot enough. We cooked the eggs first, then some veggie sausage on a giant saucepan until I found a smaller saucepan so we could start the bacon. I was on putting the bacon onto the frying pan duty and saved my egg to have a bacon and egg buttie. Our patrol then washed up and gathered with other patrols, 20 minutes late, for flag break.

We would be doing 4 rota activities in the morning including; social media, personal hygiene, airport security and washing.

At the social media station we learnt about how landscape should be the natural photo shot with the photo not being staged and hence natural. So, our task was to take natural photos of the other groups without disturbing them.

At the personal hygiene station we learnt that our main goals would be to be happy whilst keeping clean by washing our hands and to always tell a leader if something is wrong. Our task was to be blindfolded with paint on our hands and to wash it off and to stop when we thought they were clean.

At the airport security station we had to work out what items we would be able to take in our holdall going to the USA from the UK and visa versa. I learnt that you can only take liquids of 100ml and your water bottle has to be empty when taking it through security.

Clean as clean can be

Finally at the washing station we had to make our t-shirts muddy and then cleaned them. First we rinsed them to get the majority of dirt out and off of them and then we used hot water with washing powder to wash our t-shirts and then rinsed them in cold water again. We then wrung out excess water and hung them up to dry and went to get lunch.

After lunch we got set the challenge to decide on what our patrol wanted for tea and decide on 2 people to go shopping whilst the rest of the patrol helped with the big bonfire/ campfire we would be having in the evening. By a fair game of rock, paper, scissors it was decided that I and a other person would go shopping. So, with our shopping list and £25 we checked the kitchen pantry and went to catch the minibus to the supermarket.

Look what we foraged!

After a quick stop to a scout hut to get extra utensils on the way, we arrived at Asda to go shopping. We got our trolley and were off. We met the vlogging patrol with their body camera and compared our shopping trollies. My patrol’s trolley contained; pasta, carbonara sauce, bacon, muffins, fizzy drinks and cheese. The other patrol’s trolley contained vegetables and noodles for their stir fry.

Not Spag Bol!

Once finished, we travelled back on the minibus to see the others had built a huge campfire whilst we had gone. As soon as we got back we started cooking our tea. Everyone wanted some of our carbonara and we served many of the VIPs who joined us. There was plenty to share round. We then washed up and headed over to camp break to finish the evening, to name our mascot bear and to play a few games.

After the games we had our massive campfire which the circumference was the size of a trampoline and the height of a traffic light. It went from freezing cold to boiling hot in the split of a second. We then did our sketches in our patrols as well as our campfire song.

The next morning we cooked pancakes with bacon and went full out on toppings. We then broke camp and had campflag where we were told we’d have to walk to the village hall to listen to the parents’ meeting. It wasn’t a long journey walking and we listened to the meeting while eating homemade cake. We said goodbye to our friends from the other county and then we were back on the minibus home – where we stopped off at the services on the way back quickly. We arrived back in our own county and went back our separate ways after our karaoke session in the minibus.

Blue helping with the washing

Our mascot’s official name is now Blue – in the photo you can see Blue having a go at hand washing our clothes.

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Back Another Day …

It’s been the first week of my summer holidays and I am already wanting to go back to school – where there is a set timetable and no kittens running around trying to trip you up.

My first week of no school consisted of seeing my friends, getting a new kitten and doing some homework (yes my teachers really did set me homework over the summer holidays). However, I did have an enjoyable time at my county’s Jamboree unit meetup.

We designed a menu for our September camp where I’ll be with my unit and found out that we will have to walk to buy the food to practice for the Jamboree site. We also looked thoroughly through our ‘Jamboree in a bag’ where I spotted an American football, flags, maple syrup, maracas and much more. I am already planning some activities I could do with different sections with the bag and have looked on the UK contingent website of activities I could do – I can’t wait to make a tipee with my Beavers and other local units around me.

I also found out about some unofficial news about the Jamboree. However, this is only a rumour but if it turns out to be true I’m going to be very, very happy.

After our month long UK ‘heatwave’ I can be glad to say that we have finally had two days of rain – yipee! However, I’m starting to miss the sun which is already preparing me for the heat out on the Jamboree campsite.

This week’s top tip is to frequently check the UK contingents website for any new information. I am enjoying looking at the ‘Jamboree in a bag’ section to look at all the different activities I could run in my local area.