Two weeks ago I went with Kinsale Guides to Leigh Dale Cottage, Ballincollig, Cork, for the weekend.
It's a cute little cottage that has lots of vintage-looking furniture. The cottage is up the road from a few shops, which we jogged to on previous camps. It's in a rural area on the way to Blarney with lots of greenery around it.
This was very different to other weekends I'd gone on as there was a very small group of us (only 12 in comparison to about 20 on other
camps) and we largely stayed indoors whereas we would usually go on hikes and cook outside. There was a big age range - from 10 to 17 (including Senior Branchers).
This was my first camp as a Patrol Leader, which meant I was responsible for making sure all our jobs were completed sufficiently and that everyone in my Patrol was happy. It was a
very relaxing weekend full of arts and crafts. I really enjoyed it because I felt I got to know people really well over the weekend as there was such a small group.
When we arrived on Friday we had a junk fashion show - in our patrols we made very trendy outfits from recyclables. We made all sorts of clothes out of newspapers, cardboard boxes, straws and milk cartons. The
model in my patrol even had a unicorn horn! It was really good fun and you'd be surprised what you can make out of so called rubbish. We also made some very sparkly snowflakes from toilet roll - some of them were so fancy and detailed, they looked like we had bought them!
On the Saturday morning we did a
really cool activity where we filled out a survey about our current likes and dislikes, hobbies etc. When we finished writing, we put our surveys in an envelope not to be opened for five years. On the outside of the envelope we each wrote nice comments about each other. I really enjoyed this activity because everyone had such nice things to say about each other
and I can't wait to open it when I'm 18 to see what I used to be like!
On Saturday night we had an indoor campfire as it was too rainy to do it outside. We had a very cool fire made of candles in the middle of our circle. We sang songs that the Senior Branchers had learned on a previous camp. At the beginning of our campfire we enrolled two of our younger
Guides, which made it even better.
I really enjoyed this sort of camp, it was a lovely break from all the busyness that usually occurs at cottage. Our camps are usually very active and based outdoors. On our last visit to the cottage we went for a jog, cooked outdoors, had outdoor campfires, outdoor enrolments and did a lot more work and, obviously, on this one we hung out and did crafts.
Lots of the older girls had had exams during the week so it was lovely to have this break afterwards.
The food at the cottage was also different this year as the Patrol Leaders helped plan the menu. We abolished the traditional Guide stir fry and replaced it with pasta bolognese, which went down a treat! Not that we don't like stir fry but we thought it was time for a change! For dessert on Saturday we had chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and marshmallows, which we all adored!
I loved the Christmas and mindfulness theme of the weekend. I'd never been to cottage in the winter before. I hope we do this type of camp again because I think we all loved it!
Thank you so much to the Leaders who helped organise it and who put up with us for the whole weekend! This has been one of the best camps so far!
~ Sophie Cumiskey, Kinsale Guides