• Welcome Guest to the new look forum. For more information refer to this thread

Big camps


Veteran (100+ posts)
I'd never camped in my life til I fell into guiding two years ago! My first camp was the Malvern Challenge and I loved it! I've since taken my guides on a unit camp and to Strategy (the "replacement" for Malvern"), both of which were fun, especially Strategy. I also went to Peak as staff by myself, which was terrifying but brilliant.

For various reasons we don't camp as much as a unit as myself and GIC would like, and I found I enjoyed being there as staff without my own unit, so I was just working when I was on duty and then having down time when I was off duty.

Anyway... After my experience at Peak I've decided that I definitely want to do it again, but the next Peak isn't til 2020! so I'm looking at options closer than that. Is a big camp every year doable? Or would every other year be better to manage and keep it something to get excited about? I don't have any qualifications etc to do a specialist role (I'm working on my ALQ and have my basic first aid certificate).. I'm looking at Charnwood at the moment, any others that I should think about? I'm based in South Wales but happy to travel. I don't drive so need to be able to get there by train, and need staff catering as I lack skills and equipment to feed myself at camp for a week and would struggle to get everything there even if I did. I Would love to go overseas but money is the major issue stopping me and also that I'm rubbish at languages.


If you wanted to, you could go to several big camps every year - most are keen to get extra staff for a range of roles, many of which don't need specialist qualifications (there will always be a need for staff for crèche, catering, site services, shop/café, admin, as well as people to help the activity instructors). Transport need not be a problem, as they can often arrange pickup from the nearest train station. As you may have found, each camp will be a bit different in style - at some participants camp in unit groups and do their own catering, at others there are mixed subcamps with each subcamp doing it's own catering, to their own menu or a set one, at others there is central catering.

As for enthusiasm - that's something no-one can judge but you. Some people love big camps and would want to be going to one every year if they could, others prefer to keep it to something which comes round every few years. How many and how often also depends on how you are placed for availability during the summer, and for fees - although central fees are kept as near to cost price as possible, they still add up to a fair expense.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
Definatly doable, whether you want to for any extended period is another matter also whether as time goes by you are able to allocate the time from precious annual leave.

But 2016 is SS centenary so at least 2 Regions are running camps which will need staff. There is also a sub-culture of events which take place on a rolling programme so from memory there is Poacher (Lincolnshire), Norjam (Norfolk), Camjam ( Cambridgshire), Essex Jam... and you get the picture.. a lot are joint with Scouting and each will have it's own character. Following this each will have it's own followers giving the advantages.

So shop around, consider what it is that makes it for you and go for it... but take the time to introduce your own girls too. That is a different persepective and can be just as enjoyable.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Thanks both.

I'd love to take my girls to camp more often, but s lot of our current girls have tons of extra curricular activities and/or holiday homes so are hardly ever around when we do offer camps. There are a few very keen ones who are lovely but they also have other commitments like family visits or need a lot of notice to spread the cost. Booked far in advance suits me but not the other leaders who have different work commitments than I do and also have husbands and families to work around. I love taking them camping, getting to know them that much better and seeing them accomplish things they wouldn't have thought of otherwise. But I do find constantly being on duty to be very demanding and I'm someone who by nature needs time to myself.

I met several people at Peak who were going on to other camps! But I don't think I could do more than one week a year annual leave wise, as I also need to have time off for taking my own guides and brownies away (if we go Friday afternoon to Sunday I generally take the Friday off to get ready and go and the Monday off to recover), plus some for myself! Also money wise as while the cost is cheap for what it is (i think I paid about £95 for peak, fully catered and also got lifts to and from the station for free) added to train fares, it soon escalates!

I'd forgotten about SS centenary, sounds like next year is one to do something anyway! Having had such a great brownie centenary last year it would be nice to be a small part of helping the SS centenary.


SGP Enthusiast
EIJ (Essex International Jamboree) really is a fantastic camp, it gets aroun 10,000 members from around the world and really is an eye opener to international Guiding and Scouting. The catering is really good too (Yummmmmy)


Poacher 2017 is also a fantastic camp, much smaller than EIJ, but so much fun!


Veteran (100+ posts)
I would love to do EIJ, but its the school holidays.

But then dd is a Guide (could find a unit to stick her with??).

Anyone else planning on going?

I've never done camp before, but whilst dd was on county camp last month, I went and helped with a different sub camp - loved meeting other leaders.


Guide Guider
Another vote here for EIJ! You will find that big camps are in the summer hols, unless you find a Scottish one at the start of their summer hols.

I've been to EIJ staff twice now and had a great time, and I've been asked back next year to do the same role as last time.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I'm involved with Poacher on the Management Team and would 100% recommend it. It is based at Lincolnshire Showground just outside Lincoln and takes place in 2017. There is a full staff catering provision so you would be well fed!


Veteran (100+ posts)
Awesome to see so many people interested in internationals! Ive managed to go on 4 internationals in 4 years (and have 3 more planned in the next 3 years!). I got a 2nd job for a year, applied for grants and fundraised a bit but mainly just saved up. Ive made so many friends, learnt so many new skills and have so many worldwide friends (including UK scouts - heaven forbid!) Ive been Staff/IST for most of the trips but this year I took selected girls on a county trip and did homestay with foreign scouts which was really rewarding.

I saw that you applied for charnwood, so I'm probably too late to tell you about Roverway 2016. I can recommend WINGS in windsor but thats 2018/2019. If you're 23 or younger this year, you can sign up as a participant for Iceland Moot 2017 which is a truly global event. If you can manage to go on a trip abroad, there is nothing quite like it.

To keep up with international events, check http://members.scouts.org.uk/supportresources/3234/international-events they update it every 6 months, all events are open to guides and it lists all the big camps.


Veteran (100+ posts)
I did see about Roverway, but for cost reasons I'm trying to stick to UK based events, at least for now. I'm also too old to be a participant on anything as I'm 30 :( But I'm glad you're so keen! I met someone at Peak from Canada who has been doing various camps around the UK for the last month having an awesome time!


Beginner (10+ posts)
Hi turnip!

Another Peak Staff Member!

It was definitely a good camp. I was on Bar Staff, and it was my first time as Staff at a big camp. Where did you help out?

There is at least one big camp every year in the UK (and usually more than one), it just depends which county is doing what, so you'll definitely be able to stay local. If you're South Wales you should Google the camps of local counties to see whether one of them is doing it for that year. Generally they're every 4/5 years in a county.

Just looked at the Charnwood website and might see you there!



Charnwood Fan

Veteran (100+ posts)
DO come to Charnwood - I've been to every one since 1991 and wouldn't miss it - we camp right in front of Lord Crawshaw's Whatton House - Lord Crawshaw takes a real interest in the camp and comes to visit us daily - the site is beautiful, the activities will be exciting - and the sun is going to shine!!!! :)