GlosCamp 2010

When this blog was still fresh in 2006 I wrote 6 entries about my time spent at the Gloucester County Camp in 2006. Eventually it merged into the longest entry on this blog and is simply called GlosCamp. Four years and many, many posts later I have attended GlosCamp 2010.

Last time I attended as Service Crew and between meals was able to get upto some mild antics, this time I attended as Staff and had more responsibilities and less freetime so this post will be short. For GlosCamp 2010 I edited and designed the daily camp newsletter called The Gloscamper. The newsletter needed a name since I didn’t want it to have long website address adding an “er” to the end kept it fairly short and still Newlettery.

To produce this fantastical newsletter I was joined by the brilliant and decorous Helen, we were a brilliant team and once we had a full arsenal of equipment we were legendary.

For the first issue there wasn’t much material floating around so the letter was quickly thrown together (I didn’t even justify the text) with content from myself, Matt (one of the organisers) and the Leader of the Danish Contingent.
(The Danes have a long history with the North Cotswold District dating back to 1985 it was their turn I believe to visit us so they were invited to coincide with the grandest event available.)

On the next day Helen appeared so more content could be generated and organised so a folded A4 booklet was made. Unfortunately we were using a very nasty HP printer that stopped every few pages and required a panel be opened and closed to continue! When we finally managed to get enough copies of the second issue out Helen and I literally walked half the site handing out the Paper and as the sun was setting put her tent up. Then completed the distribution in the dark seeing a lot of gateways decorated with twinkling candlelight.

Not wanting another printing fiasco I managed to get Lesley Herbert’s amazing HP 4050 printer going, I tell you it was more than double the effectiveness of the HP 2200 we had been using :P. At this point we were still struggling for excess content so generating articles slowed us down a bit, but rather than distribution at 21:30 the faster printing allowed us to get newsletters out at 8pm.

I think it was Tuesday when the Newsletter was finally getting an audience, we had the record 22 different people come in with cameras to copy over photos and several young Scouts writing articles. Somehow despite their young age their writing sometimes read better than that from Explorers, difference being the Scouts simply wrote what they wanted and the Explorers tried to show off to no avail!

The next few issues had a lot of momentum behind them making them get distributed earlier and earlier which was great as we both got to attend the camp-fire promptly on the Thursday.

Friday was difficult. Helen had absconded to Cardiff and I had the intention of making 2 issues today, one for the closing ceremony and one for the next morning’s departure. However, without Helen and the need to make a Photo montage I didn’t quite make it. The video got made and was shown on loop with its rather awesome Trance soundtrack and the newsletter along with remastered back issues went out in the morning with the departure rush.

Of the 6 issues I think #4 is my favourite but the best frontpage belongs to to the last day (Friday the Thirteenth!) You can see all issues on the gloscamper download page.

3 Districts, 2 Counties, 1 shirt sleeve!

On Thursday I was walking my dog Oscar when I bumped into my local GSL, we got chatting about what they get upto and how the group was doing in my relatively new housing estate. The three youngest sections have been filled for the last 2-3 years so I’ve keenly been waiting for the Scouts to mature into a fine Explorer blend.

I’ve been really looking forward to this because the beginning of my career has not been as rewarding as I need so I’ve been strictly following the super-secret[1] ninth Scout Law: “A Scout is Thrifty” and being selective in what I commit to. I’ve been helping at a Explorer Unit for the better part of a year now, its been good and I’ve learnt a lot but I’ve not been very dedicated to it, with a local group I don’t have to worry about the cost of travel, I can walk/ride there every Thursday so I can make a greater commitment.

What I really like about this is apart from the 4-5 year old practically new and good condition equipment is we’ll be starting starting everything fresh. With everything blank we’ll have the first meeting sorted trying to create an identity, what do we call ourselves and the up and coming generations? Eagles, Panthers, Stags, Cobras? (My Scout Patrol names) or go for something abstract like Viking, Ayers or Solar? Its going to be very exciting!

However this raises the considerably minor problem; I’d be then working in 3 Districts in 2 Counties, I already have a a lot of badges on my right sleeve I can’t put them all on there! I could have separate shirts for each Unit but thats 3 times as much Ironing, not to mention how hard it was getting one new set of badges for my new Uniform I brought especially for Gang Show this year, let alone three!

I expect there are several people in multi-district Cities that don’t really mind that their badges are either wrong 1 or 2 times a week or just have the county badge on their right arm, but I spend the majority of my time in Northamptonshire and do some Scouting in Buckinghamshire a whole other county, I can’t even be unspecific about my district!

I’m not so keen on being right but now that I am taking on a greater commitment I want to show a greater dedication, even if it is just a 2 inch patch on my arm. As far as volunteers go Scouters (and Guiders) are very passionate about what we do so I imagine I’m not the first to deal with this sort of quandary, how do you show your involvement?

  1. * Actually its not really a super secret its one of the original 9 Scout Laws.

Buckinghamshire Centenary Camp

Many moons ago a Buckinghamshire Guide Unit, Hughenden Valley Guides asked for my assistance leading at the Scouting Centenary Camp in Bucks. I quite happily accepted the offer for 2 reasons; the most important being ‘fun’ and the second as a tale for afterdark on a Scout camp in the future.

The weekend started of a little breezy but calmed down on the Saturday morning. A first point of order was to erect an entrance gate, I was to supervise the Guides performing this activity. What I didn’t expect was to have to teach the Guides how to tie knots! Apparently this troop had performed all sorts of outdoor pursuits like climbing and kayaking but were never taught basic knot tying. Despite this they put to use lashings and clove hitches quite well to construct a sturdy pyramid gate which they later decorated in multicolour camouflage netting they’d made prior to the event.

There was a small multi-ethnic concert in the evening along with a gigantic necker presumably constructed from all the neckers in a particular local, I couldn’t really hear :(. But it looked good non-the-less.

Sunday turned out to be one heck of a day, the weather just went from bad to worse. Tents that had been put up sufficiently started leaning over and had to be strictly re-pegged to stop from flying away. Other campers were not so lucky as we saw more than 1 hike tent make like a tumble-weed in the gale force winds.

At some point it became obvious that we couldn’t last out the storm and started making preparations to send the girls home. There would be no quick escapes and we eventually hid out in the miniature fiesta tent we dined in.

With the onsite activities quickly packing up, or in some cases closing down boredom and unhappiness became infectious so entertainment had to be jury rigged in a limited environment with little apparatus. Combining a beach ball weighted down in the corner with a wall made of the girl’s camp ‘buckets’ dividing the tent in two I improvised a volley ball tournament. This kept everyone occupied for a lot longer than I expected and next moved onto verbal games and then some right out of the Guiding handbook.

As the afternoon pressed on the rain started to breach the tent and any pen and paper games quickly went out the window, actually it was through the walls but that doesn’t really matter. Majority of the girls had been picked up by this point so the remaining girls and I moved to a smaller tent to wait. With the area too small to move I grabbed my book (you should always have playing cards and a book on camp) to read to the girls. Usually I’d have the Douglas Adams classic, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with me but with the highly acclaimed Order of the Phoenix AND the final book; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows due out this summer I was re-reading my way through all the books and was upto Chamber of Secrets.

We each took turns reading a chapter, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to read aloud with it being so long since I’ve had to read anything in public, although saying that I had done a lot of speaking in public since they which has obviously helped as I read through Chapter 1 without any major trips.

As we read through the book the winds continued to gush and the rain to blanket down, the numbers remaining dropped and soon it was just the leaders to pack up the remaining 3 tents and leave for a hot drink at Mary’s Cottage, the troops intrepid Leader home.

Despite the hardship I certainly enjoyed the weekend, I grew as a person as I better understand the Guiding dynamic and the inherent pitfalls of hands-on leading. So I say a big thank you to Hughenden Valley Guides and I hope we can do it again something similar in the future.

Equality

Gloucestershire police force could face a “flood” of compensation claims after it admitted illegally rejecting white male job applicants.

By trying to enforce ethnic minority representation to professions are we not infact shifting the focus from the majority which should have the focus to the minority? A reverse racism if you will, removing ‘white’ people because a larger diversity is required, surely this isn’t democratic? A small number of people have a large say because they are a slight minority?. Why can’t it just be the best or most suitable person for the right job?

Surely for race to not be an issue in any way, shape or form it shouldn’t matter, no more of this “to ensure equal opportunities we would like you to answer the following questions on religion, race etc” if it really doesn’t matter then we shouldn’t have to keep statistics on it. Okay it might help in 100 years or give Guinness an easier job of working out things like who was the First woman space tourist but I would be happier with not knowing who was the first/last/next person to do anything and a person’s race not being mentioned and thus the best person for the job getting it.

It is unfortunate that somehow the idea to increase ethnic minorities in Gloucester Police was raised and that the encouragement to be equally representative wasn’t dismissed because of the fear of being labelled racist towards minorities, instead now we are not allocating representative of the majority which in this country is caucasian despite the growing influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

Perhaps if there weren’t as many scandals with negative results negative actions wouldn’t cascade through procedure and result in similar events?

Full Original Article: Force may face ‘flood’ of claims

GlosCamp

The Gloucester County Camp

Day 0

Admittedly I’m only a few hours into the day but last night was a bit of a giggle, Derek and I had a rendezvous at Mary’s so we could get an early start today (that and the opportunity of hang out for an evening 😉 First order of business; Food. After a tad of coaxing Mary relented and gave in to using the impromptu griddle, its pretty nifty and tripod suspended free hanging griddle over a log fire, awesome.

Dampa Bread, Sausage, Burger (veggie and regular) mostly vegetable kebabs and onions. Seriously the setup is the stuff that dreams are made off, a smouldering fire with camp and deck chairs surrounding it. With no canopy overhead we got to see the evening sky turn a yellow, orange and red and finally a deep regal blue.

We sat talking about whatever crossed our minds ranging from ‘that hot young captain of the Enterprise’ to ‘I think the Clones in Star Wars had families’ with a game of digital yatzee here and there.

Leanne had a spout at making some cocktails, she made 2, haven’t a clue what they were called, the first one was extremely strong causing most to gag and the second a much improved smooth pineapple which I would’ve happily trade in my Snakebite and Black for.

That’s all so far and depending on whether or not there is a net connection at my desk in the media centre I might be able to drop a few more updates.