Why bad weather is a good thing in the run-up to a major camp
Preparing eight girls and two Guiders for a week-long summer camp is not an easy task. There are the group dynamics to decipher, patrol gear to purchase and borrow and personal gear to figure out. Throw in a weekend of West Coast late spring rain and it is make it or break it time.
Mackenzie Heights District is sending three patrols to Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous, aka SOAR, a camp hosted by Girl Guides British Columbia every three years that attracts participants from around the province, the country and from around the world. The setting this year is Enderby, a town along the Shuswap River, between Kamloops, Kelowna and Revelstoke. SOAR, which will be held July 19-26, bills itself as a ‘back to basics’ camp because participants sleep in tents and cook their own meals in patrols on campsites roughly 500 – 600 square feet.
Patrol KA17 from Mackenzie Heights District includes girls from three different Pathfinder and Guide units so an indoor sleepover in late April was arranged as a meet and greet. This was followed by a rain soaked weekend camp at Porteau Cove, a BC Parks campsite, in early May. Hanging out with four other patrols, the girls got comfortable with patrol cooking, participated in a skills round robin (including storm lashing), worked on their patrol banner and generally got to know one another.
The pelting late West Coast spring rain was a good thing for KA17. Huddling under the patrol shelter while cooking and eating together provided some wonderful bonding moments, lots of belly laughs and the group already has one or two inside jokes. Sleeping together in a large eight-person tent while the rain came down and several very long cargo trains trudged along less than 20 feet away also helped the girls figure out how they work as a team and how much personal space they each need. The pouring rain’s greatest benefit though was testing whether or not the patrol shelter and the tent were leak proof and how well the girls’ wet weather gear, when worn, kept them warm and dry.
Much to the girls’ chagrin the palace sized tent with three doors and numerous nooks and crannies did not keep the rain out. It has now been replaced with two brand new Eureka four-person tents, with impressive vestibules and great air flow for the warm Enderby summer nights, which the girls learnt to set-up at a half day skills practice event in early June at a local Vancouver park. A backpack or two has also been exchanged to better fit the girl wearing it and some other personal gear has been, or will soon be, replaced.
Preparing for SOAR is not an overnight affair but for KA17 it has been a fun-filled, weather challenged adventure. Hopefully, the trials and tribulations of a weekend of West Coast late spring rain will make the six to seven-hour school bus trip from Vancouver to Enderby tolerable and the week-long SOAR experience memorable.
By guest blogger Fiona McFarlane.