Fly Like an Eagle
...and they did, it was on the Giant Waterslide of Blissford, but… back to the beginning!
By six on Friday night it looked like an army was arriving and Harry the Camp Dog was waiting impatiently.
There is something magical for a small boy about arriving at Cub Camp for the first time. Who can guess what it will be like? You see them catapulting from the minibuses (x 3) with a mountain of gear. The ‘old hands’ swagger to to the Desert Rose and look about with easy familiarity.
We gathered in the Campfyre Circle and rather unlike Harry Potter’s Choosing Hat, the boys sorted themselves into groups of of three and four and then marched off up the hill to set up their tents while parents arrived and put up their own tents. The quiet lane filled with vehicles. Soon the field was full of a activity....alive with life and fun!
As the dinner started to cook on the fire, the Cubs set off, some 35 strong, with a long tail of Dads and Mums, to cross the stile and King John’s Ditch into the forest of Guillaume le Conquerant. They headed off to see Pitts Wood and the Bombhole left over from Barnes-Wallace’s experiments in bomb dropping, perfecting the device that would destroy the enemy Submarine Pens. It's quite a view from the top of Blissford Hill, surround by ferns and a few trees, 22 miles from the sea!
Then the tramping home, rollicking on as 35 tummies toll the dinner bell!
I think we were over 50 all told, and it took a bit of time to serve everybody but we had time for a quick singsong as dark embraced the campfire and the cocoa and brownies were consumed. There was time for a quick tale; Grey Owl (aka Archie from Hastings) and his audience with the Royal family and his recollection of trapping in the cold north; and then to sleep.
Mr. James our Science teacher, reckons there were a few alarms and diversions in the night but it was soon quiet again but for the hoot of the hunting owls.
Saturday brought croissants and sausages before loading the buses for the Hawk Conservancy, a magical intro to big predator birds. It is a wonderful place! We saw wonderful displays of flying and even had a chance to hold an owl!
We lunched there and then headed home for an hour or two of pretty determined soaring and gliding by the Cubs down the waterside before the chicken fajitas were ready followed by the all crucial s’mores and then some more singing and the dark tale of Colonel Wildbore-Smith, the thunderbox and the Lion with Great Green Glowing Eyes!
Sleep came very quickly and dawn too soon with the awesome task of emptying the tents of small people and their mountain of 'stuff' and assembling it in thirty odd portions for each owner and then adding the swimming gear! We also had to work our way through cereals, juice, eggs, bacon and toasted baps!
We marched the two thunderboxes to the septic, (a much coveted job) washed and packed the kit boxes with dozens of sporks, plastic plates and mugs ready for the next camp. This was followed by flag down in the sun with some of the Cubs perilously close to sleep where they stood.
We had a wonderful crew of parent helpers to whom go our grateful thanks for making it a great camp. Thanks, too, to Mr Spencer for a load of firewood which will keep the Cubs warm during this year's camps. See more pictures here.
The weather was kind to us this year for FSM’s Family Fun Day. The sun shone, parents arrived with picnics galore and there was not one moment in the afternoon when the inflatables weren’t being bounced upon or targets shot at!
The main event this year, however, was Mr Hartley’s Ice Bucket Challenge! With numerous nominations (not least from Mrs Hartley) the time had come for him to face the challenge. Some of our year 8 girls made sure that the water was as cold as it could be and the privilege of tipping the bucket went to the highest bidder!! See some pictures here!
Watch the video to see how he got on.
Mr Hartley has decided not to nominate anyone (I think the list was too long) but instead would prefer donations to be made to a charity close to his heart, Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are able to help and would like to donate then please follow the link to Mr Hartley’s JustGiving page. Watch him here!
To launch our new Cub season, we whisked the boys off to our campsite in the New Forest for an evening of fun and food around the campfire. Of course, we had to have the all important S'MORES just to get them in the mood for the camp coming up next weekend. With 40 boys on the roster, it will be a busy and exciting year ahead! See some pictures here.
The boarders were divided among the fantastic staff to compete in some fun ‘ice breaker’ relays out on the field. Each relay had all children involved as well as the staff. Their mission: to win as many races as possible so they could gain the most materials to keep their egg safe from…the egg drop!
From the first whistle all the girls and boys were running like ducks and monkeys, dressing up like scarecrows, hopping like kangaroos and spinning like Tasmanian devils, all in the name of fun! The shrieks and cries of laughter from the children will, I am sure, have been heard in Fordingbridge!
All the children enjoyed the relays and it was great to see the older ones looking after our younger boarders. They were all chatting with each other, discussing tactics on how they could do better in the next race! With most of the relays complete, the points were tight between the nine teams! It all came down to the yogurt eating competition to see which teams would get the most or least amount of materials to protect their egg. The children had to eat a yogurt as fast as they could to win! Some managed to eat it quite gracefully, others attempted the hard and fast version which saw yogurt smeared across smiling faces!
At last, the final competition for the night, the egg drop! Each group got their materials and they had 10 minutes to show their creative prowess, and engineer a safe vessel for their egg to travel from Mrs Cowper’s balcony to the grass below. There were some fantastic models but also some scrambled eggs, not quite surviving their flight!
The children had a fantastic evening, and all went to bed with big smiles on their faces having met some new friends in the boarding house. See more pictures here.
For many, Project Week is the exciting culmination of a brilliant school year. It combines the passion and expertise of the teachers with the enthusiasm and energy of the children...and what a winning combinationthat is! Please enjoy some of the photos in the galleries.
Our young animal lovers enjoyed a week looking at all sorts of animals and learned how we can protect some of the world’s endangered species. Some of our creative children enjoyed a week of music, dance and art from different countries whilst young adventurers braved the elements and learned all about bushcraft. There were physical challenges too with hiking in the Peak District, surfing in Cornwall and cycling through Hants and Dorset. Our history buffs headed to Wales to study castles while keen geographers flew to Iceland to study tectonics, glaciers and try out their photography skills. We took advantage of our proximity to the sea and looked and fins and fossils and a group of keen linguists travelled to Belgium to spend a week with their pen friends. Our Year 8s ended their Prep School career during a happy week together in Cornwall.
I think you will agree that the breath and scope of opportunity is wonderful, the children gain so much through these rich experiences. Plans are already afoot for 2015 and we can’t wait!