Tradition of the under canvas camp

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As school holidays loom large so too do BB camps and I look forward to hearing what innovations come to the fore.

Although much of BB camping is traditional and time tested for Christian fellowship and everyone getting to know each other better, alongside teamwork and exploration, there are always some new-tried activities which just catch the imagination. As always in most spheres these just evolve as time and trends move on. Some are successful and others, once tried, are just put down to experience. Nothing however, as William Smith discovered a few years after founding the movement in 1883. He felt camping was a way to get to know boys and bond with them for a whole week instead of just a couple of hours a week. He met with opposition as families from Glasgow were unsure about their boys sleeping rough in the country alongside all the farm animals and vagaries of the weather. After tentative beginnings in farm buildings to allay some of these fears, canvas camping soon became established. When boys came home full of enthusiasm about such experiences there was no way back and so it continues even in the face of Mediterranean family holidays. One early departure from the town activities was Smith introducing sailing, something from his own background with which he was familiar. Having had various BB camping experiences as a boy, an officer and more recently as occasional visitor, I’m always pleased to hear of new venues. Such is the case from the skipper at 1st Falkirk who relates of his Junior Section end-of-session trip to The Heads of Ayr Farm Park. Despite the weather forecast, the experience was dry and allowed the boys to fully explore and enjoy the outdoor activities which included jumping pillows, trampolines, zip-wire, digger land, the frontier fort, ringo sledging and of course on a farm, feeding animals. Inside ploys included wavy slides and the almost vertical giant slide.