Our annual main sleepover this year was held in May which made a nice change from the coldness of February when we normally have it. The theme was ‘space’, so first of all we had to navigate our way past all the roadwork’s to the ‘Space Centre’ in Crondall to begin our astronaut training; it was all very exciting. We also had some ‘Young Leaders’ joining us this time, sleeping outside in tents, which made it even more exciting.
First of all Badger talked briefly about space and space equipment, following on from our last meeting where we had commenced our space activity badge; lots of Beavers and leaders asked him questions, especially about the possibility of aliens existing. Everybody then had to put on the latest fashion in clean room hats before doing some engineering activities; this was to keep all the equipment clean enough for space use.
We began by making some jet packs which were a safety measure in case we became lost in space, and then some space suits which we decorated with our chosen flag and nickname. Then there were some alien space guns to make; everybody hoped that we would never need to use them.
Having made all of our equipment, we then practised launching rockets. It was a bit windy so there were a few technical problems which required some search and rescue missions and the launch site had to be changed a few times.
All of our launches were finally successful and we then began to prepare for our missions on other planets by practising space hopping and moon walking.
All this preparation had made us very hungry by then, so we cooked our own beef burgers on stoves outside in the training area.
After lunch we carried on training, but Badger had an urgent message and had to make a phone call. He read the message to us which concerned a satellite being hijacked and some top secret star maps being taken; the baddies who did it were not known and could have been aliens or from Earth. Apparently a spacecraft had come down; the latitude and longitude of where it was believed to have crashed on Earth were given and the equivalent grid reference showed this to be in the copse very near to the space centre where we were. The top people in London were asking if we could find the maps for them and possibly capture any aliens that might be around. Badger asked if we were willing to undertake this mission. Some Beavers were very concerned that we hadn’t trained properly yet but the general agreement was that we should all do our best as usual, so badger rang back and told them that we would try our best to retrieve the star maps for them.
Otter was able to give the exact grid reference from his mobile phone, and we moved forward to the edge of the copse using our best stealth tactics, trying to find anything unusual which would lead us to the crash site.
There was very little to go on, but we did very occasionally find what appeared to be some green alien goo; this made us all a bit nervous. Badger went ahead to check the way and to make sure it was safe. Very soon the crash site came into view with lots of debris scattered around; Badger checked that the remains were not too hot, and that there was no radiation hazard, and then we all went forward to see. Amongst the debris there was what looked to be an official document case attached to a small parachute which had obviously come down intact. But the star maps were not inside, only some letters in a language we could not understand, and a single word ‘TRILATERATION’. Badger explained that this was how GPS worked, using signals from three different satellites to give an exact location on earth. Could this be the same method that has been used to hide the star maps ?
We hunted around some more and found two definite alien goo trails going in different directions. A vote was taken as to whether we should split into two groups or keep together to follow the trails. We decided to stay together as this was the safer option and some Beavers were really afraid of meeting aliens. So we first proceeded south, picking up the goo as we went for analysis by the top secret research laboratories.
Eventually we saw the same information found at the crash site stuck to three different trees and there was also a coil of string under each notice; from this we knew that we had to use trilateration to find the hidden star maps. Carefully we uncoiled the three coils of string and moved around until they joined; then we dug into the ground to find only three star maps. Obviously the other three were at the end of the second alien goo trail so we quickly returned to the crash site and followed this trail to eventually find three more marked trees. We were experts at trilateration by now, but unfortunately, this time disaster struck when one of the strings came away from the tree. We re-attached it where we thought it was, but no maps were found at the point where the strings met. We had to try another two times before we eventually found the remaining three maps !
Some Beavers were a bit disappointed that there was still no sign of any aliens or baddies, but we decided that there was no point in looking for them any more now that we had the maps and we decided to go back to the hut in order to make our report on the findings for Badger to take to London that night. We recorded progress on a map and marked where the crash site and two trails were as well as the two trilateration sites. Hopefully this will count towards our ‘navigator activity stage 1’ badge as well.
After a bit of refreshment which was needed after all the excitement of our secret mission, we continued our training with some ‘moon buggy’ construction and operation. This was great fun but very hard work using Beavers for the engines, so next time we’d like some real engines please.
After another drink and snack we finished off our ‘Space Activities’ badge by having some short talks on planets, stars and space missions. There was also an electronics workshop and some real parts of satellites to look at.
Then it was time for dinner which we had outside to make the most of the nice weather. Foxy cooked it for us but we did have to do the washing up which was sort of fun in a strange way.
After dinner it was time to put up our tents, which was a bit chaotic and difficult, but we got the hang of it in the end.
Then we went back to the woods for a real campfire. We were allowed to roast marshmallows on it although it was a bit too hot for some of us so our young leaders helped us. We sang songs with actions and two Beavers sang solos !
It was really late by then and way past Badger’s bedtime so we had to go to bed, but Badger read us two stories; one was a true story about the men landing on the moon and the other was called ‘Bleep and Booster’ which was about a little boy who went into space and met an alien who he had lots of adventures with.
The next morning it was really sunny again. There was the usual boring stuff of packing up of the tents, followed by a kit inspection, before our space breakfast of sausages in rolls, which we ate outside. Then we were allowed to do some target practise with our alien guns and some more moon buggy racing while the leaders tried to take down the gazebo; they weren’t very good at this so we won’t be awarding them a badge for it.
At the closing ceremony everybody was awarded with their badges together with a certificate from the top people in London for our help in recovering the missing star maps. There was also a choccy reward from them which was shared out between us.
Unfortunately, by then the mums were there to take us home, but we hope to do another camp before too long. No one knows that we took part in a top secret mission, but if anybody finds some aliens or baddies near the space centre in Crondall, please could you let us know.
The 29th (Pondtail) Beavers