Who’s sock is this?

I was never a Scout, Cub, Beaver, whatever.  Don’t know why, apparently my dad was involved in some respect, I only found this out after his death in the reaping that was 2016.  Sheesh, he was in good company that year – I think the same week did for Alan Rickman and David Bowie.  So I never really understood what it was all about.  I figured camping was involved, probably fires, knots were pretty important, singing.  Left-handed handshakes.  And Bear Grylls.   I spent the bulk of those years reading Tolkein, Donaldson, Aligheri, and Adams so my life might’ve been significantly different had I been involved in Cubs!

So after a couple of years of taking my kids to Beavers / Cubs / Scouts / Explorers, I answered their pack’s call for volunteers and joined 1st Thurlby as Assistant Leader to the Cubs section.  In hindsight, a few months (years?) as a parent helper might’ve been a good idea but I figure if you’re going to fill a Friday evening, might as well go all in.  The weekend just past was my first experience of a Cub camp.  And it was an experience.  2 nights at Walesby Forest Activity Centre with the whole of the Stamford and Bourne district…

Questions you find yourself asking…

  • Who’s sock is this?
  • No, really, who’s sock is this?
  • It’s got to belong to one of you six, there’s only been you in this tent this weekend?  Who’s sock is it?
  • Well, where did you last see your necker? (Or sleeping roll, or sleeping bag cover, whatever they’ve mislaid)
  • Has everyone got their packed lunch?
  • Were you not listening when I asked if everyone had their lunch?
  • Have you looked in your tent?
  • Have you really looked in your tent?
  • Is that it there?
  • Where’s my bed?  We were promised beds!

And many, many more.

Ah, the glamorous life of a Cubs pack leader on camp.  Sleeping under canvas, meeting new people, exploring new worlds and new civilisations.  Well, maybe not the last one.

There are things you’ll get used to:

  • Repeating yourself
  • Counting to 10 (or 100) in your head
  • Taking a deep breath and schooling your face before turning round
  • Head-counts
  • Being asked the same question a dozen times by 4 different Cubs
  • Never drinking a hot cup of tea (but I have a solution for that)
  • Doing what needs to be done, doesn’t matter who’s job it’s supposed to be

There are things you won’t get used to (or, at least I hope I won’t):

  • The thrill when one of “your” Cubs does something they didn’t think they could do
  • The thrill when one of “your” Cubs does something you most definitely couldn’t do! (I’m looking at the Leap of Faith here!)
  • Silence on the campsite (that’s just weird)
  • The sheer quantity of sweets 23 Cubs can consume
  • An earnest “Thank you” from someone you talked to
  • The wall of tiredness that hits about an hour after you get home

Would I do it again?  In an instant.  But next time, I’ll be better prepared.  I’ve got a personal kit list now to augment anything I’m given:

  • Camp bed – I’m too old to be sleeping on a roll on the floor.
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Tabasco / other chilli-based condiment of your choice

Long story short, if your local packs are looking for leaders and you think you might want to give it a go, do it.  Get involved.   I’m knackered, I ache in places I didn’t realise existed, and I can’t wait to do it again.

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