Skillz Camp

At the beginning of December, our Troop takes on the challenge of collecting all the skills they want to practise, myths the want to solve and fullhearted adventure they wish to wish to prepare for into one camp. It's called Skills Camp. We never wanted to dismiss any skills development that youth wanted to explore during our brainstorming sessions. So we build a camp around that pot pourri of skills. 

Our first year doing the camp, we had a few items on the list of Skills our Scouts wanted to try out. 

List 2014:

  • Shelter building
  • Drone flying
  • Being a sniper
  • Bake a cake

So the camp we used, gave us access to their kitchen, range and had plenty of fallen trees to build some shelters. It was a relaxed camp with tons of opportunities to be curious and to experiment with items our Scouts wanted to try out. 

List 2015

  •  Fire starting without matches
  • Canned food cooking
  • 102 things to do with your knife
  • Rustic cabin accommodations

2016 skillz camp really go the ball rolling. Gave us a chance to perfect and experiment once more with some new skills. Older youth were able to transfer some of their knowledge this time. 

List 2016

  • Chop a tree down with an axe or saw
  • Full survival camping
  • Dutch oven cooking
  • small and big shelters
  • Making bread
  • Trapping
  • Lightweight camping
  • Lashing / Build some furniture
  • Edible plants and wildlife.

This camp got to be more interesting. And our troop number have double since the past other years. So with some creative work, we offered two series for the Skillz camp. Survivalist series and the Voyageurs series. Scouts had to pick one of them for the weekend. Each with specific skills development, though some series did have some items that we were able to duplicate.

Camp Started on Friday night and ended Sunday early afternoon. Both Teams met at the lodge for their first night of sleep. Starting Saturday morning, each team went their separate ways with only the items on their back for their adventure. 

Survivalist series
This group would hike to a beach area, and start collecting materials to build fire and shelters. They also got to set up snares, and collect some food for consumption later. Due to some fowl weather. We had to help our Scouts out a bit.  Focussing on a one pot meal, Scouts had to balance water boiling and cooking their dinner at the same time. They made sure they had prepared enough water for the day, then started cooking whether they snared. We placed rabbit carcasses on their traps. From their veggie hunt, they manage to collect some potatoes and carrots and a few other items. Rabbit stew was on the menu! Most of their day was building the shelters they were going to sleep in that night. Many different shelters were built. For breakfast the next morning , the Scouts had oatmeal and left over stew, packed up and headed back to base camp. 

 

Les Voyageur. 
Having access to a canoe, the Voyageurs Scouts got to be a bit more frivolous. The portages a canoe and their gear to the site, also on a beached campsite. First , we split into job teams. We needed fire and a work space. We collected wood and spars that we could use for our site, got the fire going and built a table that we can do food prep on. We introduced some basic lashings to help build the table. Fire is going and we now have a table,  More jobs to be done, cooking lunch and collecting wood to build our shelter. The Scouts decided on building an Adirondack shelter where they can all fit in it for the night.  So we chopped some dead trees and cleaned some deadfall to build our castle. The task did seem a bit impossible at first, we needed lots of wood to complete our task. But as Scouters , we were simply happy to see them working hard, collecting all this wood and doing it safely. Lunch was a vegetable soup made form scratch with fresh bread cooked int he dutch oven, dinner was foil meals with apple crumble in the dutch oven. Breakfast was mountain man, every breakfast food baked in the Dutch oven. Scouts took turns to help chop veggies and any of the food prep tasks. They all managed to sleep in the shelter that night. Scouters slept in their tents back at camp. Leaving our Scouts the site they built to them selves. 

Sum it up.

So my neighbour asked me how was my week off!?

Our first response to that question would tell the person if you had a good week or not.  I could see someone answering something about the weather; “It was hot” or “It rained “. Since I was camping, I would see some people talk about the Bugs or cramped living quarters. Oh and lets not forget the food. Despite everything, we often as humans focus on more of what went wrong, than what went well. You may have accomplished 100 things in a day, 99 of them went well, guess which one you talk about at the dinner table first.  

But these items were not the ones racing through my mind as I was thinking up of an answer. This Jamboree was exceptional, we had good food, we had amazing program activities and we got to socialize with hordes of fellow Scouts! When we showed up at activity stations, we were welcomed and shown possibilities. It was a typical camp for us, simply extended. Weather was challenging, food always brought fun conversations like:” what to do with all these Bananas or 8L of milk !? Thats what happens at all may camps! But I couldn't just say "it was another camp!?"

So maybe I talk about the people I was with. A rag tag bunch of Scouters with each their own super powers and the youth who are in my mind the heros of this adventure. It’s tough for a youth to be placed out of their comfort zone, shipped to a different province and expected to think this is all normal. Our Scouts took on this challenge and truly shined. We cramped them in a train for 24hours, and not one of them complained, yes, sleeping was difficult, but we are Scouts, we sleep in tents, Quinzees, on bedrock , small shelters and under the stars. First thought for my Troop was that they can check another fun spot that they manage to sleep in. Train made them bond even more, 6 in a seat for two, chatting about their upcoming adventures, singing camp songs, and creating their banners of Canadian Jamboree. Once at the jamboree, every day we averaged 25,000 steps a day. Getting our food, or getting to our programs. For most morning we woke up around 5:30am-6am. (With the time diff, that made it tough for some.) 

It was key, that we made sure our Youth felt safe and had a great time, every time I spotted a tired or sad face, like many Scouters on the team, we simply walked over, offered a high five and reassured that Scout. Where we sometimes see weakness, as Scouters, we see potential for growth. Giving these youth to expand their abilities and explore their shortcomings as some thing they can do better. I’m always amazed, because this growth will not only occur from a supportive Scouter, but through genuine interactions with their fellow Scouts. #SPICES

My fellow Scouters on this trip completed this adventure, supporting each other, always ready to help, dig, cook, clean, poke fun or to rise our youth out of the”Mud”.  Yeah, we may have forgotten a few things back in Ottawa, and the mud was exceptionally… muddy. But nothing was stoping us, we would figure it out. And we would do it with a vigour and passion that could only come from the devotion in wanting to make this one heck of an awesome adventure for our youth and for ourselves. Our careful eyes were always to the youth we are serving as volunteers, I always said, it’s a privilege to work with other people kids. These precious Scouts are part of our community, and a parent willingly entrust them in our care to help provide for them those key life skills that are even more important today for a young person to develop. I guess thats why we took tonnes of selfies and shared them to the masses. Not only showcasing that we are being successful in what we are accomplishing, but giving a wink to the parents that everything is “ok”, letting them join in the fun. And to also help those Scouters / Parent volunteers who were left behind, to know that their hard work, support and devotion brought us here and that they can also see those exceptional moments that they created for us on this adventure. 

As Scouters,  we devoted lots of time to ensuring that this event will be not less than exemplary. I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished. It took 2 years for us to refine and make this trip come to life. Kudos all-around.  

So knowing that a Jamboree and the people I had the trip with would not make sense to my Neighbour, I thought of what were highlights of things that I enjoyed doing… Gave me a chance to use my super camera, between myself and with the help of some the Scouts, I now have over 2000 photos on my computer about this trip alone. (Sad news: My camera has officially died after 12 years). I went fishing! I got to eat 3 balanced meals a day. I got to use my tent that I have had for over 20 years. I laughed, omg did I laugh. I got to see some amazing fireworks. I got in better shape for this trip. My coffee was ready every morning and when it was not, I took pride in being the one to make it. Sheesh, put that way, you would think I stayed in a resort.  It was all inclusive. 😜

So,  I was in Nova Scotia, took the train there, had smoke meat in Montreal, tonnes of laughter, hung out with passionate people, had the privilege to be with some awesome youth, Selfie galore, Hiking in new spots, Ice cream, Fishing, small meatballs, Bacon every second morning, ate lobster, letting youth be the free spirits that they deserve to be, pizza Party, Potato famine, shared the tale of our group crest (including our fancy ghost crest), adults had the space to become a kid again, watched a cannon go boom @ noon, had great Coffee, I gave out a "Je parle Français" badge to a deserving man, fish & chips, an amazing bowl of Seafood chowder, found every Starbucks in Halifax, traded badges, insta-deserts, Breaking the Morrison curse, shook hands with great Scouters from across the country, made my own cotton candy, used a 360 camera, heard some great bagpipe music and the Kevin's .

How do I sum all of this up!? In a few words??  How do I define all of this!? 

So, I simply answered my Neighbour? “ We got to be our true selves for a week.” And those are truly the best vacations.  =)

A Jamboree...

Very shortly, a large portion of our Scout troop will take the Train to begin our next adventure!  We are going to a Jamboree, The Canadian Jamboree! It's being held at camp Nedooae, in Nova Scotia. Over 5,000 participants and volunteers are expected. 

A Jamboree is defined as a large celebration or party, typically a lavish and boisterous one. How appropriate that in Scouting we use this term for our most massive scouting gatherings. All camping in one well coordinated spot. 

 So many tents!!! 

So many tents!!! 

Our youth, throughout this week long adventure, will experience many things. Firstly, the value of hard work, for almost 2 years our Troop has been preparing and fundraising for this event. We all worked hard to get here.

Secondly, connections, not only will they bond together as an elite bunch of Scouts, but they will also meet and share with Scouts from all over our country and beyond! Jamboree's and camping are Scoutings Social network! ;-)

IMG_3036.JPG

Thirdly, trying something new, exploring the NS wilderness helps give the setting of some new flavors for our Troop to discover. Even traveling to the Jamboree will be a new experience, taking the train for almost 20hours will for sure help the Scouts bond and experience something very unique. Combined with the hard work performed by the CJ program team, our Scouts will be playing some new activities that they themselves have selected to accomplish during the week. 

Needless to say, this will be a highlight for many of them, the ultimate summer camp.

So off we go..

 

Scouter Marc

Our final Parent and Scout meeting

On the agenda

  • Pre-camp Summary [Marc]
  • Packing Tips & Spending Money [Marc]
  • Paperwork & Permissions [Karen]
  • Safety Cards  [Brian/Darwin]
  • The Talk  [Marc]
  • Travel Logistics [Train Marc, Flights Darwin]
  • Budget [Jacki]
  • Important Dates / What’s left to come? [Jacki]
  • Question Period [Marc]
  • Hand-out buffs & t-shirts, trading badges

Highlights of our meeting included some very important messages about departure times, packing list, how to successfully go through security and getting "The Talk".

 

Preparing for our Adventure

Since February 2016, our Scouts has dreamed of the fun they will be having at the Canadian Jamboree. We have fundraised , prepared and practised all the skills required to hopefully have an awesome time with Scouts from all over Canada! 

 

Our Scouts dedicated lots of time to fundraise of their Jamboree adventure! Over $10,000 was raised to help our 36 Participants to go to the event!

 Cooking in record time!!! #newskills

Cooking in record time!!! #newskills

 Program selection

Program selection

 Indigo Fundraiser

Indigo Fundraiser

Everything we planned helped us get ready! Plan-Do-Review really helped!

Patrol Challenge - Rogue One

In anticipation of the upcoming Star Wars movie. Our Troop converted an old school Scouting game into something a bit more appropriate to be played in a Galaxy far, far away.

We designated a central meeting spot: The Rebel base. At the Base one Scout from each patrol will be left behind to be the “Droid”. Droid gets 6 pages to draw on and a Pencil.
On each trail N_S_W_E , we used trails, but you can use end of a field or any other big game surface. An image or two has been placed on different ends of the path, we had 6 images in total.  Scouts must find the images and remember as much details as possible, and bring back the info to their appropriate Droid. Droid will draw what the Scout brings back. No one can draw but the Droid. 

As Scouts run back an forth, they maybe captured by the Empire (The Scouters). If caught, Empire can lock on the Rebel base, and slowly walks the Scout back to the base. Unless the Scout can answer a Riddle correctly, tie knot properly or answer any SW /Scouting trivia that Scouters may think of, we call it using a Jedi Mind Trick.. If the Scouts are walked back to the Rebel base, their Droids memory will get erased, aka we rip a page off their pad, one hopefully with drawings on it. 

First patrol to get all drawings correct wins!

To help the Rebels, they can use a code to get pass the Empire Sentries.  It’s an older code, but it checks out. The Rebel base will have the code written in a language they must decipher, Patrols must decode it, to use it.  

 "It's an older code, but it checks out."

"It's an older code, but it checks out."

Scouters gave the code an expiry time, youth did not know when the code would expire. We gave them two codes, first one lasted 10mins, second 5mins. 

Communication skills and Planning were the keys to this Patrol challenge. The troop had a blast, give it a try, may the force be with you!

We made a video!

LARP camp 2015

Plan
-Where are awe going to do this camp. 
-What is the name of the land we live in? What the name of the town? Name of the Tavern in the town?
-What is your character !? What clothing does the character wear? 
-How do you earn coin?  Side quests ?
-What are coins used for? 
-How does a battle work?
-Whats on the menu in the Tavern?
-Whats our safety plan!?
-What are the skills needed to be successful in this adventure?

Here is what our Scouts came up with? 

Needed:
Coins = Poker chips
Dices
Pouches = Leather fabric to make pouches ( a few weeks before camp)


Coins:
-Every player starts with 8 coins
-If you win a 1 on 1 Battle, you roll a dice, the number you get on your roll is what you have to pay the other player.
-Meals cost 3 coins
-Sleeping in village (Using a tent), costs 10 coins.


Some terminology
-Camp site = Village -> village was a no fighting zone. Everyone was safe in the village.
-Kitchen area = Tavern in the village
-Camp = The land
-Outhouses = The Throne


How a 1 on 1 battle worked.
-If you touch another player out of the village and shout “I challenge thee!” Battle begins.
-Players can hit each other with foam weapons only. If a limb is hit, you loose that limb. example, your hit on the right leg, must only hop with left leg. Get hit on right arm, you loose using that arm. If you get touched on both legs, you were on your knees. 
-Fighting is mostly for play. Battle is won by rolling the dice. 
-Dice roll: you roll a dice, the number you get on your roll is what you have to pay the other player.
-You cannot challenge the same player for atleast an hour.
Hint: Shields make it tougher for someone to hit your limb. Armour doesn’t count.


Side Quests (optional):
-Rescue at the Tower : Climbing wall, for every completed climb, Scout gets 2 coins
-Escort the Magistrate: Magistrate gets in trouble often, needs an armed escort to help him hike over to his favourite spot safely. 4 coins each escort.
-Cartographer needed: Best and most accurate drawn map of the land gets 10 coins.
-Archery completion: For every balloon pope , archer gets 1 coin.
-The arena: Sunday, a large circle of rope wast laid down for Heres to challenge other heres to 1 on 1 battles. A bet was made, challengers would each place 5 coins in a pot, winner that bested the other wins the all the coins. 
This battle was judged by villagers (Venturers). And had an arbiter, same limb loss rule. But once you lost all 4 limbs, you lost the battle. 


Big Quest (Not optional)
-Zombie attacks  the village. Heroes must fend off zombies (Venturers) from invading the village. Zombies will kill you from their touch (2 coins to get back in the game). You must get their 3 tails off to kill the zombie, if Zombie dies, they collapse to the ground. Other zombies can bring fallen zombies to life with spare tails. Talismans can be found near the village to help you not die on the first touch. (Exchange talisman for life) Zombies will go back to their slumber if all 5 picks of Magical tablet has been restored. (faces pieces of styrofoam combined together makes a protective tablet) For every pice of tablet returned, hero gets 5 coins.

-Find and capture Mort the Horrible: Venturer with 3 flags on her back is deadly if touches you. (3 coin fine) But if you pull one of here flags, if returned to magistrate, you receive 6 coins. If you get all 3, you receive 25 coins!


Things that came out of review
-Knee pads are good for battles if you loose both legs. Saves your knees.
-Zombie quest was tough
-More arene challenges
-Need to introduce spells in next LARP camp. Blue coin for life. Blue coin for Shield removal. Blue coin for Freezing
-Quests helped for getting coins. Also to gather Scouts who have been roaming for a few hours.
-Research and build our own foam weapons!
-Food was great! Thanks Venturers!
-Better bug protection. Black flies were brutal!