|9 years, 8 months ago Andrew Phelps wrote:
BSN have just returned from their May bank holiday camp – The first of its kind where all the hubs were invited to stay in the well-equipped Belchamps Scout Activity Center. Thanks to some careful advance planning, we were able to share in one large site, with loads of space for all hubs to camp together, have our own big camp fires and even a wood lodge to cook and eat in (however un-scouty this may be, it definitely beats feeding 25 people from small stoves, and provided us with good cover for those times when the weather decided it didn’t like us).
The weekend marked the first outing of the newly created Chiltern Network, having consolidated two smaller hubs into one for ease of management, as well as a rebrand. Despite many members already being in attendance, we’re still happy to welcome Chiltern Network to BSN.
Other new shinies appearing this weekend were the brand new sail flags – An idea long in the making which has finally come to fruition, and despite many production stalls and problems along the way, we managed to get them made and delivered in time to display them proudly on site.
The first night being fairly uneventful (lots of arrivals and relaxing by the fire), the weekend began in earnest on Saturday. After a welcome fry up breakfast, everybody made their way around the large Belchamps activity center to their assault course.
Suffice to say when you provide a bunch of Networkers with an opportunity to throw themselves (and each other) around a muddy assault course, splashing through puddles (some deeper than expected) they will not disappoint.
What started as a simple challenge to get around soon became timed races, finishing with a dexterity challenge (or who can get their cup of muddy water around without spilling it).
Congratulations go to Marianne, who obviously didn’t want to waste a drop of her refreshing drink.
A short breather and we moved on to the pedal cars and after some <ahem> maintenance. We began a series of intense, high octane races around a course which, mysteriously, kept changing on each lap. This mystery has yet to be solved.
After a champion had been crowned, we grabbed a spot of lunch, and then worked it all off beating each other with foam paddles or on the bungee run – A deceptively difficult challenge that brings out the faces of hope, strain, panick and ultimately, defeat among all those who attempt it. Although no animals were hurt this weekend, some Networkers did sustain minor bruising while being yanked backwards down the run.
The rain called a quick end to our activities for the day (running down an inflatable course while a bungee rope pulls you back is hard enough when its dry!) and everybody soon settled down at camp to sleep, throw some frisbee, spin some fire, or simply relax by the campfire until relaxing became unconsciousness.
Sunday was altogether different. A cryptic clue about having a full mobile phone battery was all we had to go on, as all of BSN were placed on a morning train to Southend-on-Sea, where ‘instructions would follow’. Sure enough, on arrival each time of 3-4 (carefully mixed between hubs) was sent a clue on their phones, the answer to which lay somewhere in town, and had to be sent back before another task was set. In a brilliantly well planned challenge that saw us not only walk almost every street, path and staircase (!) in Southend, from churches to casinos, amusement parks to even the top floor of the library, each team had to race to not only get to each location in time, but to work out the answers and complete the challenge in a shorter time than the rest. While some groups took it more seriously than others. Only those who could mix fast googling with good memory, an eye for detail and the endurance to keep walking (and walking, and walking) would emerge victorious.
The day culminated in our return to the camp, where the county team had produced a very welcome roast dinner (with all trimmings!) for the weary travellers. All that remained was to announce the winners of the day’s challenges, which included a fancy dress competition in the evening. Note – some costumes featured considerably more effort than others while others were simply inappropriate.
We broke camp on Monday morning, allowing everyone a nice breather and a well deserved lie-in before we left. A thoroughly exhausting and fun weekend having been had by all. BSN as a whole owes thanks to our CSNC Lindsay for organising it all, as well as Andy, Iain, and Courtney for all the effort that went into planning and executing the event.
We look forward to doing it all again next year!