Saturday, 21 November 2009

Treasure Island

We survived the night being tossed on the high seas in our pirate ship. Our static caravan had coped with the 80 mph winds admirably. We donned our bandanas and sailed through the puddles, battered by the wind and torrential rain, to muster in the Camp’s Theatre. The room was filled with Brownies all brimming with excitement and beaming at the Leaders dressed in their Pirate garb, one complete with a parrot on their shoulder. We heard that the bonfire was sodden; the fields were water-logged; the golf course was flooded; the paddle-boats submerged and the ceiling of the Bonga-Wonga had fallen in. Were we down-hearted? Of course not! Contingency plans were in place and everyone was going to have a wonderful time.

Amazingly, we did! The week-end was filled with activities, games, competitions, singing, dancing, and entertainment. The Guiding Association had ensured that Tilly, and other Brownies with any additional need, could access all of the fun. No one was left out. The Saturday night party was a highlight with everyone dressing the part. Our Brown Owl was one of the shining stars as she came as Captain Hook, complete with curly black wig, hook and crocodile! Tilly danced herself dizzy and even needed a top-up of power for her electric wheelchair.

On Sunday, following a swimming session, we found ourselves on the beach in the sunshine. We had taken Tilly’s “All-terrain” buggy, and with the help of Brown Owl Tilly dipped her wheels in the sea! Having spent most of my childhood on Barry Island, and now living in land-locked Staffordshire, there is something quite magical about being on a beach. The Brownies’ shrieks of joy mingled with the cries of the gulls and the rush of the waves. We’d landed on Treasure Island!

The journey home was painless and relaxed as one of the Leader’s husbands had brought along a functional suction unit to keep Tilly safe from choking should she succumb to travel sickness. This wonderful gentleman also transported Tilly’s additional equipment home again making all the difference to our load. All of our needs were addressed at every turn, and it felt really good.

Winding our way back home through the dark majestic countryside I contemplated how much work these amazing people had put in to make the Brownie’s Treasure Island Camp such an astounding success. I marvelled at their devotion, commitment and care. I’d had no real idea before of how much these inspiring volunteers give. It was a privilege to be part of such an adventure.

During the Camp I was honoured to receive a badge to become a Guiding Ambassador. I accept the role with genuine relish and sincerely hope that I have managed to convey how brilliant I think they all are.

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