Beavers in Tents

Despite the weather over last weekend hundreds of Beaver Scouts (boys and girls aged 6 and 7), and some of their siblings and parents (plus the occasional cat, dog and grandparent!) , from across Cambridgeshire took part in a fun packed virtual camp.

For the second year in a row the pandemic meant that everyone was unable to camp together, but that was not going to stop the organisers. Using technology Beavers from all over Cambridgeshire camped ‘together’ in their own homes and gardens- taking part in the same activities at the same time and sharing their adventures, as they happened on the internet. 

Facebook Live was used for key moments, as the opening and closing ceremonies plus a traditional campfire. A closed Facebook Group was used so that everyone could share photos and videos as they completed each task throughout the event.

The first activity was for everyone to pitch their tent or make a den, decorating it in festival style with bunting, flags,  windmills and lights! This was followed by making a crown to wear at the campfire later, and then the Beaver Scouts cooking tea – either over a fire or in the kitchen. The first day ended with lots of requests for songs around the campfire, for everyone to join in, and of course the odd hot chocolate and toasted marshmallow. Then off to bed, in the tents or dens they had prepared earlier. For many it was their first night camping outside in a tent.

Overnight rain tested the tent pitching skills of some, with puddles in one tent waking the occupants up at 4am. Those sleeping outside woke earlier than those indoors, so apologies to anyone hoping for a lie in on Father’s Day! It was soon time for a traditional BITs “takeaway” breakfast of cereal, brioche or croissant, fruit and juice – with the milk being poured straight into the carton for those that wanted to. There was then another Facebook Live, to share a moment of reflection and to explain the day’s activities. As 2021 is the 35th anniversary of Beaver Scouts the family challenges all had “35” in them somewhere and the Beavers did have to tidy up afterwards too.

Outdoors there was a 35 minute time allotted for a scavenger hunt (with a list including items from a post box to a  slug!), Beavers were asked to create a photo montage to spell out “Beavers 35” , a 35 minute litter pick in their local area, making and decorating a kite with a theme of 35, create an obstacle course with 7 obstacles then complete it 5 and finally “route art” (plan and draw a picture on a scouting theme by hiking, running, biking, skipping or skating – recording it on a free app or a map instead.

Indoors challenges included balancing 35 different things on top of each other, keeping 2 balloons up in the air for 35 seconds, building something using 35 toy bricks, show off a 35 second dance routine, put on 35 items of clothing, fit 35 things inside a mug and (probably the hardest one of all!) complete a 35 minute silence.

Sue Best, one of the organisers, said “We would love to have had the Beavers down at Copley (in St Ives) again this year, but running the virtual event is the next best thing. Reading the parents comments and seeing the Beavers having fun is extremely motivating and rewarding. It is great to see Beaver Scouts pitching tents and cooking meals, great skills for life.”

Here are just a few quotes from parents of those who took part:

  • “ Beatrice from 1st Southoe and Buckden had a busy crafty afternoon…! Bunting, nightlight and windmill.  The crown took ages to dry – there was rather a lot of glitter glue used!!!!
  • “Morning all from 1st Newmarket. Wow those pigeons are noisy. Survived what sounded like biblical rain. Who cares about hard-core sleeping bag camping when in the garden! Bring on the fluffy duvets!”
  • “I’m pretty sure Ben was up before 6am… and didn’t sleep until after 11pm. I think he might fall asleep on the sofa later, just like after most Beaver camps!”
  • “Paige has created a small obstacle course of 7 things that she can repeat 5 times. It includes her giving me 5 hugs – aren’t I lucky.”
  • “Thank you for the brilliant activities. One happy Beaver joining in with camp and also having a great birthday too.”
  • “Fajitas for dinner cooked by Harris!”

If you like the fact that all these young people only used a screen to link to parts of this event, and instead were getting creative and outdoors, why not volunteer. Growing numbers of young people are keen to start their scouting adventure, and in most cases all that is required are more adult volunteers. If activities are not your thing get in touch anyway, there are lots of support roles just waiting to be filled too. Simply contact your local Scout Group or Get in Touch.

Enjoy these great photos showing just some of the fun had!