Back in October, I joined scouts again to do something that was special and important to me, and not follow anyone else. Due to the age range I wanted to work with, I joined the Newnham 11th/9th Explorer unit. Back in December, I sat with a group of five explorers to plan out this term. Last week, we planned an Ice Skating trip for the last session of the season for the rink. This week, we kicked off our camping theme with nothing other than… Fire.
The objective tonight was a simple one that we did several times at home: build a fire to burn a string that is one meter off the ground. Only rules are (i) nothing can touch/lean against the string and (ii) your structure must be on fire from the ground up. Simple enough, right? One older explorer was in charge of setting up and giving everyone the green light (and matches) to light their fires.
The night went fairly well, except for the kid who stepped on the nail from wood they broke down and the kid who got a piece of hot plastic on his ear… Who threw plastic into a fire anyway? The three groups fit one of each category that I expected to have…
First, you had the hard-core group, the group that wanted to build their own wooden fire starter and kindling by shaving a piece of wood. Their fire struggled to get started and in the end, I think they stole a burning log from the second group, the resourceful group. The second group quickly looked around, found cardboard and paper to use as kindling. Their fire got started quickly and burned through the strings quite easily. And then there was the third group, the ones who knew the objective was to burn the string and were only going to do just that. First, they tried to bring the fire to the string by building a platform out of pallets; they were stopped. So, they ultimately cut the string (claiming victory in the process), threw it into the pile of wood they had, and proceeded to light that on fire… They were the group who acted like kids.
After burning a sufficient amount of string, they cleaned up, went inside and played a few games before receiving their badges we owed them. I discussed plans for upcoming meetings with those responsible for the next few meetings and everyone was on their way… No one too hurt, no items too broken, and nothing left on fire or smoldering.
Ultimately, it was a good night. They had fun, they worked on something productive, and we dealt with what hiccups did arise (as unfortunate as it was). Hopefully, if they ever are in a situation where they need to build a fire, they can.