Aug 09 2010

Red Rose 2010

Category: Scoutingash @ 10:12 am

Well, that’s happened.  18 months of planning, several things to look after, and a funeral for a good friend.

Up on the Thursday night after work to start collecting stuff together.  With my suspension grinding on the corners, I got there early enough to do several hours sorting stuff out.  Hugh appeared, and we spent a while putting some finishing touches to the International day plans.

On Friday we finished this off in the morning, then got a minibus with Stuart Dean & a few other mates down to Preston for Dave’s Funeral.  A stunning ceremony, with a Guard of Honour of around 350 Scouters.  The chap leading the service was the minister of the church to which Dave’s group was attached, so he knew him well, and did a fantastic eulogy.  Many people having tearful moments, and a strange emotional wrench, knowing that we were about to have a really intense week following this.  Very strange feeling, but done very well.  By the time I arrived back, the Dutch had arrived at camp, and had setup where we needed them.

Back up to GT to crack on with a few more hours of prep.  The campers were arriving at 12am onwards on the Saturday, so spent until then sorting stuff out and briefing people for the International day, chucking up my tent, and helping Dawn and the others (as I was on her Subcamp team) to get our central area sorted.  Groups started arriving, and with a few minor issues of traffic carnage at our carpark/subcamp office, we got everyone sorted.  I was off sorting other International Day stuff for a chunk of this time I think.  Off to the opening ceremony which worked well, suprisingly fitting everyone in the camp centre.  The video’s show this well.

Sunday then came, and went suprisingly well.  Whilst the family activities were running, I was sorting out the ‘next’ games.  We’d hoped for there to be an underlying theme and story for the whole day, and although this went a bit wonky, it kind of worked.  Certainly a good idea, needs more supprt and staffing next time though.  The community base worked well, with Hugh, Kier, Dave Walton, Jen McAllen and Anna Booth sorting them out.  Whilst that was running, I was working with the inflatable people to site sumo suits, bouncy castles, surf machines and rodeo bulls around the site.  When that had been done, I grabbed some food on the fly, then went around to start collecting bits of kit back in, and meet with guys for the final ceremony of the day, back in camp centre.  By the time that was done & we’d worked out what to do, I realised that our plan to give people prayer flags and collect them relied on the strings that we hadn’t cut.  So, Carrington, Sarah O and I spent an hour hacking, coiling and taping up 20 m lengths of sizal to collect these flags on.  Unfortunatly, not many of the flags actually appeared, so the impact wasn’t anywhere near what we were aiming for.  Lack of communication on my part I think. 

The ceremony worked well, Ray, Ricko and Craig did well to work the crowd of that size on a Faiths & Beliefs event.  Check the video to see more than what I did of the day!  Lots of good feedback (well, no BAD feedback), so I’m taking that as a good thing!

Sunday night, after this event, things went a bit wrong.  We had the most complex day the following day, involving lots of activity tickets to allocate out & get kids onto what they wanted.  Unfortunatly, the expectations, and assumptions of a few of our leaders were not possible, and so we embarked on several hours of placating, negotiating, and bending over backwards, whilst fighting with an admin system that none of us had been trained in (as I was running International Day, Dawn was in a Subcamp leaders meeting, and the other 3 had 250 kids every 45 mins to entertain – all at the same time the training was planned – a serious fcuk up there).  Net result was that people ended up in tears, others nearly lost the plot altogether, and I finally got to bed at 01:15 after working with them to sort all the problems out.  This was the start of the low bit for me.  The head of activities and Camp Cheif were dragged up to deal with unhappy leaders.

Monday our kids were off site & I was supposed to be having a day off.  However, with the immense screw up the evening before, we spent several hours debriefing ourselves, then I met with the activities team to try to show them how and why things had gone wrong.  I was very tired at this point, but I was glad I was doing it myself, as the attitude that a couple of that team had would have led the others on the subcamp to either smack them or leave the camp.  However, none of the other subcamps seemed to have the issues that we did, so I guess that tweaks were made.  Went offsite to collect some parrafin for a group, and realised that if it wasn’t for letting Dawn and the others down, I’d go home right now, as I plainly wasn’t having fun.  Realised I was VERY tired, so got back to site, and got my head down for an hour or two.  Woke feeling far better.

From that point on, we were into activity days, so lots of meetings, organising people, moving people around, dealing with problems campers were having, and attempting to catch up and speak to many of my mates that were up – though I did precious little of that as my head was about to explode with stuff we were dealing with.  One group in particular (which turned out to be the most tricky group of the camp) were a pain right through the event, swearing at staff, refusing to do what we asked, questioning everything we did and so on.  This left a permanant cloud over all of us for all the week, and a cheer did apparently go up at the front gate when they finally left.

And no mention about the members that’d I’d taken who were refusing to pay for food that ended up going on my credit card.

Good things DID happen this week though.  The International Day seemed to work, the Dutch clog Dance and their Gaming night which they ran for our subcamp was pretty cool.  Bully and I ran a campfire one night for the subcamp which was cool, there was a gig with a few of us which went ok (ta for the beer Si!), and I managed to get 30 mins to chill on a saftey boat on the water at Moor Crag one day.  Also managed to get out with a group to the wildlife park and Ambleside (though I spent all of my time there fixing the wireless Access Point in Lakes Climber!)

So, hard work, long hours, knackred, 19 ticks, and one infected foot from a tick bite.  Did I enjoy it?  Well, I enjoyed bits of it.  The kids had a good time, so that’s the key thing.  The mistakes which happened last time didn’t this time.  However, the lows were many, and all of which were very low.  I managed to get to the staff bar 4 nights out of the 8 that it was open, and around 50% of the meals I ate were in the kitchen as I’d missed mealtimes.

‘Nuff respect to Dawn, Kerry, Scouse and Johnathon though.  I’d gladly work on any event with them again.  Bloody good set of people, and without such strong characters, we would all have broken (as it was, only 3 of us did!)

I’d forgotten on how being on a Subcamp means that you work 24/7.  You’d think I’d remember that after being a subcamp leader last time round.  Hey ho.  Right, off to the Doctors to have a foot removed.

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