Blog | Braving the elements
Cub Scout parent, Alya Al-Khatib, remembers her daughter’s first ever Cub camp…
Into the wild
‘Was that lightning?’
It’s about 8pm, and I’m sitting by the lounge window at home; a shot of white light saturates my vision for a split second. Two hours ago I dropped my daughter off for her first Cub camp under canvas and now I am worrying about her out there, braving the elements.
My daughter has already been away from us on a couple of weekends so she was feeling pretty confident. So confident, in fact, that she almost forgot we were there to wave her off. The moment she saw her friend, she was running into the network of tents; we had to call her back to say goodbye. Then our little woodland creature turned and ran off – into the wild.
As we walked back to the car, my non-Cub daughter wished we were joining them. It was exciting walking through a woodland park on a warm summer evening to discover the clearing and the huge settlement of canvas structures. The entire district was together for the weekend, each group had its own ‘base camp’ and you could feel a real buzz in the air. So up until I thought I saw lightning race across the sky I was feeling fine about my little one out there.
I check my weather app – nothing more than a slight chance of showers tonight, it reassures me. OK – she’ll be fine. The Scout leaders have my number – if they’re not OK to camp, I’ll get a phone call and within minutes I’ll be picking her up and taking her home.
Calm and capable
I have to take a minute’s break from my parental paranoia to acknowledge just how amazing the volunteers really are. They are super organised, motivated, and are better leaders of people than you’d find in many workplaces. But what really surprised me is that they’re so young. Although some have been involved in Scouting for decades, the vast majority of the leaders at our Group are in their early 20s. And they’re so calm and capable – Scouting has really developed them as individuals.
Back to the paranoia…
It’s Sunday, and pick-up day comes before we know it. My little Cub Scout is there; she says she has had a brilliant time – we get a few snippets about the food (which always sounds delicious) and the night-time pranks that were played in the tents.
Then, weeks later, we’re having lunch with friends and I overhear her casually talking about her camping weekend. She speaks confidently about setting up and striking camp, before saying with a light-hearted chuckle, ‘And there was some thunder and lightning on the first night!’
I knew it! But clearly, I would have been more worried than she was. I think being a parent these days is tough – we’re acutely aware of all the risks our children could face. We naturally want to shelter them from it all. But to an extent, facing risks – and managing them – is what really prepares children for the future. Trips like these don’t just prepare children for the day they go off on life’s adventure; they prepare parents for the day they have to let them.
It doesn’t stop you from looking out for lightning, though.
Are you a volunteer, parent or both? Share your stories with us at stories.scouts.org.uk.