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'Family Camp'
Annual camp at Abington
or online on Zoom

A sketch of Family Camp by ex-28th Scout Ed Oliver (hover over for photo)

Every year we try to organise a Family Camp, usually the first weekend in May, and usually at Abington.

The whole family of any cub, beaver, scout or propsective member of our group, is invited to join us for a weekend camp, at Abington just outside Cambridge on the road to Linton. Mums and Dads can see some of what their cubs, scouts or beavers might get up to at camp; younger brothers and sisters can see what they might join in with in a few years time.

In 2020, however, we were all under the Covid19 restrictions so we held Home Family Camp:

  • Camp at home:
      in a tent or shelter in the garden
      or in a den built in a living room
  • Pack a bag with what you are taking on camp
  • This should have clothes etc but must include at least the following:
    • A sleeping bag (or duvet or blanket)
    • A toothbrush
    • A torch
    • A cuddly toy is required by Akela for all Cubs
  • This qualifies for the Nights Away badge
    • Proof should ideally be a photo of the empty bed
    • A scout is to be trusted, so be honest if you sneak off to bed during the night!
  • 7pm The night started with a Zoom conference call for flagbreak and some activities
  • Followed by a communal barbecue / indoor grill across all the camp homes
  • 8:30pm A campfire on Zoom with campfire songs and some skits
  • 10pm lights out, followed by grownups quiz on Zoom
  • No getting up before 7am, or later if parents decide
  • Camp ends with a Full English cooked breakfast!

Familes gathered around their campfire, with a tent in the garden, having had a joint barbecue with 200+ other people across Cambridge and connected on Zoom for a campfire singsong

There were 52 families joining in on Zoom for the opening ceremony

Lots of families contributed photos to the WhatsApp and Facebook groups set up for the event:

Lots of tents, hammocks, bivies and dens

.. lots of barbecues

.. lots of campfires

.. and lots of breakfasts in the morning

In other years we have enjoyed a weekend of fun activities where parents and brothers and sisters can join in, or not, it is up to them. Some parents get the most out of the weekend by relaxing with the papers and a glass of something in the sunshine, whilst others throw themselves into volunteering to help with the washing up or with some of the games and activities that the cubs, scouts, explorers and beavers get up to.

The whole family is invited to join us at camp

You can join in with the fun or bring a book or the papers and enjoy some quiet time whilst the children are enjoying themselves with some of the leaders' activities.

Cooking baked potatoes in the embers of a fire you made yourself

We fired water propelled rockets one year

We have a lot of people on Family Camp, what with Mums, Dads, Grannies, brothers and sisters etc so we have a lot of people to feed. Our volunteers do an amazing job to feed us all and sometimes there is a showpiece bit of camp cooking. One year Colin Sills, now GSL of the 12th Cambridge, came over and did a Hog Roast on a spit with a whole pig turning for hours over a fire for many hours.

Another year we did a Pit Roast which involves lighting a fire in a lined pit and allowing the remaining embers and the retained heat from the stones, bricks and soil to cook the meat slowly over many hours. With kind permission from Abington we dug a pit in a suitable location, lined it simply with bricks and lit a fire in it.

After the fire had burnded down to red hot embers we covered some lamb joints with tin foil and then chicken wire (to help pick it up later). We shovelled some of the embers out to put back once we'd put in the meat, then the embers, then added wet newspapers (to reduce the air intake), pushed in the top row of bricks with a spade and filled the hole in from the spoil heap.

After five hours we dug it all up again, lifted out the chickenwire bundles of delicious meat and unwrapped it. Two layers of tin foil helped keep the ask and soil out of the finished meat as we unwrapped each layer separately.

The meat just fell off the bone. We absolutely stuffed ourselves silly on this magnificently delicious slow cooked lamb; seven large legs of lamb was wolfed down by around 100 people.

We dug a deep pit

and lined it with bricks

and then lit a fire in it

We lifted some embers out after it had died down

and laid in the meat wrapped in foil and chickenwire

After several hours we all gathered

and dug it up again

The meat was so juicy it fell off the bone

Everyone ate heartily!