Blog | My first camp

Blog | My first camp

12 June 2017

Leader Greig Torpey ran his first camp for 9th Braid’s Cubs and Scouts Sections earlier this year. We asked him to share what he learned from the experience. 

You recently ran your first camp – tell us where it was?

The camp was at Bonaly Outdoor Centre, near Edinburgh, beside the Pentland Hills. It was a joint camp for both my Cubs and my Scouts.

This was the first camp that I have organised myself. I had the help and support of my fantastic leadership team (both leaders and young leaders) throughout the weekend, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

Talk us through your camp programme.

We began on Friday night with a campfire and some wide games. Saturday was a day of on-site activities. In the morning, while the Cubs did archery, the Scouts pitched their brand new bell tent and played some rugby in the field. Then it was the Scouts’ turn for archery, and the Cubs had some races and built a bridge over the stream.

After lunch, the Cubs and Scouts split their time between Sumo wrestling and grass sledging. While dinner was prepared, the Scouts collected some firewood for the campfire.

After dinner we joined some other scout groups for a big campfire, then had a quick wide game, before finishing with smores and hot chocolate. On the Sunday we enjoyed a walk in the Pentland Hills, before tidying up and heading home for a good sleep.

How did you decide on the venue and programme for your camp?

We chose Bonaly because while it is only four miles from where we meet, its isolated setting, right next to the Pentland Hills, seems like a whole world away.

We wanted to be outdoors as much as possible and encourage the young people to be adventurous. We chose activities based on those that the Cubs and Scouts had asked to do previously. They had always asked if we could do sumo wrestling, and this indeed proved to be a big hit. I think the best way to choose activities is to allow the young people to pick them – usually they pick the ones they are most keen on so keep them occupied for the longest.

What support was available to you for running your camp?

I had the support of all my fellow Leaders from both Sections. There is plenty of information online, but I think the best support came from friends and family who are involved in scouting and who have run camps before.They were able to provide me with small bits of information and advice that I wouldn’t have thought of.

Did you encounter any challenges and what did you do to overcome them?

Getting the Cubs and Scouts to go to sleep at night always proves extremely challenging. It is a challenge I encounter time and again at any camp I help out on, and still have not come up with a solution! Eventually they all go to sleep, but then they are always tired the next day. I think this is just going to have to be one of those things that happens every camp!

What else would you do differently next time?

I would involve the other leaders more in the planning and try and be a little more organised. Juggling studies, expedition prep, Scouting and socialising sometimes means certain things are neglected. For example, I left the food to the last minute, and I feel I should have involved my assistant Cub Leader in that planning more. As a mother of three children, she has far more experience, so would have been able to give some advice and then hopefully then my portioning would have been a bit more accurate. Other than that I think we had a fantastic camp, and although there were many small points to improve, in general I was very happy.

It sounds like you all enjoyed it.

It was a great experience, and beyond expectations. The Cubs and Scouts all seemed to have a fantastic time, and the reviews at the end of camp were great. I can’t wait to build on this first camp and see where we can go and what we can achieve. Our aims are to have an international expedition next summer, so who knows where we will end up.

Inspired to run your own camp?

If you're planning to organise your first camp, take a look at our new Ultimate Summer Camp Planning Checklist to help you stay on track of what you need to do and when.

Ultimate Summer Camp Planning Checklist