Cub Camp – August 1996

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Let me tell you about Cub Camp!

Cub Camp is in a bit of a panic on the first night away. Have you remembered all the tents‘? Have you remembered your sleeping bag? Toothbrush? The Cubs?

Well, still wondering if you have everything the pack met up with similarly panicking packs throughout County Galway to hold our Regional Camp 1996 in Renville Park, Oranmore on June 7th.

With the promise of gale force winds, the night looked like it could be entertaining. Tents were pitched as quickly and efficiently as we could with a gang of Cub Scouts running in and out and around at full speed.

There’s something really special about the look on the face of a cub who is away on camp for the first time. There’s a little bit of worry, a little bit of wonder and a whole lot of excitement in their eyes trying to take it everything in.

The old hands have really made themselves at home, setting out their sleeping bags and stowing away their gear. These cubs are seasoned veterans, well used to the noise and chaos of the first night. Newer faces usually don’t know what to be doing and often misplace most of their kit within the first few hours.

Anyway, with all the units set up and the leaders all briefed, the cubs were off for a short night hike. After a quick scramble, through their bags for their torches, the entire population of Camp Renville take to the woods making enough noise to drive any wildlife they hoped to see as far away as possible and glad to be gone..

While this was going on some leaders and helpful scouts were preparing a small campfire. Friday night is almost traditionally used as a practise run for Saturday night’s campfire. It gives the newer cubs a chance to learn a few songs and the older ones learn a few new ones. It gives all the leaders a chance to get to know all of the brood in their care for the weekend. Also, it allows us to pass on some of the traditions that scouting campfires have. One tradition is that of putting ashes saved from last year’s campfire into the flames of this years. A simple symbol of memories past, friendships renewed and of expectation, new friends and new challenges. The light is never supposed to go out on a scouting campfire. One or two clubs usually save the ashes over the year until we meet again to celebrate Regional Camp the following year.

Campfire over, rules for camp announced, the cubs all go to their tents and you may think that is the end of the first night for our tired adventurers…No Way!

One hundred and thirty cubs go to their tents with the sole intention of not going to sleep at all. Having been warned not to leave their tents except for the call of nature, it seems that all one hundred cubs all need to go to the loo all at the same time. There’s shouting, there’s singing, there’s laughing and there’s some words I’ve “never heard” before. Some eventually go to sleep but the die-hard are still going strong. We leaders thought we were being clever this year bringing some scouts to help keep an eye on things while we got some sleep.

Didn’t work out that way though! I didn’t get a wink of sleep all night. In fact, in between sweeps of the campsite, I spent the night sitting by the campfire supping tea and swapping stories. Ah, this is what scouting is all about. I don’t think any leader really minds the bleary eyed feeling the next morning. Not getting much sleep but picking up sleeping cubs to put them back in their tents is, after all, another of those Regional Camp “traditions”.

Strange things happen on first night – tent pegs seem to just jump out of the ground by themselves. Nobody ever sees anybody doing it! One of our solutions was to take the batteries out of their torches to stop their little raiding parties. This was grand until they started bringing spare batteries. Can’t blame them, after all the scouting motto is “Bí Ullamh” (Be Prepared). So, we go one step further, leave the batteries but taking the bulbs out to be returned Saturday morning of course. It works ‘till next year, I suppose.

The night slowly rolls on. The cubs get ready for breakfast…breakfast is at eight o’clock, these guys are ready to eat at six. Too bad, no chow ‘till eight, so usually there is a hunt through their rucksacks for that bit of chocolate bar that got lost during the night.

The expected gales never arrives, the rain stays off and the dawn breaks. It’s going to be a beautiful day. Our first full day at Regional Camp…But that’s another story.

Secin Meyler A.C.L., St. Mary ’s, 19th Galway, Athenry.

Feature Photo: Renville Park, Oranmore, Galway 

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About this record

Written by Sean Meyler

Published here 14 Nov 2022 and originally published 1996

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