Camping with the Cubs

Camps, or “residential experiences” as Scout HQ call them these days, are a very important part of Scouting. We are always told to put the “out” into Scouting and get outside as much as we can.

We plan to have at least one “night away” a term, with more in the summer when we can sleep outside in tents. Having a “Pack Holiday” where you sleep in a hall extends our camping season so that we can do it throughout the year.

We have 4 levels of camping. You will see the levels referred to on our camp publicity. The higher numbers indicate that the camp is more challenging.

 1 Sleeping indoors in a pack holiday centre with bunk beds
The high cost of this sort of indoor accommodation means that we don’t generally do this sort of event unless we are doing a joint camp with another group
 2 Sleeping indoors on the floor
It allows us to have nights away when it is too cold to be camping outside but doesn’t attract the high costs of staying in pack holiday centres.
 3 Sleeping in tents on a site with facilities
This is our preferred option and we try to have a couple of camps each year like this, including our Summer Camp which lasts for more than just the weekend.
 4 Sleeping in tents on a “green field” site (no permanent toilets or facilities)
We try to avoid this sort of camping. While it may not seem that different to the Cubs who still sleep in their tents in the usual way, the leaders prefer to spend their time on activities rather than digging holes to empty toilets into. There is plenty of time to do these sort of camps when you get into Scouts

Camp dates
Please check our calendar for confirmed camp dates. As soon as we know them we list them – meaning that dates can be available well into the future. We generally camp as follows:

  • February – weekend pack holiday (level 1 or 2)
  • June – weekend camp (level 3)
  • August – week long Summer camp (level 3) – normally starting on the second weekend in August and with a mini camp (half week) option
  • September – weekend camp (level 3)

Camp fees and deposits
We do all we can to keep our camp fees as low as possible and we try to give you plenty of time to pay. Installments are fine if that helps.  We use money raised through our Painless Fundraising to subsidise camps – we call it Parbrook Cashback.
You can normally reserve your place with a deposit and then pay the balance nearer the camp. Should you need to cancel we will normally refund the deposit (via a credit towards future Subs or other camps) unless camp is less than 3 weeks away when the deposit will only be returned if somebody else can be found to take your place.

Kit list
There is a standard kit list that we expect the Cubs to bring to camp. We may have to make small changes to it for particular camps to cope with things like special activity gear (e.g. swimming), themed activities (e.g. costumes) or if we are camping indoors (e.g. need indoor shoes). When we are at camp we generally do a full kit inspection on the last day so that we can make sure everybody has got all their gear. To do this the kit is laid out according to the district kit layout.

Bedding roll
We like you to make a bedding roll with your sleeping bag and blanket on the inside and your groundsheet tied securely round it. This is designed to keep your bedding dry when you are on your way to camp. Even though our tents have groundsheets, you can then sleep on your own one which may help you keep all your things together. It is always tempting to let Mum make the bedding roll at home but on a Sunday it is the Cub who has to do it and if they haven’t done it before they will struggle. It is always best to practice at home. You may find these instructions helpful.

Camp blanket
Our standard kit includes 2 blankets as part of the bedding roll. We encourage all our Cubs to have a camp blanket which as well as being warm is somewhere to put those badges which cannot be worn on uniform. It can also be a good place to put badges earned in Beavers, camp site souvenir badges, previous stages of our staged badges (as only the highest stage can be worn on uniform) and old “occasional” badges such as Cubs100 which have been removed from uniform. Over time it can make a nice collection. Fortunately there are no rules for the design of camp blankets so you can be as creative as you like.

Membership has its privileges
A 10% discount is available in Millets & Blacks shops, although not on sale items. You can also get a 10% discount in Mountain Warehouse shops and this covers sale items too. All you need to do is prove that you are a Scout Association member by showing them your group scarf.

First time campers
We are often asked about the sort of kit that needs to be bought. We also sometimes find that people who don’t ask end up with unsuitable equipment so thought it might be worthwhile saying a few things about the camping equipment you need.
Although a camp in a hall is not very strenuous we do have camps under canvas and so it is worth buying equipment that will be good enough for them.

Sleeping bag – ideally a “mummy bag” that can be compressed into a small bag. It should be a synthetic (rather than down-filled) bag and may be sold as a 2 season bag or have words like 200 or 300gsm. In the Argos catalogue items such as 927/6196 (200gsm), 532/3658 (250gsm) and 803/5912 (300gsm) would be suitable. Since we don’t camp outside in the winter there is no need to buy anything more expensive (or more than 300gsm) unless you are looking forward to Scouts. Because sleeping bags cannot be washed easily we recommend using a simple cotton sleeping bag liner which can then be washed after each camp. It also acts as an extra layer to keep you warm.
Whether camping outside or indoors on the floor you will need to have a camping mat (like 340/5712) under your sleeping bag to stop damp and cold rising up. We don’t allow camp beds or air beds. If we are camping in tents you will need a groundsheet that is at least 6′ x 4′ (such as 614/9697) to go under everything else and also form the outside of your bedding roll.
The leaders always groan when we see kit arrive in black bin bags. They always split and end up with the kit on the floor in a big heap. An alternative is the nylon “stuff sacks” which are sold in places like Millets for a few pounds each.

The Argos descriptions are just a guide to the minimum standard required as you can see the products online and prices are generally reasonable. You can get similar equipment from camping shops like Blacks, Millets or Mountain Warehouse in Horsham, or online from Amazon,  Scout Shops, Tesco or other outdoor retailers. If you shop at Millets, Blacks or Mountain Warehouse you can get a 10% discount for being a Scout Association member. If you shop online don’t forget to click through from our online shop,  so that we get commission on your purchases.

Peg your shoes
When we are staying indoors we have to change in to our indoor shoes. To stop the shoes getting in a complete mess and spreading across the floor please bring a clothes peg with your name on it. If you peg your spare shoes together then there is less chance of them wandering off and because your name is on the peg it is unlikely that somebody will put the wrong pair on by mistake. It works in tents too as you always have to remove your shoes before you go inside so peg them together to keep them tidy.

The overall experience of a night away can be the first step of independence for many children and may be the longest, or first, time they have been away from their parents. Some Cubs experience homesickness during our camps. This is natural and tends to occur temporarily during free time or when they are tired. We generally find that the next day, after a good night’s sleep, they are keen and enthusiastic again and ready to join in with activities. Homesickness is not a medical condition so should not require a child to be sent home. We will tell you at the end of camp if your Cub has been homesick but we would not expect to be in touch about it during camp.

Finally, a special plea, please remember to make sure that everything is named. This especially applies to items such as uniform. It is inevitable that some personal gear will get mislaid or mixed when on camp and if it is named it can easily be returned to the right person.

We hope this helps. If you have any questions please ask before spending a lot of money on something you are not sure about.

%d bloggers like this: