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Having attended many Scout camps over the last 5 years or so - including 2 Springbok camps, 5 first class camps and countless other overnight camps run by the Scouts - I have a good idea of what makes a successful camp. In most cases I have enjoyed all of them, so I was rather pleased to be invited to Hendré's Springbok camp this holiday. There were 23 Scouts on this camp including myself.

I was asked to help as “staff” along with Tara and Nina. We left 1st Durbanville Scout hall in a convoy at about 09h00 on 24 June for the Hawequas Scout Ranch in Wellington. Everyone helped to transport the equipment. Campsites were allocated at the “terraces” and the scouts were divided into three patrols of 6 each. The patrols set up their tents and campsites, while I and the other staffers set up our own tents and camp. After Hendré had briefed the patrols, we ate our packed lunches and commenced with base rotations that consisted of basic first aid knowledge and knots.

After base rotations, we did campsite developments where scouts were given a certain amount of time to build tables, bins, a border, a gateway and wash-ups. So far so good. However, the wind started to pick up just as we were preparing dinner (at around 17h00) and that made the working conditions rather unpleasant. The menu for the first night's dinner was “beef stew potjie“. There were a variety of special dietary needs among the 23 of us and all were catered for. Maybe not gourmet food for the vegetarians... but the beef stew was a success. We settled down in our tents after dinner, as the wind had worsened. The wind raged on throughout the night and our staff tent lost its tent poles, which meant an early morning start for us!

The new day started at 7am (for everyone else) just before sunrise. However, the fierce wind forced us to have breakfast at the wooden lodge. The day consisted of base rotations, a wide game and alien vegetation clearing near the river. The black wattle which we removed, was used for building the backwoods shelters. Unfortunately, we could not use the shelters as the wind was just too strong. Dinner was backwoods cooking for the patrols and the staff had a vegetarian potjie that was enjoyed by all. We used the leftover black wattle to build a small wind break around the campfire and most of us sat around the small fire during the evening. We all enjoyed bread with a bit of sugar on it as a snack (simple pleasures!) and then settled in for another windy night.

The next day consisted of playing Kim’s game and after a lunch of bacon and egg rolls, we deconstructed the camp and prepared for departure. The patrol headed by Zoe Le Roux (PL) and Matthew Stead (APL) with patrol members Reece, Stephen, Hannah and Luca, was declared the winning patrol of the camp. We arrived back at the Scout hall at around 14h30 and everyone helped to unpack. We headed home for that all-important hot shower.

Another successful camp completed! I wish Hendré all the best in his Springbok journey.