As part of celebrating the completion of a guide’s Baden Powell award each girl can attend a weekend away. Kent Weald organise two each year with Tonbridge Division organising the latest one. For our weekend we had 20 girls join us from both Kent Weald and other counties including 2 guides from Belgium. I was joined by 2 Guiding colleagues and friends Hannah and Sharon from Tonbridge Division.
The weekend involved a 2-day visit to Port Lympne Reserve with an overnight stay in the glamping pods. We all met in the carpark, then wandered the park looking at a variety of animals including Rhinos and Gorillas. The girls had some free time to explore on their own, then we met ‘Karl the Keeper’ who explained about the conservation projects that were going on at Port Lympne and abroad. The weather was glorious – cold drinks and ice creams were on the menu and that was just the leaders!
We booked into the pods and gave the girls time to chill and relax. Each pod accommodated 4 and came equipped with bedding and had such luxuries as electricity perfect for charging the phones! Bev Pearce our County BP Advisor then lead a session on things that the girls could do after moving on from Guides, as well as the activities they had done in completing their BP award, which included cake sales, exercise evenings and projects raising awareness of plastic within the oceans.
Following this, we had a BBQ feast excellently catered by Sharon, (we were definitely not hungry for the rest of the night), the girls voting the BBQ as their best meal of the weekend. We then moved into the “clubhouse” for 20 questions. This had several aims 1) to keep the girls amused and 2) keep them from disturbing the other campers. We had planned to gather round the campfire but as this was a shared site there was several couples trying to have a romantic evening watching the dying embers of the fire which we thought might be spoilt by 20 teenagers joining them!
Following a peaceful night, we woke around 7am, had a shower (!) and breakfast. The last day went very fast we had a safari trip in a lorry around the park seeing such animals as zebras and giraffes. It was very bizarre seeing all these animals that you would expect to see in Africa actually in the Kent countryside. Again, this was voted the best activity of the weekend.
After our safari, we had sufficient time before the girls were being collected to go to the café for a drink and snack. It was then my role to procure 20 portions of chips. Chips consumed, the last activity was to walk back to the cars and say farewell to the girls. They all had a fantastic time and it is definitely something I would do again.
BP Weekend Lead