This is not a post about little plastic items on the end of a piece of string.
It is in fact a post about a lie.
YOYO was a Guiding activity weekend for Senior Section and adults, held at Foxlease Training and Activity Centre. YOYO stands for “You’re Only Young Once”.
Which is clearly a lie.
You can be young as many times as you want, as some of the adults at the event proved several times over.
But I digress.
YOYO was the most fun I’ve had in years. What made it so good?
Was it the fact that I didn’t have to chase children around to check they were ok? Or the fact that I could take my turn on the activities without feeling any guilt at not going last? Perhaps.
It might also have been the fact that I love Foxlease.
Or that the organisation team did an amazing job at fitting just the right amount of stuff in – I was never bored, but never rushed either.
It could have been that the catering team were perfectly timed. And made perfect eggy bread (both mornings!).
It might also have been that I have an exam in a week’s time and this was the perfect escape from revision. I even managed to go a couple of hours at a time without thinking about it.
Suffice it to say, it was brilliant. For whatever reason, I’ve not smiled so much for ages.
What did I actually do, I hear you ask?
On Friday when we arrived, before almost anything else happened, I went for an explore with Koala and Polar Bear, who were both at Foxlease for the first time. About a minute into the walk, I saw a bright orange t-shirt sitting outside a little dome tent, and concluded that Limestone-and-Lava-Girl (aka Jem) was exactly where she said she would be. Always fun to meet a fellow blogger, and even better when they turn out to be just as friendly in real life as they are online.
Then there was a quiz. Pub quiz style, we started with General Knowledge, moved on to Music, and Geography, a True/False round, and the Picture round.
The best part was, they were all Guiding questions, so most of us managed to answer at least a few, if not most of them.
General Knowledge included such delights as “what year did we stop being the Guide Association?”, “what does WAGGGS stand for?”, and “who is the patron of Girlguiding?”.
Music was, I think, the best round. It was all campfire songs! Even marking that round was fun… although it went on a little while because we kept getting distracted.
Geography was the hardest round. What county is Broneirion in? And no, Wales is not a county. What county is Netherurd House in? At least a few of the questions were easy – a country for Pax Lodge, and a county for Foxlease!
The Picture round was all badges – some modern and some not so modern. Did you know, there used to be a Farmer badge, and a Basket Weaver badge?
After the quiz, we mostly went to bed (although I got a little distracted on the way looking at the stars). I was staying in the Tented Village, which I was quite impressed by. I’ll be writing a separate post about that.
There were four activity slots on Saturday. I did Fencing, Geocaching, Back Woods Skills, and Social Media for Pros.
Fencing was lots of fun. I’ve done a little before, with the Brownies. We didn’t really progress past basics with them. This was all older girls, though, so we zipped past standing right, holding the foil, and basic thrusts and parries, and went straight in to fighting people.
And then we fought in teams of different sizes, and then we did a last person standing fight to the death, and then we all ganged up on the instructor. Good times were had by all.
Geocaching, for those who don’t know, is like a giant treasure hunt where your only clue is some GPS coordinates. Foxlease has a number of private geocaches on site which we were sent off to find. We got most of the way through them and in the process had a good explore of the estate.
I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t contain much of interest – public geocaches normally contain badges and toys and little GPS trackers that wander around the world as people swap them around. These ones contained mostly paper to sign your name on. I added a badge to one of them, so hopefully the next person to go through will be a little more excited.
Back woods skills was so awesome it’s getting its own post later in the week.
Social Media was really interesting. The “pro” session was for people who already had a twitter account and understood what hashtags were for. It was about using social media to promote Girlguiding – for example, what you should and shouldn’t say on a Girlguiding account as opposed to your personal account, or what types of tweets get the most response. We covered Facebook Pages, Hootsuite, Storify, and more.
On Sunday there was time for one last activity – the Tree Climb. For this one I’d met the instructor before – on the bus to Foxlease. He’d come up to us at Brockenhurst train station and started a conversation because he realised (due to us being completely inconspicuous in Guiding uniform) that we were going to the same place. Handy, since I’d not been to Foxlease by public transport before, and this way I didn’t need to worry about when to push the bell on the bus. He also turned out to be a good laugh, which is always a bonus.
The climb itself was not overly challenging, but immense fun. I went three times.
Alas, after that things became slightly more depressing. A short closing ceremony, a quick lunch, and it was time to leave. I didn’t want to go back to reality quite so soon.
Goodbye Foxlease, I’ll see you again some day soon, I hope!