Coffee, Mud, and Camping: Patrol Leader Training Camp

PL Camp Day 1 (Saturday, as told by Dearbhla):

Of course, my recall will not be completely accurate, as I overslept and started camp at 11am rather than 10am. The one thing I was not expecting – and quickly became aware of – was the mud. Soooo much mud, as I spent most of the weekend falling (or being pushed…) over. Several unsuccessful attempts to get Marlon covered resulted in me getting even muddier.

Setting up camp

Setting up camp

The whole weekend was centered on training the Patrol Leaders and was set up in a cozy survival campy way. We set up our shelters and got the fire going, before getting invloved in some command tasks (to focus on teamwork and communication). The last task was pretty much a race to see who could get down a muddy hill fastest – while blindfolded. The next activity was a combination of drying off and planning our own command tasks for later in the summer term.

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Command tasks

In the evening we practiced setting up the climbing wall. After clambering over the fence (Marlon didn’t have the keys with him), Leah (unintentionally) showcased a snazzy bum slide abseil technique and Megan took great pleasure in climbing barefoot, because she is a natural ninja (also displaying her fabulously blistered feet).

The rest of the night was spent cooking upside down pineapple cake in the Dutch oven (yum?) and mac and cheese (YUM). After a wide game we settled around the fire and entertained ourselves with stories of Marlon’s youth (a stretch of the imagination, I know), before finally heading to bed.

PL Camp Day 2 (Sunday, as told by Carina)

On Sunday morning we woke bright and early to find the fire lit and the smell of coffee already in the air. Some of us chose to savour our sleeping bags, while others sat huddled around the fire, discussing ways to wake up Marlon (“Let’s tell him his tent’s on fire…!”). Eventually, however, the promise of a good old cup of tea did the trick and we got round to making breakfast. Mark speedily fried some bacon, while Marlon showed off his bread toasting skills.

The all important coffee

The all important coffee!

After breakfast it was time for some ‘Sunday schooling’ from Marlon as we went through the stages involved in planning a camp – as we soon found out it’s more complex than you might expect.

Following a quick break, we then started discussing the plan for the summer term. We compared the merits of climbing, water fights and first aid training, and managed to decide on a variety of activities.

Planning the summer term

Planning the summer term

After that there was not much left to do, besides pack up our personal kit, take down the shelters, and eat the rest of the biscuits. Taking care to uphold the ‘leave no trace’ principle we dismantled camp, and eventually headed home, leaving nothing but muddy trails behind us.

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