‘Despicable Me’ challenges pupils in Winter Camp Bushcraft
Perse pupil Isabel Painter (Year 10) gives an insight into the vast range of activities on offer at this year’s PES winter camp
On the day after the arrival of the main troop, one of the first activities for the students to get stuck into was the Bushcraft. One of the main aims of Bushcraft was to get students to a higher CTCS (cutting tools competency scheme) level allowing students to use knives and other cutting tools on camp. By the end of camp almost all the students got their level one red bands or higher (allowing them to use a companion or survival knife), which is exceedingly impressive.
In bushcraft, students had a wide variety of masterclasses available including firelighting, pioneering, carving, and backwoods cooking (including baking in dutch ovens), and camouflage and concealment led. One of our favourite sessions was ‘pioneering’ in which a set of ten or so students were sent off with an instructor to learn basic knots such as square lashings and clove hitches, and then to pull all of their individual parts together to form a working Zipwire, or Camouflage and Concealment. As this was a training camp, there was a strong emphasis on the basics. After this the students on Bushcraft had a hearty meal of on camp cooked Hog roast, with apple sauce and stuffing in a bun.
While half the troop was doing bushcraft, the other half were in sections doing Archery Tag or Orienteering in preparation for longer hikes in the future. Archery Tag is usually one of the favourite activities on camp, being a fun and active way to liven up the day. Orienteering was another successful activity this year, especially as we had new electronic kit which would measure your exact time distance and helped us pick our deserved winner for orienteering on camp, which was Wyverns patrol.
For many people on camp the highlight was the ‘Despicable Me’ widegame on the last evening of camp. This involved everyone on camp and was the result of much planning. Students had to complete bases, such as a dancing base where the students had to perform a dance to music for the leader on the base and then receive puzzle pieces so that they could create a map to find and rescue their kidnapped Bear, avoiding the Year 10s who acting as the evil purple minions. They had full reign of the site, and everyone enjoyed running around in the dark. Much fun was had by all with the Water section finally emerging triumphant.
Pack down on Monday was achieved remarkably quickly with 250 or so very tired children then free to return home after a wonderful and ready good fun weekend together.