This weekend was the Crew's first overnight camping trip. The crew did a 10 mile bike ride in September. In October, we did a shakedown hike for a planned AT backpacking trip. Unfortunately, the trip had to be cancelled because several of crew members who panned to go couldn't make it for valid reasons (severe cold, death of relative, injury on a 50 mile bike ride the weekend before, etc.) and the weather looked awful (40s and raining all weekend).
So our November trip was going to our council camp and doing the COPE course. We only had 5 out of the 9 crew members but it was great. The first morning was a little bit of chaos because they woke up late and weren't working together to get breakfast ready. They ended being around 20 minutes late for the start. A good lesson that the adults will not step in to wake up the venturers or to tell them how to do things.
The COPE course got them working together as a team and really taught some good lessons -- listen to everyone / speak up if you have an idea, the adults will not tell you what to do and will let them fail, you suceed when you work together, best to plan, evaluate and then execute. It was interesting to see when our Crew of 5 got paired with another larger combined Crew / Troop for the last activity that our Crew's leaders just took charge. One of the things I said at our meetings and on the COPE course seems to have stuck because I heard one of the Ventures saiy it to the group.... "In Venturing, you all are leaders."
As they moved to the High Cope (ropes) course, it was amazing to see their scout spirit. Our president went first up one of the courses but there was a younger scout going at the same time. Our President was to the top of the first element in seconds but she came back down to help the other scout up -- almost lifting up some rungs and letting him use her knee to get up others all while encouraging him. My son did something similar when the person he was climbing with couldn't make the last rung. The Crew members were the only group that didn't have people standing around -- when they weren't on the course they were belaying.
When they got back to camp, they worked as a team to get firewood, get water, cook dinner, make a fire and wash dishes. Although there was a little issue with the fire taking too long to start (how many Venturers does it take to start a fire?) while the other two were stuck doing all the dishes, they managed to handle the situation pretty well. You could tell that by the end of the night, they had bonded as a crew. They were all asleep by 9:30.
Sunday morning was clear and sunny and the Great Master of All Scouts was smiling on the Crew. They woke up, had hot chocolate and coffee sitting at a picnic table. Two of them cooked the sausage while the other three packed their gear and then the other tree cooked the french toast while the other two packed the gear. They ate breakfast sitting together at the table (wait, scouts actually can do that ?)), set a record for doing dishes (12 minutes) and were packed up and read to go. The whole crew went together to get the campmaster to inspect the camp.
In our After Action Review, they talked about what went wrong on Saturday morning and with the dishes on Saturday night and how thing went right on Sunday. The best comment was, "I wish the rest of the Crew was here, we really learned a lot this weekend."
Looking forward to December's trip.