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.
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
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
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
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