The wet weather did little to dampen the spirits of our ANZA Scouts during the last weekend of August. For the first time since 2019, thirty one Joeys, Cubs and Scouts aged 4 -16 years old ascended upon Sarimbun Scout Camp, one of the biggest and oldest scout camps in the northwest of Singapore, for two days of bonding activities and outdoor fun.
The Summer Camp had been a long time coming thanks to Covid restrictions, but when group sizes were finally increased along with five people being allowed to sleep per tent, plans kicked into place.
Saturday began with the kids setting up camp, locating the (retro) loos, and pitching the tents with the help of ANZA parent volunteers who were all set to supervise proceedings and wrangle with a hammer. Once everyone found their sleeping spot it was time to highlight safety instructions for what was to come. “It’s imperative that the adults and children all sit down together to discuss certain protocols and behaviours before we get cracking with activities,” says Toph Brown, who’s been volunteering with ANZA Scouts for ten years. “We also ask the children to come up with their own suggestions for camp rules to make them feel involved, too,” he adds.
First up was the task of constructing a giant wooden pyramid with poles and ropes. After a few years of activities taking place on a much smaller scale, the kids loved rising to the challenge and the opportunity to make new friends, work with others, and develop independence. “As we have no base at the moment, we can’t do anything that involves building things including large scale equipment, so being able to achieve this at camp has been a turning point,” Toph explains. Meanwhile, trusty volunteers not tasked with overseeing activities rolled up their sleeves in the kitchen to whip up a filling tomato pasta alongside cups of Milo – proper energy food!
Everyone involved was clearly thrilled to be outside amongst tropical nature and with an enormous sense of freedom. Many volunteers commented on how happy they were to see children playing and interacting with one another in the wilderness with no technology in sight! Indeed, tech was nowhere on the agenda as the kids constructed swings, navigated complicated rope ties, and slip-slided their way around campus when the rain came. Pure innocent joy and happiness took hold.
Of course, the most exciting thing about Summer Camp is the camp fire which took place after the washing up had been completed, and everyone was clear on safety precautions. A light drizzle didn’t stop the gang from bursting into chants of “Fire! Fire! Fire!” as they willed the flame to catch. Thankfully, everyone got a chance to nibble on toasted marshmallows before the weather got too wet – not that the children noticed!
By 10pm, the little ones were securely snuggled in their tents. As for the parent volunteers, they were just starting the nightshift. “Despite the strict bedtime curfew, it’s likely we’ll be chasing kids back to bed all night long!” laughed Toph, who added that “as everyone wakes with the light, we plan for an early start.”
Sunday’s agenda? Breakfast, more construction, and that essential part of the camping experience – packing up!
Why Summer Camp Rocks
- It brings kids together as a team
- The chance for children to sleep outdoors to the sounds of nature
- It teaches new challenges which can only arise in the wild
We ask: What’s your fave thing about ANZA Scouts?
“Putting up the tent today. I hope that when we pack up, we can remove the pegs and it will just fall down.”
“Making a sofa from comfy tyres. Sometimes my sister helps me but mostly it’s pretty easy.”
“How much fun you can have and how you can do silly things. Sometimes we go to museums with ANZA Scouts, but hanging out at camp is much better!”
“Eating marshmallows by the campfire. I’ve been with ANZA Scouts for one month. I’m the youngest in the cubs and I’m still waiting for my special activities suit.”
“This trip! It’s nice to get away and have fun.I joined Scouts because I haven’t done anything like this before. I wanted to make new friends, too.”
“I like making new friends and doing things together.”
“I love building things and doing fun stuff like that!”
“During Covid we did lots of activities online like building planes, but now we can do hikes and biking which is cool. I also like constructing things like pyramid structures.”
“This camp! Usually we have to do structured activities at Scouts, but here we can just goof around!”
Find out more at anza.org.sg/groups/scouts