Region Gathering Report

11-13 June 2005

Our South Metropolitan Region celebrated its tenth birthday with a huge camp at Cataract Scout Park over the June long weekend on 11-13/6/2005 with hundreds of campers spread over several sites. Preparations began months earlier with the Cub Pack using two weekly meetings to check equipment and practice putting up and taking down their tents. A team of ten parent helpers volunteered to assist four Leaders operate the Pack camp for 18 Cub Scouts while the Scout Troop had 12 Scouts with 2 Leaders.

The Troop setup camp on the Friday night and we were lucky to have a large level camp site. Saturday morning was cold and wet from a heavy due and after breakfast we setup the dinning fly. The weather looked like it was threatening to rain so the adults who were there early began setting up the Cub tents and the Scouts generously assisted. After lunch the Scouts went off to the activity bases and the adults finished the last Cub tent just before it started raining. Unfortunately it continued raining as the Cubs arrived and some adults’ tents were setup in the rain. It was a cold afternoon and as the rain continued the Cubs stayed dry under the large dinning fly and kept warm with hot drinks, soup and noodles.

When the rain stopped late afternoon we quickly went off to the activity bases before they closed at 4pm. The Cubs fired off some rockets made of plastic bottles containing a little water and pumped with compressed air; then enjoyed billy cart races until they closed. Back at camp we got the fire going to keep warm and our parent helper team cooked a hot dinner to warm us inside. Coolac took the Cubs off to the movies and the adults who remained enjoyed a nice quiet camp fire.
A cold Sunday morning kept the Cubs in bed until 6:30am and it warmed up quickly as the sun rose. As we set off for the activity bases just before they opened at 9am we met our Joey Scouts coming in for visitors day. We enjoyed climbing over a rope net, pushing past the adults with rugby tackle practice pads, rolling inside barrels, shot put, egg and spoon race using a spade and shot put, wire ladder and tight rope.


We enjoyed morning tea in the glorious sunshine and then the next activity was a challenge to direct a blind-folded team around an obstacle course and into a tent. The next base had tattoo stickers and coloured hair spray that was used to create some interesting effects and the last base before lunch was climbing a long sloping cargo net and sliding back down.

The program after lunch was the Region birthday party with cake and drink. During the formal ceremony Hannah did a great job reciting the Cub Scout law and an afternoon of games followed.

Our Pack returned to camp and enjoyed building a fort amongst the trees and then joined the Scouts around the campfire where Gav got some interesting games going around the campfire circle. After dinner we attended a District campfire and our Cubs performed well in some skits that they put together at short notice. Unfortunately we had to leave early and change several people out of wet clothes after a skit threw a bucket of water into the audience. After that we enjoyed our own Group campfire under a brilliant starry sky.

Monday morning was a more relaxed pace and the Cubs cooked their own pancakes for breakfast. We were lined up at opening time for the huge ‘George of the Jungle’ swing and you must see the pictures (see below) to understand what this was like.

Next was a soccer ball catapult and the sign-off for that completed the eight activity sign-offs required to earn the Region Gathering award that the Cubs will wear on their uniform sleeve. Next stop was to make scones and while waiting for them to bake in a drum oven we met the Chief Commissioner for NSW, Graeme Fordham. He was interested to hear from the Cubs about their adventures and I think he was impressed with their enthusiasm. There was time for more tattoo stickers and hair painting before returning to camp for lunch.


With a darkening sky after lunch we started packing up early hoping that we would have all the dry tents put away before it rained. Fortunately for campers it didn’t rain and after a closing ceremony we left camp an hour earlier than expected.

I am so pleased that most of our Pack was able to attend this camp because large camps like this with hundreds of campers and many activity bases to visit are one of the most valuable training aids available to the Cub Scout training program. The Cub Scouts learn to look after themselves in a range of ways that is not possible to practice at the hall. They are challenged to participate in activities that stretch their physical, emotional and mental abilities; and the very size and duration of the camp challenges them in a number of ways, especially their social skills. In addition, the Cubs were able to observe our Scout Troop camped right alongside and the Troop set an excellent example in behaviour and camp craft.

With Coolac’s enthusiasm for camping it has been a long time since I prepared a camp and I found the preparation rewarding and the co-operation and team spirit that developed amongst the Leaders and parent helper team made the camp fun and enjoyable and a great success. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed and participated.

Akela

The Cub Pack met Graeme Fordham, Chief Commissioner NSW, and he was interested to hear what the Cubs had been doing at the camp and was impressed by their enthusiasm. Pictured below is the Cub Pack with Graeme Fordham (centre), Coolac (left) and Akela (right).