5th Brooklyn just held its first camp of the season, at Clarence Fahnestock State Park, one of our favorites.
The Otters camped on one of the group sites, and our Northern Timberwolf Pack set up on individual sites about four miles away. Our Pathfinder troop camped in a corner of our group site, and used their lashing skills to create a very cool obstacle course for our Otters to navigate.
Coming from the theater, I use a "Roses & Thorns" approach to post-mortems; it's important to recognize our victories at the same time that we find places where we could do better. Positive and negative feedback are both important as we strive to better ourselves. With that in mind, here are my first reactions to the past weekend:
- One of our leaders made a wooden chore chart to help our Camp Patrols keep track of their assignments. It was very cool, and helped set the tone.
- We disseminated a schedule to the parents and posted a laminated version at the kitchen. This was very helpful in keeping the weekend moving along.
- We broke out activities on that schedule and recruited help for each of them, so parent volunteers
- We also sent the parents a list of camp chores they could help with, and worked to make sure that we didn't have a lot of adults standing around.
- We tied our meeting activities in with camp activities (such as an introduction to Orienteering at the last meeting and more in-depth orienteering exercises at camp).
- We held a parent "get to know you" meeting after campfire on the first night. This was a great opportunity for new members to put names to faces, and for us to learn something new about people we've known for a while.
- I don't think we did the best job setting expectations for some of the basics; we had a hard time getting the Otters to wash their own dishes, and hang them in the nets afterwards. An "intro to camp" session (or document) would have helped.
- We didn't have an official photographer, so in trying to recapture the fun we're now at the mercy of whatever the parents happened to catch.
- We could have done more with the patrols. We ended up not doing skits because our Sunday hike was more strenuous than planned, so one of the major patrol-bonding experiences ended up not happening.
- On a personal level, I missed some of campfire on Sunday because I had to go to the Timberwolf camp for my scout. I don't know that I could have done anything differently, but it was still very frustrating to not be with the Otters at such an important time.
- Speaking on that Sunday hike, I set a trail for us that was much too ambitious. I mis-remembered a previous hike, and had to adjust on the fly. I've made notes in my camp journal about the trail that should make next year go much more smoothly.
More to come, this just my attempt to get initial reactions "on paper."