Harisa Rohaya bt. Hamzah
On 24 July 2016, Girl Guides from Kolej Yayasan Saad embarked on a long-haul journey to the United Kingdom to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime Charnwood International Guides and Scouts Camp in Leicestershire.
We left Malaysia on an Emirates flight to Heathrow Airport with a transit in Dubai International Airport. Upon arrival at Heathrow airport, we were all tired but we quickly made our way to visit the UK Girl Guides Headquarters near Buckingham Palace. After that, we had our dinner at Pax Lodge, one of the five Girl Guides centres. This is followed by a short campfire.
On the following day, we had a complete tour of the historic London city, visiting the London Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace where we witnessed the changing of guards ceremony too. We were also given the opportunity to shop around Piccadilly Circus after lunch.
The next day, we had a full-day tour at Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. The Island has a history of the founder of the scouts movement, Lord Baden Powell. We were given a tour of the whole island and we also had a short hike up to the peak of the hill on the island. The hike was totally worth it as we got to witness the breathtaking view of London.
The last day of tour was spent at the prestigious Oxford University. We were given a tour around the campus by a helpful tour guide who told us stories and facts of this world class institution. As soon as we were done touring for an hour or two, we bought souvenirs for our loved ones who are back at home, and headed to Leicestershire, the venue of the camp. When we arrived, we were separated into decade-themed sub-camps – the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. We then pitched our tents and cooked lunch. While we were eating lunch, we had an ice-breaking session with the hosts and other campers. That night the opening ceremony was held to welcome all participants who came from around the globe.
The camp had many types of activities to keep us occupied. For the first day we had an activity called “1000 Star Challenge” where we had to do mini activities in groups to collect stars for our subcamps. These stars entitled us to receive coupons for the fair that night. The more stars collected, the more coupons.
The next day, we had “The Baden Powell Challenge” where we had to do stuff the basic way, for instance lighting up fire with only wood and stones. We also willow-weaved and chopped wood. These activities can help us survive in the woods when the need arises one day.
The following day, we had our Offsite Activity where we were all separated to do our own activities that we chose. For example, some people chose bus caving, some chose fishing and others chose hiking. There were so many activities to choose from other than the ones stated. It was a fun day.
Not forgetting we had an activity called the Diversity Channel Programme which had 4 zones – the craft zone, international zone, performing arts zone and world zone. These zones offered different types of activities following its theme. We also had a challenge called the subcamp challenge where we were also separated into teams to do mini activities with participants in our campsite.
The next day at camp was dedicated to the very own Charnwood theme park named “Extreme 16”. This theme park offered so many attractions such as go-kart racing, flying fox, bungee trampoline, water wars and many more. That night we had the closing ceremony and we were entertained by many performances. One of the performances was a dance routine by The Malaysian Dance Team which included Khadra Azrul from Form 1.
On the last day of camp, 7 August 2016, we had mixed feelings of going back as we were sad to leave the camp but happy to be back home. As soon as we had packed our bags, we left right away to Birmingham Airport and had our lunch. We then boarded our flight and had a transit at Dubai International Airport before continuing our flight to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
All in all, we are extremely grateful to be given this opportunity to attend an international camp like Charnwood. The camp has given us so many memorable experiences and unforgettable memories such as freezing in our tents during the night, learning different cultures and trying new food. Lastly, we hope the girl guides from Kolej Yayasan Saad will be inspired to join camps like these in the future as the benefits are absolutely wonderful.