Over the October long weekend, the peaceful bush setting of Camp Nelson near Howlong was transformed into a hive of activity when Scouts from across the Riverina descended for three nights of camping fun.
Each Patrol was allocated an area among the trees to build a ‘castle’. Putting their construction and knot tying skills to good use, the castle had to be large enough to hold the whole Patrol off the ground above the height of the shortest member. Great resourcefulness and imagination saw many different designs emerge, from three storey castles to those that provided hours of entertainment with rope, crate and tyre swings.
Every noble castle needs the ability to defend itself from enemy attack, thus each patrol designed and constructed a catapult. No two catapults were the same, demonstrating the Scouts’ ingenuity in using the skills they have gained through scouting to develop solutions for different challenges and problems they encounter.
With construction complete, it was time to put the catapults to the test. The Scouts embarked on a competitive battle round where ammunition of flour, eggs and water was launched from the catapults at rival castles to score points. Without a doubt, the Leaders’ castle proved the most popular target.
In true scouting style, the free-for-all grand finale was entertaining, amusing and involved getting very dirty as bombs were launched in all directions from any means available and everyone was a target.
With their colourful medieval costumes and prodigious multi-storey castle, 1st Tumut’s Gnarly Knights took out the title of the 2015 Castles and Catapults Champion Patrol, resulting in the champions’ shield leaving the Albury district for the first time in history. The 1st Murrumbateman Dragons also received an honourable mention, finishing a close second.
The annual Castles and Catapults event is growing each year, owing to its popularity with the Scout youth members. Not only do they get to test their initiative and construction abilities, they also develop valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork and independence, while at the same time enjoying lots of laughs and meeting new friends. And there wasn’t an electronic device to be found.
Some of the ingenious castles and catapults creations feature in our gallery below. Photos courtesy of Joe Mack (Bidgee).