I'm the SL from 4th Reigate and we've just returned from our Easter Survival camp.
We've got a younger troop of new Scouts (mostly 10 - 11) and they really wanted to have a go at the survival badge.
So after lots of prep and training over the spring term we finally embarked on Good Friday with more training at camp until Sunday midday and then the Scouts were cast adrift to fend for themselves.
Each of them had a sleeping bag, first aid kit (including water puri tabs), torch, knife, firesteel and orange survival bag. We also provided them the food basics which they then added to with foraged items and food.
10 Scouts set out to survive and with temperatures having fallen to sub zero two days before the leaders might have been a tad nervous ;-) (the Scouts on the other hand had no fears at this point, the wonders of youthful invulnerability and bravado!). They spent most of the afternoon setting up their shelters and working out that you need a huge amount of leaves to make a debris shelter before finally moving their bags in and getting ready for sleep later.
Next on their agenda was food and water, with no safe drinking water available they made filters and then realised they had no means to boil the water (no utensils, pots etc.) They decided it was 'survival' and merely filtered the water and added the required amount of puri tabs. (I hasten to add, they were drinking tap water with sterile dirt added along with a little food dye). Next they moved onto the challenge of getting the fires going. Using foraged cramp balls they had two fires going in next to no time and cooked Squash, Pots and Sweetcorn in the fire with Beef patties cooked in leaves. They'd foraged and added Lady's Smock and Ramsons to the beef patties.
So, fed, watered and shelter erected they sat around the fires and decided to tell stories. After an hour or so of scaring each other silly with ghost stories they decided to bed down.
The leaders had been popping down occasionally throughout the day but after a final check at 10 PM where ready to leave them for a good nights sleep.
We walked back to our campsite (5 mins walk away) and got settled in round our own campfire for a peaceful night...
At 10:30 PM coming into camp we saw a string of torches bobbing through the woods...
Of the scouts, all but three of them had managed to discover that they couldn't cope with the bugs, that shelters built against tree roots aren't comfy and that making a shelter too small means getting cosier that they where prepared to. (I think the earlier ghost stories may not have helped!)
However, in the morning I wandered down to to remote camp and was hugely pleased to find the remaining three scouts up (having slept well), with a fire going and sausages sizzling on sticks. They stayed down there for another hour or two and once they'd cleared up finally arrived back in the main camp with the biggest grins on their faces.
So, only 3/10 actually managed to get the badge over the weekend but the remaining seven have unanimously voted to organise themselves another camp within 6 months to attempt it again having learnt so many lessons on how to do it better next time :-)
I'm chuffed the weekend went quite so well and with very few injuries and every Scout/Leader wanting the camp to last longer.
I'd also like to hand a big thank you to Kevin from the Wildside Survival School for his expert foraging tuition over the weekend.
Hope everyone else's Easter camps went as well.