Mystery Theme Event

Story to start campout

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine they lay down for the night and went to sleep.  Some hours later Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.  "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."  Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."  "What does that tell you?", asked Holmes.  Watson pondered for a moment and replied, "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.  Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are small and insignificant.  Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.  What does it tell you?"  Holmes answered, "Watson, you idiot, it tells me that someone has stolen our tent."

Toe Tag game (Make the other girl a double agent)

We managed to get the tents raised - six in total and began our program. We started by reviewing rules etc. then began a game where each girl was given a toe tag with another girls name on it. We told them they were all spies and that they had to try and persuade the enemy agent to become a double agent and work for their country too. They could do this by finding the girl alone and saying "gotcha". The girl would then have to surrender her toe tag and the first would try and catch the girl who's name was on it. Several wrinkles quickly developed and we adapted the game as we went along. The girls loved it and we played it again the next day.

Making their own tools - decoder wheels, Morse code, trail signs

Next we had them make decoder wheels so they would be able to read secret messages. They were given two pre-labeled wheels to cut out, glue on to cardboard and assemble and another sheet with instructions on how to use them. This took some explaining. They were also given a sheet with Morse code and a sheet with trail signs.

Skit based on Sherlock Holmes

We had campfire next as it wasn't yet dark enough for our night hike. Two of the third year girls presented a skit based on Sherlock Holmes and Watson being under the stars camping and pondering the meaning of life with Watson getting very verbose and Sherlock deducing they were out under the stars because their tent had been stolen.

Night hike, poem

Next we did our hike with Night Eyes. I used a poem I got off the list some time ago and reflective tape to make 15 cards up. The poem was about a large scary cat who was leading them to a treasure. Before we left, our mascot Pickles was given to the youngest first year girls for the night, with instructions to leave her in the tent so she'd be safe. The hike went beautifully with the night eyes being very effective.

Snack - Sweet tortilla rollups

We came back to a treasure of a snack - tortilla roll-ups - an idea gleaned from the CM99 menu - tortilla's buttered, sprinkled with brown sugar, cinnamon and a choice of different nuts, rolled a fried on a slightly oiled griddle.

Troop mascot kidnapped, ransom note left

Everyone was getting ready for bed when the first year tent realized that Pickles had been kidnapped and there was a ransom note made up of words clipped out of a newspaper (this was done in a great hurry by me at 1 a.m. the night before!) They wanted to go out on the trail and search right away, but we persuaded them they had to wait till morning.

Breakfast menu, then canoeing for half the group

Next morning we had people awake as early as 4 a.m. We did not rise then however. Breakfast was cook eggs your way, muffins, fruit and hash browns.  This was followed by patrol duties, clean-up gadgets etc. We split the girls into two groups for canoeing. Nine went in the morning and six in the afternoon. My co, a parent and my hubby (who had driven up for the day) went with the canoeists. We had absolutely wonderful weather so the girls saw things at their best. They were lucky enough to see a beaver - fairly unusual in daylight. When they were at the dock their was another NLS lifeguard there acting as the waterfront person for some Pathfinders who were canoeing. They were far out of sight so she agreed to watch our girls for a quick dip in the water.

Straw weaving, Mystery Scavenger Hunt for other half of group

I stayed behind with the QM and two other leaders and six girls (no problems with ratio here!). We taught them straw weaving and everyone was quickly addicted. We also sent them on a mystery scavenger hunt. All the items were  things to be found in nature except one. Example - a page of a book, an old fashioned pen. One was something you start a fire with that isn't a match.  This really stumped them as whatever they came up with we suggested - ok - now try starting a fire. Finally we gave them a magnifying glass and they experimented with starting a fire. It worked almost too easily!!! Then we discussed how you couldn't just leave a magnifying glass lying out or it might be a fire hazard.

Clues in code to find mascot

While all this was going on, I was writing more clues in code (as discreetly as I could) that would lead the girls around to look for Pickles. One went with the canoeists so they would find a message in a bottle. I used a number of different codes, some of which they had been told about, some which they figured out on their own. I was impressed with how quickly they decoded them.

Lunch menu

When the canoeists came back we had make your own pizza's and chocolate fondue for lunch. The tester was there at this point and was very impressed with how well the camp was going. The girls wanted her to stay till campfire! She said I passed no problem and that it was an excellent camp with the girls obviously enjoying themselves.

Groups switch - canoeing & camp activities

After lunch the second group left for canoeing and we repeated the morning activities with the first group. The third year girls went off biking.  Fortunately one of our Junior leaders had come along at the last minute and she had first aid so helped us meet that criteria.

Dinner, More clues to find kidnapped mascot

Supper was tin foil meals with cupcakes baked in a tin foil stove. Most of the girls had never seen one before and were quite skeptical as to how it would work. They were quite impressed. Shortly before supper, one of the clues led them to the kitchen area and Pickles sleeping bag hanging from a line with a salt cellar in it. The QM's campname was Salt, but it took them awhile to clue in, so she grabbed Pickles from the hiding place, wrapped her in foil, gave her to me and told me to go cook her on the fire for her supper. I put her on the very edge of the coals and told the girls they had  to save her life! It was a riot!!!!

Morse code name bracelets

While supper was cooking the girls made morse code bracelets out of gold wire and seed beads. They spelled out their name and it really looked very sharp!

Kangaroo court for various made up offenses

After supper and clean-up we had kangaroo court. The third year girls acted as judge and lawyers and various people - especially leaders - were tried and found guilty. I thought the punishments were very light. Mine was to plan a camp next year. The first years who didn't sleep but talked had to sing rock-a-bye- baby at bed-time.

Sugar to make campfire "roar", charades game

Campfire was quite impressive with lots of sugar used to make the flames roar. The first year girls did one skit, then we sent the third years out and when we called them back told them to act out things like sitting on a bucking bronco. What they didn't know was that we'd told the rest of the group that what they were really doing was showing us how they sat on a toilet. It was hilarious and the girls were very good sports. They were tired, so it was bed by 10:15 or so and they settled down right away. The leaders stayed up by the fire and watched the raccoons come in and do a "scavenger hunt" for anything we might have left lying around.

Breakfast hidden and girls use trail signs to find

Next morning we were up early and started pulling down tents even before everyone was up. We had an 11 a.m. pick-up scheduled so knew time was tight.  The girls got up at varied paces, so we had the early risers pack and get their gear out onto a tarp. Meantime, several of the leaders had been out setting up trail signs for where the different breakfast components would be hidden. When everyone was up they went for it. We had five stops - cereal in zip- locks, muffins, milk in individual servings, juice in bottles and banana's.

Bev Walkling, 32nd Sarnia Guides