A highlight of the Saturday night outdoor dance was the huge bonfire. Crystal Medlock photo

‘Rainbucket’ campout at Popkum a drier event for Hope Scouts

300 campers at one of 4 camps a year for teen, young adult Scouts in Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

When you call your annual November camp-out “Rainbucket,” you’re pretty much expecting to get wet. But this year, the Hope Rover and Venturer Scouts went rain-free for the entire two-day camp in Popkum, last weekend. Except for the truly sadistic, that was a welcome change for the roughly 300 teenage and young adult campers and their advisors.

“It’s usually dumping rain,” said Hope’s scouting commissioner, Crystal Medlock. “You’d wake up in the morning and your tent would be surrounded by a moat.”

This year, their only problem was that the Hopians picked a shady spot to pitch their tents, while other groups had planted theirs across the way, where the sun shone most of the day.

“It was cold — and we had thick frost,” said Medlock, who is the new secretary at Silver Creek Elementary. “A couple of our kids realized they should have listened to us about packing something warm. Jacob (her son) made a run to Chilliwack, to buy some gloves and hand warmers.”

The Hope campers have developed a reputation among the Rovers (young adult Scouts) and Venturers (teen Scouts) as being a social group. Their well-stoked campfire was a necessary antidote for the cold — but it also had another purpose.

“We had it going all weekend, from Friday afternoon till noon, Sunday,” said Medlock. “It was like a magnet for campers and there was always someone sitting around our fire.”

The theme for this camp was ‘Top Gun’ and the Rover Scouts stepped into leadership roles, planning activities around that theme.

“A few of our boys did the slingshot event, where they shot paintball beads at the archery targets,” said Medlock, “and Claire (her daughter) went in the obstacle course. It was the first time a Hope camper competed in that.

“She was the only girl, against about 30 boys, so she didn’t really want to go in it — but Carmen Tuivai and I bribed her. She made 40 bucks!”

“Carmen said she’d pay her 20 if she beat all the boys, so I went along with that. I knew she would do well but I didn’t expect to lose 20 bucks. They had to scale a rope net, then cross a gap on a tightrope, with another rope above it to hold onto.

“Claire’s time was 1:01 and some of the boys were way past two minutes. There was one boy, visiting from Spain, who was close.”

A special treat for campers this year was the fireworks show, to kick off the dance on Saturday night. Then there was the annual bonfire, with the flames so strong that people had to stand back about 10 paces.

The scouting movement puts on four camps a year for teens and young adults in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. They have to be in at least grade 8 or 9 to go to the camps, said Medlock, “but once they go, it usually hooks them and they continue to go.”

“We’re picking up new kids in the Grade 6 range but there’s a bit of a gap in Grade 10 and 11,” added Medlock. “We even picked up a new teacher at Silver Creek School, Rachel Simes. She was at the camp as a Rover. She joined in September and she just loves it.”

Anyone interested in joining the local scouting movement can e-mail Medlock at cibhope@yahoo.ca, or make contact through Facebook at “1st Hope Scouting.”


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The Hope Rovers and Venturers’ campfire was a magnet for campers at the cold-but-dry “Rainbucket” campout, last weekend in Popkum. About 300 campers from Kelowna to Vancouver attended the annual event, which is often generously doused by November rains. Crystal Medlock photo

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