Thursday, 19 August 2010

Why I LOVE Guide Camp

A couple of weeks ago, I took one week annual leave from work and spent a week volunteering on a Guide camp, with 750 girls and leaders, in Ashdown Forest near East Grinstead. It was a fantastic week and rather than the usual week off, where it's over in the blink of an eye and before you know it you're sat back at your desk, this is one "holiday" that really lasts.

Here are my top reasons to love Guide camp:

Friendships made or reaffirmed

There are so many different volunteers involved in a Guide camp and so many opportunities to make friends. When do you get time to really talk to people and get to know them, you do on Guide camp. And one thing I particularly enjoy is watching the girls make friends, girls can start the week strangers and end up inseparable. They learn that making friends isn't as hard or a scary as they might think, and they grow in confidence. Actually, that goes for the leaders as well as the girls!

Money saved

During a usual week at work you'll spend money on lunches, drinks, meals out and shopping, and even more on a holiday, but on Guide camp there is very little to buy, except from the tuck shop! And there are only so many 2p sweets you can buy.

Things learnt and challenges overcome

Amongst other things...
  • How to say hello and goodbye in Japanese, Estonian and Nigerian.
  • It is possible to drive a 4x4 blindfolded with the help of your friends.
  • How to we take a group picture of all 750 participants?
  • How do we put up a tent with no instructions?
  • The words of Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feeling"
  • Some new dance moves
  • That an olive is a fruit!? (sorry in joke!)
Sleeping under canvas

Being out of doors and on the go all day can be really tiring, so there is nothing nicer than snuggling down into a sleep bag and spending the night in a tent.

Healthy appetite

Being out of doors and on the go all day also gives you a healthy appeite, and goodness do we eat well on Guide camp. Breakfast: eggy bread, beans, bacon, sausages, yoghurt, fruit, coisants and toast. Elevenes: cake. Lunch: salad, tuna, jacket potatoes and cheese, followed by apricot crumble. Fourses: more cake. Dinner: sweet and sour chicken with rice, followed by chocolate sponge pudding and chocolate custard.

Totally switch off from work

The only blackberry you need on Guide camp, is the kind that comes in a crumble. Leave your laptop at home, don't check your email, forget facebook and Twitter - it really is a joy.

Keeps you young

Yes, it can be freaky when you realise just how young some of the girls are, or should it be, how old you actually are?! But actually spending a week, talking and participating in activities with girls between aged 10 and 18 really helps you understand the pressures and joys young people face today.

If Guide camp sounds like fun, get involved...Join Girlguding UK visit: http://www.girlgudinguk.org.uk/

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