Kathryn Benson describes her first experience of a WOW camp!
Despite having joined Guiding as a Brownie at 7 years old (more years ago than I like to admit), and going on pack holiday or camp almost every year since then, I had never been on an organised mass camp – until this summer. So, on the 22nd June St Julian’s Guides joined together with other Newport Guides from Pen-y-lan, Malpas and Pontir on the coach to Builth Wells to experience “All The Fun Of The Fair”.
Our first job on arrival at the Royal Welsh Showground was to set up our camping space. 4 tents and an event shelter later and our homes for the weekend were ready. A quick explore of the camp site followed before it was time to settle down for the night and prepare for an action packed, fun filled weekend.
A continental style breakfast of cereals and bread rolls, delivered to our sub camp early in the morning ready for collection, was enjoyed by all and set us up for the day ahead. A welcome opening ceremony brought together to 1500 people on site and launched the camp. The Saturday activities were a free flow for the girls who could choose what they wanted to do from the many options available, all split into four zones – the fun zone, creativity zone, challenge zone and adventure zone. As part of Green Sub camp the Guides started the morning with fast passes for the fairground rides in the fun zone, which meant that for the first session they could jump the queues. Other activities included as much craft as you could manage in the creative zone; the challenge and adventure zones allowed the girls to do activities that we are not able to offer as part of normal Wednesday night unit meeting. These included archery, zorb balls and football, street dance, bouncy assault course, foam pit, animal encounters with meerkats, lizards and a chameleon and human hungry hippos. The girls loved the freedom to choose what they wanted to do, and us leaders enjoyed the opportunity to wander around and see the girls enjoying themselves whilst experiencing new things; the only time we really saw the girls was over out sandwich lunch when we all gathered back at our camp to catch up.
Having spent the day enjoying the activities everyone was ready for the BBQ or hog roast tea on Saturday evening. After eating the girls had the option to go to a sing-a-long showing of The Greatest Showman, a band, or a quiz followed by bingo. Half of our Guides choose the quiz followed by bingo and the other half The Greatest Showman. They all thoroughly enjoyed their chosen evening entertainment and came back to camp afterwards bubbling with enthusiasm. All the exertion on the day meant that everyone slept well that night!
Sunday started with another continental breakfast delivered to our sub camp. Following this the girls split into smaller groups to go to their pre-decided activities. Our Guides took part in the Crystal Maze taking park in timed challenges to win crystals; got up close with owls and learning how they live, eat and are rescued; an interactive show with Techniquest exploring the mysteries of the fairground; and dodging the obstacles to be the last man standing; and the have a go area with zorbing and inflatable assault course. The weekend finished with all of the camp coming together again for the closing ceremony.
After a busy weekend in the glorious sun shine enjoying “All The Fun Of The Fair” and the wonderful things that WOW Camp had to offer it was time to head home. Everyone had a fab time in Builth Wells and we would definitely considered attending an organised camp like this again!