Hastings Explorers Easter Camp

4-10th April 2015

We set off about 8.30am from Falaise road once we had loaded the mini buses with luggage, some of the explorers must have thought we were going for month not a week the size of their bags! The weather was over cast with a bit of drizzle in the air. We arrived at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity centre near Beaulieu in the New Forest on Saturday around 2pm after a brief stop in Arundel for coffee for the leaders and a toilet stop for the Explorers. It didn’t take the explorers long to unpack their bags, sort out which bunk bed they wanted and to change out of their uniform so once they had finished their lunch they were set the challenge of a Orienteering course around the camp-site. The afternoon went quickly and before long it was time for dinner, Spaghetti bolognese and Fruit pie and custard for dessert. After the duty patrol had finished tidying up we had an evening of board games, card games and a Quiz. Cocoa followed before bed time about 11pm.

On Sunday after a good nights sleep (well for some of us, others were very excited about the camp and didn’t go to sleep until the early hours) we had breakfast of cereal and sausage, egg and beans. After breakfast we had went down to the assault course and in our teams had a relay to see who was the fastest over and around the 11 obstacles. We had 3 attempts the first time was around the 2min 30sec mark but as we went on the times got quicker as they realised team work was needed to get everyone over the 2metre wall the quickest time of the day was 1min 50sec.

Lunch comprised home made vegetable soup and roll along with fruit. In the afternoon we split into two groups one done raft building and the other gladiator challenge on the high ropes before switching over. In the evening we had a lovely Roast Pork dinner with roast potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and apple sauce followed by meringue fruit and ice cream.

After dinner we set up the projector for those who wanted to watch a film whilst others played cards in their rooms or relaxed. After a few technical glitches we got the film sorted and they decided to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller. We finished off with Cocoa then went to bed.

Monday was another day on-site so for breakfast we had cereal, scrambled egg and bacon accompanied with muffins before starting the days activities. In the morning with the weather improving and sun shining, Bob and I organised a team race on the pedal go-kart track sadly there were only 4 kart’s so had to do a time trial on a team by team basis. Once that was completed we then offered a single time trial and only a dozen wanted to participate so the rest went back to the lodge the fastest time was 22 seconds by Richard.

After a brief lunch of pizza and salad the afternoon activities began so we separated into our two groups again one done the leap of faith and the other crate stacking before swapping over. In the evening we ate sweet and sour chicken with rice followed by home made spotted dick and ice cream before having board games and a quiz. We finished off about 9.30pm and all had an early night as tomorrow was going to be a long day.

On Tuesday the leaders woke up the explorers about 7am some coming to breakfast looking like they were still asleep. We had cereal, eggy bread and spaghetti hoops before meeting back in the hall ready to leave for the days activity at 9.30am. Surprising they were all ready to get on the minibuses and we set off for New Forest Activities at Baileys Hard just down the road in Beaulieu. When we arrived we were greeted by the instructors split into our two groups. One group kitted up with cycle helmets, got a mountain bike to match their size and head off for a ride around the local area whilst the other group were briefed for the kayaking down the River Beaulieu. My group cycled up to the end of the track within 25minutes and decided to cycle along the road and head back towards Beaulieu. On the way we passed a road sign showing St Leonards we wanted to go there but sadly time was against us and had to head back for lunch.

We then swapped over for the first part of the afternoon where my group went kayaking. We got down to river and Sam decided he wanted to see how cold the water was but wasn’t phased by it. We got in our Canadian style kayaks and began paddling towards the town. After manoeuvring up a small inlet and padding past a lots of millionaires properties with their own golf course, swimming pool or their own pontoon with yacht is was time to head back to base. Whilst we were canoeing the other group went for a more relaxed cycle ride than my group and ended up stopping off for an Ice Cream each courtesy of Bob. The weather couldn’t have been any nicer and made the day much more enjoyable.

About 2.30pm we all met back up had refreshments and a brief rest before it was blue team versus red team at Battle zone. We all kitted up with overalls and head bands with sensors attached, briefed for safety purposes then issued our lazer guns before commencing play. We had 5 games in total including free for all, capture the flag and search and destroy. Before long it was time up and we had to get back on the minibuses and head back to camp where Shepherds pie and banana custard was waiting for us! In the evening Judith and Angela run a game of sweetie bingo and Bob ran a short quiz before an early night and lots of worn out explorers.

On Wednesday we all had a bit of a lay in until 8.30am and had Sausage, Egg and beans for breakfast. The morning was a fairly laid back session where many were still tired from the activities yesterday so some played Frisbee golf whilst others tried their efforts at circus skills and a game of volleyball. Lunch was wraps with various fillings and salad along with fruit and cake. After lunch we all headed down to the climbing tower and done the afternoons sessions of climbing and the zip wire all together, once again with the sun shining and smiles on faces. Dinner today was jacket potato and coleslaw with quiche and fresh fruit salad. Once the duty patrol had loaded up the dishwasher and wiped down the tables we had a few wide games man hunt and a giant card game before it was bed time.

On Thursday we woke up at 7.30am with the sun already shining brightly through the trees, we had breakfast cereal, hash browns, bacon and spaghetti and got ready for our day trip to Brownsea Island. We all followed in convey to Sandbanks but as we approached the sea fog/mist rolled in and before long it was obvious we wouldn’t be able to go to Brownsea Island so we all walked back to the minibuses and drove into Bournemouth. The explorers were given 2 hours free time to go spend their money and have their pack lunch. Whilst they were enjoying their free time Bob and I went for a coffee and then took a walk down to the pier to see if we could resurrect the day following a disappointing start. On our search we came across another zip wire, however this wasn’t any usual zip wire it was long...really long... it started at the end of pier and went all the way to the shore line about 200metres or so. We decided this was too expensive as was the caving below the pier so we settled for ten pin bowling. The explorers had a great time and there was even time at the end for what was meant to be a quick game of pool with Jake and Joe that turned into the longest in history!! We returned back to camp about 6.45pm had burger and chips for dinner, well Harry I think you had about 5!! After dinner We had another wide game and started packing to go home in the morning.

Today it was time to go home. After breakfast of cereal and sausage sandwiches it was time to start packing away bedding, hoovering out our rooms and loading up the minibuses. We left about 11am and headed towards the motorway when we got onto the A27 we got held up in heavy traffic, so we decided to pull over and have a break. We stopped off at McDonald’s and Judith ordered everyone a meal and drink. We finally arrived back in Falaise road about 3.45pm with two mini buses of tired and worn out explorers before Bob and I had to take the minibuses back to Eastbourne with Roger following.

I would just like to take this chance to say how proud I am of the explorers behaviour they done our district proud! I would also like to thank Bob for driving the second minibus and Roger for providing first aid, chasing up the explorers to take their medicine, getting Caspers glasses fixed and taking photos on the various activities at camp. Finally the biggest thank you must go to Judith and Angela for all their hard work in making sure we were all fed and watered throughout the camp amazing food ladies!!! If it wasn’t for the well behaved explorers and my team of leaders for their various jobs and hard work, and support this camp wouldn’t have been the success it was so Thank you everyone. Watch this space for next year....!

Written by Graeme Stoodley (Camp Leader)