PES Summit 10 – training camp
16 Oct 2015
On 9 October, the Summit 10 troop embarked on their first camp of the year – Training Camp. This initial camp tested the whole troop in aspects of teamwork and effective communication, after only that week having finalised the Fires; the camp groups. Fire Leader, George Palozzi, has written an account of the weekend’s events.
“On Friday, an early start was called at the school reception at 0800 sharp. A quick kit check and efficient loading of equipment led to an energetic start on the bus, which finally lead us to our destination, Linnet Clough scout camp in the heart of the Peak District. After arriving, Mr Parker took the Fire Leaders and an additional member of each Fire to set off to the local supermarket to buy food for each Fire. Back at camp, the remaining members of the troop set up our two-man tents for the members of their own Fire, along with the setup of HQ tent.
After regrouping back at camp, the members of each Fire took part in three rotating exercises; first aid, navigation and a small scale orienteering exercise. The first aid rotation, taken by Miss Large and Mr Gillet, included one of each Fire pretending to have an injury, while the other members aided them. Dr Davies took navigation in the HQ tent, showing the troop how to hold a compass properly, master bearings and improve their map skills and technique. The final activity was orienteering, where each Fire took charge of their own map and was tasked to find small posts of letters planted around the campsite. Here the troop had to use key information on the map such as contours. After finishing the rotation exercises, each Fire returned to their dedicated tenting area to start their dinner on their gas stoves, which allowed them to cook their food for the first night.
After waking and cooking their own breakfast the next morning, lunch was prepared for the hike; a 18km navigation exercise that tested each Fire, physically and mentally, on their teamwork and communication. Finally, after everyone reached the halfway checkpoint (only one Fire managed to get lost on the way!), the whole troop stopped for a prepared packed lunch to regain energy. Not long after, each Fire was given one radio for themselves; the staff would no longer accompany each Fire on their return home, following a different route from the first. Each Fire could no longer rely on a supervisor to step in. However, each group stepped up and found their way back to Linnet Clough campsite, with Bear Fire to be the first ones back, and Moose the last.
After a rest back at the campsite, half of the troop went climbing, while the other half stayed behind for team exercises. Mr Parker took the climbers away to the designated climbing area, where he had the responsibility to set up the routes on the real rock where that group would be climbing. A busy crag meant that there was limited choice of routes, but all still had great fun attempting all the routes that they could.
Back at camp, the remaining troop completed team exercises, such as setting up a tent while blindfolded, with only two commanders per group, and an exercise where each group had to balance a tent pole on just their fingers, and try and bring it to the ground, which proved more difficult than expected! The climbers returned back to camp and everyone started to cook their dinner, yet again improving their teamwork skills. After dinner, the group reformed, where everyone wished Flo, Lizzie, and Miss Large a happy birthday and enjoyed a small slice of cake before heading off to bed.
The next morning saw an early start of 0600 for some, due to some members of the group leaving the campsite early to go climbing. A quick breakfast and an already packed bed helped the process run smoothly. Once again Mr Parker took the group out to the crag, waking us up with some heavy rock music played loudly through the minibus. The group arrived to find an empty crag, unlike the previous day, and so got a full choice of routes to climb. Back at the campsite, tents and equipment were being taken down and loaded into the van, then leaving to meet the first group at the canoe lake. The whole troop met up and got changed into more water suitable clothing, and then completed two different exercises. One of them was rescues, where the group practiced throwing the throw bags at one another, imagining a real situation in which you needed to pull someone through the water back to safety. They then completed this same exercise in the very cold canoe lake, where many were reluctant to get cold and wet, but braved through it and jumped in, being pulled back by their partner.
The second exercise was canoeing around the lake, and then doing canoe rescues, simulating if someone was to fall out of their canoe. The person still in the canoe had the tough job of trying to counterbalance the boat in order to compensate for the other person trying to get back into the boat, which ran successfully overall, although one pair managed to fill the boat with water, where Miss Robins had to come to the rescue, taking the boat back to shore tied to her own canoe.
After packing all the canoes back onto the trailer and the storage containers, and all got changed back into suitable clothes, and a small hill climb ended the trip for the troop, who found the coach waiting at the top, ready to return home.
After arriving back at the OPC, the Fires unpacked the vans and the returned the equipment, hanging up the slightly damp tents. After a final group up, the staff was thanked for all their help, and the troop was dismissed.”