March 19, 2011

The camp experience

My principal handed me an office order stating that I was to attend a scout camp for four days away in the wilderness… I say wilderness because the camp was away from town where I had never been before though it was just about 20 kms from my place. Reading the order I realized that I had just about a few days to mentally prepare myself for the camp. I called the other colleagues mentioned in the letter and found out that we had to report to the Dzongkhag office in about three days time ( two days prior to the camp for planning). What the heck! My first reaction was to shout “to the hell with the camp in the middle of the academic session” and cancel my name from the list with a few calls but my friends suggested against it and I found myself sitting in the Dzongkhag office on the set date with the other participants cracking my brains out with the planning given the short period of time. Two days into the planning and preparation and on the third day I was driving through the dusty bumpy road into the wilderness. 

I drove for about an hour until I came to a diversion and followed the sign which read the location of our camp. As I drove through the rough farm road, the road got narrower and more difficult. It took me another fifteen minutes to reach the camp. I was greeted by a group of students (scouts) who showed me the way to the camp coordinator. The coordinator had arranged my lodging with the girls. I disposed my things and got in touch with my other colleagues because we had things to do before the all the students arrived. We went through the plan once again to check for any alteration.
By 5 O’clock in the evening, most of the scouts had arrived in the camp and they were briefed on the camp timing and the rules. They took note of all those and we gathered around the camp fire to start the camp. The scouts were very forthcoming and participated in the activities with zest from the very evening. We called off the day at 9.00 pm after dining together and I went to sleep surrounded by girls.
 The day one started at 6.00 am with the physical training and a formal opening ceremony with some guests. The activities continued till 9.30 pm with another campfire. Sitting around the camp fire the scouts showcased their talents in cultural programs. The schedule was very tight with few minutes break in between the sessions but it was worth it. The experiences gained were the experiences of lifetime. We got to interact closely with the scouts sharing ideas and imparting values. One of the scouts in my troop even mentioned that he learned the real meaning of being scouts in the camp. 

The third day was our hike day. We left the camp in different troops at different interval following the trail signs and the scouts sang on the way, taking note of their observation at the same time. Half way through the hike, our troop caught up with the first troop. They had lost the way. The group had missed some trail signs on the path and had taken an alternative route. We got back to the camp three hours later exhausted but contented. 

The last day at the camp was quite emotional. The camp ended when the scouts were just getting to know each other and in the evening as we sat by the campfire and sang the parting song, the scouts sheded tears.
I drove back home after dinner. It was 9.00 pm when I reached home to my waiting family.

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