This is an activity that has been around for at least 30 years, but newer leaders don't seem to be aware of it. To see the original, find a copy of The Waratah March 1978, page 11.
This activity, which takes place at a normal Guide meeting, is designed to give your new girls a taste of camp, and also allows the leaders to assess how prepared the girls are to go to camp.
The Unit programme in the weeks before this should have taught the girls several traditional camping skills:
how to do a bedding roll
how to square lash and make camp gadgets
how to lay and light a fire and cook on it
If you usually use lanterns or other camp lighting that needs special care or knowledge to operate, you should have covered that as well.
Note to Guides the week before
We are going on a (pretend) camp next Monday night. Please bring with you:
your bedding roll - make sure it is waterproof and tied correctly
your pyjamas, bedsocks and beanie
your mess kit (with plates, knife/fork/spoon, mug, teatowel, napkin, gloves for washing up)
gadget cord - at least 5 metres
one sausage in a plastic bag (you will cook this at "camp")
one lantern or light
three pieces of wood suitable for a camp gadget (if your Unit does not already have a stash)
- your camp blanket (NOT tied up in your bedding roll!)
- a backback or soft bag to carry everything except your bedding roll
||Arrive at camp. In patrols, make either one tent gadget that will hold everyone's gear, or a tripod per person, to hold the bedding rolls. Once the gadgets have been made, put all your gear on them.
Make a small fire and cook your patrol's dinner on it. When it is cooked, blow "Cookhouse" on your PL's whistle. Sing grace and sit in a circle to eat it. Invite a leader to share your meal. Make sure you have a billy of water on your fire to heat the washing up water as you are eating.
Wash up after you have finished eating.
||Turn off the hall lights and light the lanterns.
||Put on your campfire blankets, and sing a few songs around a campfire.
||Put on your pyjamas and bedsocks over your clothes. Put your shoes on your gadget. Undo your bedding rolls and get into bed. Sing Taps. Turn off the lanterns. GO TO SLEEP! (This usually elicits massive snores from the experienced campers!)
||Turn the hall lights on. Wake everyone up. Everyone gets dressed, packs their bags and places them on the gadgets. Shoes on. Air bedding. Remake bedding rolls. Get bedding rolls inspected.
||End of camp/meeting. Closing ceremony and debrief.
By the end of the programme, the leaders should have a fairly good idea of the level of preparedness of each Guide. Remedial training can then be scheduled if necessary.
If you do this programme a couple of weeks, or up to a month before a camp, you will have time to fix all the skill deficiencies, including the bedding rolls!
If you have more time, you could include the following activities:
Bedding roll checks
Get everyone in a circle. Pick up the closest (or messiest) bedding roll, and throw it around the circle. This emulates what can happen at large camps where gear is thrown onto and off trucks in a hurry. The idea is to see how well tied each bedding roll is, and to make sure they are all waterproof. If you test them before camp, you will not have wet bedding at camp.
Erect a tent
Girls (and leaders!) need to practise erecting tents before they go to camp. You can do this in lots of interesting ways:
have a peg bashing relay
have a patrol competition to see who can erect the tent the fastest
blindfold everyone in the patrol except the patrol leader, who gives the instructions (tests her leadership skills, too!)
erect the tent in total silence (this tests the girls' teamwork and communication skills)
Fires and cooking
Each patrol could cook one course of a communal meal, then everyone sit together to eat it.