James Frith (UWE Bristol)
Saturday 12th of March 2016
On the weekend of 12th - 14th of February over 200 student Scouts and Guides from 28 Universities across the country descended on Woodhouse Park Scout Activity Centre for a cracking weekend of activities and trips out across Bristol.
This was 2016’s annual SSAGO Spring Rally, hosted by the relatively small SAGUWE, the Student Scouts and Guides of UWE Bristol.
All 200+ guests arrived and pitched camp throughout Friday night, and after enjoying a brilliant menu of Curries, and adding their cheese to the Cheese trolley (little more convenient than an tent!) to share the following day, everyone headed off to bed ready for the packed weekend ahead.
After the usual saucepan and spoon awakening, a punctual breakfast and a short opening ceremony, guests spent the morning enjoying activities across the Woodhouse site.The theme for the weekend was ‘Wallace and Gromit’, and SAGUWE didn’t disappoint!From a 'Cracking Contraptions' pioneering base, where teams had to build chicken catapults, to a 'Build-A-Shaun/Gromit' workshop where everyone could make their own little plasticine pals to take home.
There were also the traditional Wide games (in the Rain at one point) thrown in for good measure; and surprisingly, even with some spectacular take downs, there was no first aid required!
After convening for a hog-roast-bun lunch, guests went off across Bristol, including a visit to @Bristol, pub crawls around the harbour, a hike along the Avon gorge, a visit to the Cheddar Cheese factory, and even a trip to Airhop. Graham, the Scout Association’s County Commissioner for Avon, paid a visit to the onsite animation workshop in the afternoon (the resulting video of which is now on youtube) and was vastly impressed by the event, although we couldn’t convince him to stay for the evening.
Following a timely (or in the Pub crawls case, not so timely) return to site, the fantastic catering staff provided another brilliant meal of hot pot stew, before the evening entertainment commenced. The 'Jig Mad Wolf’ band led the classic Ceildh/barn dance, while Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit shorts were shown elsewhere for those not feeling quite so active.
A themed costume competition was held toward the end of the dance, with some magnificent group costumes; the motorbike-mounted sheep team taking home the Costume (egg) Cup!
The Saturday night was all topped off with a phenomenal campfire singing session, that suddenly got a lot more raucous at midnight!
After the closing ceremony Sunday morning, which included awarding the infamous Gaddafi plate to Lancaster (who were thrilled!) and the national AGM which concluded successfully before a pasty lunch, everyone left in the highest of spirits.
A flood of appreciative messages were received from guests on their minibus rides home; which showed that even the smallest of SSAGOs can host the greatest of Rallies!
We were able to donate the 8 crates of left over food to the Bristol food bank, who were immensely grateful, and raise over £300 (tbc) for the W&G sponsored charity ‘Cots for Tots’, supporting the Bristol Children’s hospital.
All in all a pretty resounding success, we even remembered the Crackers!