A Danish Adventure 2015
A DANISH ADVENTURE
For many years the 8th Kidderminster Scout Group have had close ties with the Stjerne Gruppe, a Scout Group from Husum, and we have camped together many times on both home and foreign soil. In 2015 they once again invited us to join them for an international jamborette which was being held at their local campsite from 17th to 26th July.
Our adventure began with us flying from Birmingham to Hamburg – no mean feat with a party of 26 young people (aged from 8 to 16) and 10 adults! We were then met by our coach for the journey to the campsite at Spejdergarden Tydal, near Eggebek, about 20 miles from Husum. Once on site we were met by our advance party, Robin and Ryan, who had left Kidderminster on Wednesday and driven the van with our gear to the site. They had set up some of our tents and our kitchen facilities but the Cubs' and Scouts' tents still needed to be pitched so it was all hands to the pump to get them up and their kit into them before our evening meal.
On Saturday morning we all went for a walk around the site to get our bearings; we then split up into teams to build our camp gadgets and gateway. In the afternoon our friends from the Stjerne Gruppe, who we were sharing a site with, arrived and pitched their tents. Many of the Scouts knew each other from when we camped together in 2012 and '13 so it was a chance to rekindle old friendships and share memories. After tea, a “common meal” (a feature of this particular camp where all 700 campers were catered for centrally), we headed to the campfire circle for the opening ceremony which helped set the scene for the theme of the camp, the activities and fun that were planned for us, as well as the first airing of the camp song Hånd I hånd.
On Sunday morning our first activity sessions beckoned; on offer were: Nerds & Geeks; Feel Good, Be Good; Survival; the Four Elements; and Catering - helping to prepare and cook the “common meals” for 700 people!
As well as the organised sessions one of the other activities that our youngsters got involved in was the jamborette post. Notes that had been written to “loved ones” were delivered by the camp posties whose visits were eagerly anticipated by various members of our group! We were the only Scouts from the UK on site and so were very popular with the other groups who hailed from Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
On Monday five of our older Scouts along with five of our younger (and fitter) leaders departed to take part in an overnight activity, hiking 25km and sleeping in a bivouac they had built before visiting the Viking village of Haithabu. While they were away the rest of the party enjoyed a 3km hike to Tarp for shopping and a swim in an open air swimming pool. That evening we cooked our own tea and had a campfire on our site.
By now we were also getting rather competitive at another of the “additional” activities – The Hånd I hånd Shirt Challenge – each section had to try and win a different-coloured shirt. When you found the person who was wearing your section's shirt you could challenge them to an activity of your choice to try and win the shirt off them. If you were successful you signed the shirt and then formed an arch with them as the shirt was passed from one to the other whilst you were Hånd I hånd.
Tuesday morning saw us taking part in the “container activity” helping to load a shipping container with equipment for a school in Zambia; we also watched a slide show about the area in Zambia they were supporting, the wildlife and the project. Later we welcomed home our ten weary treckers and learnt all about their adventures before a “common tea” and an evening disco for under 18s which was being held in the events café/bar which was amusingly entitled “BARen POWELL”.
Wednesday was jam-packed with activity sessions and two “common meals”; it was also Open Day, when parents of local youngsters and also local businesses and dignitaries who are supporters of the camp and the site in general could visit and see what was happening. In the evening we had a campfire on our site with the Stjerne Gruppe as well as another group from Denmark who had heard us singing a couple of nights previously and asked if they could join us at our next campfire.
On Thursday morning we had our last organised activity session before a “common lunch”, and in the afternoon we went swimming in the River Treene which runs along one edge of the site.
Friday morning was our last “common meal” - the breakfast planned for Saturday had to be brought forward due to a forecast of bad weather. Along with the Stjerne Gruppe we then boarded a coach for a day trip to Friedrichstadt, a town 12 km south of Husum. Built on land between two rivers, the Treene and the Eider, Friedrichstadt has a rich Dutch history and is very picturesque. We had a walking tour, followed by a boat tour and then time to shop. On our return to site we cooked our tea before taking our places at the campfire circle for the camp finale – we even led a couple of songs!
Overnight the predicted bad weather arrived with heavy rain causing some of the Stjerne Gruppe scouts to be evacuated from their tents after being flooded out. Luckily our tents remained unaffected and our Scouts and Leaders were, on the whole, blissfully ignorant of the dramas of the night.
On Saturday the majority of the other groups were departing so there was frenzied activity all around us. Despite their disturbed night the Stjerne Gruppe set about breaking their camp and our Scouts started dismantling the gadgets and gateway they had made just a few days previously, which is always rather sad. Even more upsetting was saying farewell to all of our Husum friends, although the sadness of the separation was lessened by the fact that plans were already forming for them to join us in Edinburgh for Summer camp 2016. Later in the day we were invited to join the service team for some food as they had some to spare and didn’t want to waste it. Despite having just eaten tea on our site the lure of spit-roast pork and fried potatoes was too hard for many of us to resist! Some of the service team requested that we led them in a couple of our signature campfire songs, so I think you could say that “Kidderminster” had definitely made an impression.
On Sunday we were up bright and early as we had the rest of our camp to strike and a coach to the airport to catch; everyone worked really hard and we were all packed up swiftly and Robin and Ryan were able to set off in good time for their long drive home. After some final thank-you’s and goodbyes to members of the service team our coach arrived and we boarded, taking with us loads of memories of a fantastic week of fun and friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
(Leader, 8th Kidderminster Scout Group)