Time to say Goodbye.
It is quite possible that after reading the previous posts on our Scilly Camp, you yearn to be a Scout Leader. The Scout Association has many different roles which are suited to different types of volunteers, depending on their level of commitment. The training is comprehensive but not arduous. You will certainly meet people, make new friends and pick up valuable skills along the way. This is the same for Scouts as it is for leaders.
The fun side of any camp is balanced by the responsibilities. For every ginger beer or cup of tea we have managed to quickly gulp down there has been a corresponding quarrel to settle, homesickness tears to sooth, injury to treat, query to answer and lost item to be found.
There are visits to the hospital when we have sought expert opinion. Most injuries are minor but there was one incident, treated at St Mary’s Hospital, which required many stitches. The Scout was exceedingly brave and asked to see the stitches as soon as the doctor finished. I cautioned against this but he insisted. Upon seeing the stitches he exclaimed to the doctor: you did a very good job…your stitches are as neat as my mum’s! It turned out that his mum taught Textiles at art school and was founder of a high-end textiles magazine.
A profusion of hydrangea bushes in the grounds of St Mary’s Hospital
It is not always that the weather is fair and sunny, despite the annual camps always being in July. This year we were exceeding fortunate with the sunshine but I remember one previous Scilly camp where it rained solidly from the day we arrived and for the rest of the week all the cooking had to be done centrally in the leaders’ marquee. There is the infamous Camp Mud in the North of England which the boys still recall with horror.
We have always had a sprinkling of not just bad but actually atrocious behaviour. Sadly this affects the rest of the Troop who are tarred with the same brush and are then more likely to be told off by a leader. Parenting styles vary from family to family. If I knew what makes an angel or a monster I would be in great demand as a child expert, but after all these years I do not have an answer. All I know is that at the very least as leaders it is best to speak kindly to each other in order to set a good example.
This brings me to the subject of my Dream Team. Over the years I have worked with around a dozen other leaders and I have liked some more than others. There is something about the intensity and closeness of camp life that brings out the best and worst in people. I myself have yelled when ordinarily in similar situations I would have walked away. I enjoyed this year’s camp very much because the leaders present are long-serving members of the group and we are now more friends than colleagues.
I realise that whereas once upon a time, camp was a vehicle to meet with these friends, I now meet with them even when we are not at camp. It has been a good run and I have enjoyed most of it. It is time to move on to other projects which need my attention. My favourite food memories of this and a few other camps are of the clotted cream teas and fresh crab sandwiches.
Clotted cream tea in the garden of Star Castle Hotel, St Mary’s
I return to London the way I came: by plane from St Mary’s to Land’s End…
…then by train from Penzance to Paddington
Goodbye Scouts…Gochugaru Girl has left the Waiting Room
I am now looking forward to a month of visits from friends and family, starting with my parents-in-law. I hope to write up some recipes, make more bread, catch up with reading and finish Season 4 of Fresh Off the Boat. But for now, I am just going to have a cup of tea in silence.