Summer Camps are a major part of our Scout and Explorer diary, and always consist of an activity based week, full of adventure and fun.
Over the past 10 + years we have had camps all over the UK and Europe, giving members a chance to develop independence, leadership skills and teamwork while having fun and enjoying different cultures and communities.
The 2022 Summer Camp was planned to be a return to Switzerland and the World Scout Center. This is an amazing location the site itself is a bit of a pilgrimage site for world Scouts. With several of our members, who have been through our group, joining us for what will be there final Summer Camp before heading off to University.
The Camp Starts with an early 3:00 am start, to what will be a long day of travel across Europe. Involving minibuses, planes and several trains. Using public transport is a great experience for our members with many have never flown or traveled away from home before.
We arrived at the campsite in late afternoon, with time to pitch tents and relax after the journey. Our first full day (Sunday) would be spent exploring the site and giving members a chance to meet other Scouts from around the world, with the site hosting 1000+ scouts the week we were staying. The week would be full of great adventures and chances to experience Swiss culture.
Our weeks activities:
Monday & Tuesday
Our first activity days would be our rock climbing days, with group travelling up by cable car to a great area for rock climbing and with some impressive views of the local area. Members got the opportunity to climb different faces and challenges, with instruction from the site staff. During these days we also gave members chance to explore the Kandersteg village.
Mid week point we all headed up to the large glacier lake, that made Kandersteg famous. We traveled by cable car again to the lake where they could swim in the refreshing water and relax in the great scenery.
The trip also included the mountain sled run, which is great sled run, with fantastic views or the local scenery. Before a hike down the mountain back to the village.
Rafting day arrived, one of the main events of the week. This proved a popular event on our last visit and we decided after the feedback from the last visit it would be a great item to include in the program. The day is an early start as we have to travel by train to the start in Thun and meet the rafting teams, we would then raft down the river to the capital Bern.
The rafting trip gives members a chance to ride some gentle rapid areas and swim/float along in the river.
Friday would be another fairly early start, with a train journey needed to Interlaken and the High ropes site. Interlaken is an amazing town located in some great scenery and is famous for hosting outdoor adventures of all types. The high ropes course is a great activity and really gives our members chance to gain in confidence while having fun.
After the High ropes our members were given chance to explorer the shopping area of Interlakenhoheweg, before our return train journey.
Friday night is also the evening, the site run the large international campfire, this is an iconic event at the site and sees Scouts from all over the world, that are staying on site join in a traditional campfire with songs and skits. There was a lack of fire this year, as due to the recent conditions fires, were not permitted on site.
This was to be a more relaxed day, compared to the last couple, in preparation for our busy return day on Sunday. we had a leisurely start before heading into town after lunch and giving members a chance to enjoy the local outdoor swimming pool.
The return to England would be a fairly long day again, with a campsite to pack up, although some preparations were done the day before. We got the site packed and started the return leg, crossing Switzerland by 3 trains before arrival at Zurich airport. We had some time this end of the journey so members had chance to explore the airports shopping area and after dinner we headed through security and with only a 30min delay on the flight. We arrived back in England to meet the minibuses that would shuttle us back to Colchester. for a 1:30 am collection.
This International Summer Camp was as always a great adventure and we certainly look forward to our next Summer Camp and in a few years heading abroad again. We would also like to offer our thanks to Akela who, acted as home contact and helped keep everyone informed as needed. Another big thanks has to go to our adult volunteers who work together to ensure the trip goes as fluidly as possible, and any inevitable issues are over come smoothly. Without everyone coming together through the week, these sort of trips would not be possible so thank you everyone for that. I think our final thanks has to be the most important, that being to our members and families that make this adventure worth the effort and seeing our members enjoy our trip, gain confidence and learn new skills is great.