Over 100 years ago Baden Powell our founder said "Camp is what the boy looks forward to in Scouting". Today if you ask any of the girls and boys joining Scouts, why they want to join the majority of them say "they want to go camping". Scouting has always been and still is about being outside and learning by doing.
Our amazing volunteer leaders use the Scouts inspiring programme to give our young people Skills for Life and so many of these skills can be learnt by taking part in a Scout Camp. For over 80 years Salisbury Scouts had the privilege of using a piece of Woodland called Great Yews. Situated about 2 miles outside Salisbury Great Yews was a place where the Scouts of all ages could go for an evening, a day, a week, in their hundreds or just a group of six in a Patrol. Camping, Bivouacking, Sleeping under the stars, Cooking, Firelighting, Woodcraft, Playing wide games, Camp Fire singing, Gadget making, tracking, climbing a tree and many more activities too numerous to mention could be done. The big advantage was they could make as much noise as they liked, light fires and burn sausages without causing a nuisance to any one in a safe but exciting environment.
Sadly three years ago the owners of the wood informed us that they needed to use it for commercial purposes not compatible with young people being present and we had to stop going there. Weekend and overnight camps stopped, teaching and practicing the skills associated with living in the outdoors became more difficult. A decision was taken that it was time that our District bought it's own Campsite and Training Ground.
A small group of leaders got together and came up with an outline plan to raise £150,000 and purchase about 2 acres of land just outside Salisbury. The proposal was shared with the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer Scouts, Leaders and Parents at an open meeting, and following their agreement the Campsite Quest Project was started.
We started with nothing and for two years our young people, their leaders, parents, families and friends have been fundraising. Quiz nights, Car boot sales, Pumpkin Carving, Raffles, 100m of 50p pieces, Sponsored canoe races, cycle rides, hikes and climbs, Competitions, Personal challenges, Group challenges, Worm charming, Car cleaning, Exploding water melons, Sweepstakes etc. are just some of the activities they have undertaken. So far they have raised £50,000 towards our total and they have had a phenomenal amount of fun at the same time. As we embarked at the beginning of 2020 on the next round of fundraising Covid-19 came along and all our fundraising activities have had to be put on hold. We have managed a few online events but nothing like our original plans. Then along came Aviva who invited us to join their Community Fund Programme.
Once the world returns to normal we plan to carry on working to raise funds for our dream but if you can help us with a donation no matter how large or small we would be extremely grateful. Every penny gets us a little closer to seeing young people enjoying themselves in the great outdoors, getting closer to nature, making friendships that last, discovering new talents, making memories that last a life time, learning skills that they can use as they grow and become citizens of our society. From every single member of Salisbury and South Wiltshire Scouts, THANKYOU.