Mystery Theme campout
Story to start campout
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal
and a bottle of wine they lay down for the night and went to sleep.
Some hours later Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.
"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?", asked Holmes.
Watson pondered for a moment and replied, "Astronomically, it tells me
that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce
that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I
can see that God is all powerful, and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
What does it tell you?"
"Watson, you idiot, it tells me that someone has stolen our tent."
Toe Tag game (Make the other girl a double agent)
We managed to get the tents raised - six in total and began our program. We
started by reviewing rules etc. then began a game where each girl was given
a toe tag with another girls name on it. We told them they were all spies
and that they had to try and persuade the enemy agent to become a double
agent and work for their country too. They could do this by finding the girl
alone and saying "gotcha". The girl would then have to surrender her toe tag
and the first would try and catch the girl who's name was on it. Several
wrinkles quickly developed and we adapted the game as we went along. The
girls loved it and we played it again the next day.
Making their own tools - decoder wheels, Morse code, trail signs
Next we had them make decoder wheels so they would be able to read secret
messages. They were given two pre-labeled wheels to cut out, glue on to
cardboard and assemble and another sheet with instructions on how to use
them. This took some explaining. They were also given a sheet with Morse
code and a sheet with trail signs.
Skit based on Sherlock Holmes
We had campfire next as it wasn't yet dark enough for our night hike. Two of
the third year girls presented a skit based on Sherlock Holmes and Watson
being under the stars camping and pondering the meaning of life with Watson
getting very verbose and Sherlock deducing they were out under the stars
because their tent had been stolen.
Night hike, poem
Next we did our hike with Night Eyes. I used a poem I got off the list some
time ago and reflective tape Wendy Baker had given me some time ago (thanks
Wendy!) to make 15 cards up. The poem was about a large scary cat who was
leading them to a treasure. Before we left, our mascot Pickles was given to
the youngest first year girls for the night, with instructions to leave her
in the tent so she'd be safe. The hike went beautifully with the night eyes
being very effective.
Snack - Sweet tortilla rollups
We came back to a treasure of a snack - tortilla roll-ups - an idea gleaned
from the CM99 menu - tortilla's buttered, sprinkled with brown sugar,
cinnamon and a choice of different nuts, rolled a fried on a slightly oiled
Troop mascot kidnapped, ransom note left
Everyone was getting ready for bed when the first year tent realized that
Pickles had been kidnapped and there was a ransom note made up of words
clipped out of a newspaper (this was done in a great hurry by me at 1 a.m.
the night before!) They wanted to go out on the trail and search right away,
but we persuaded them they had to wait till morning.
Breakfast menu, then canoeing for half the group
Next morning we had people awake as early as 4 a.m. We did not rise then
however. Breakfast was cook eggs your way, muffins, fruit and hash browns.
This was followed by patrol duties, clean-up gadgets etc. We split the girls
into two groups for canoeing. Nine went in the morning and six in the
afternoon. My co, a parent and my hubby (who had driven up for the day) went
with the canoeists. We had absolutely wonderful weather so the girls saw
things at their best. They were lucky enough to see a beaver - fairly
unusual in daylight. When they were at the dock their was another NLS
lifeguard there acting as the waterfront person for some Pathfinders who
were canoeing. They were far out of sight so she agreed to watch our girls
for a quick dip in the water.
Straw weaving, Mystery Scavenger Hunt for other half of group
I stayed behind with the QM and two other leaders and six girls (no problems
with ratio here!). We taught them straw weaving and everyone was quickly
addicted. We also sent them on a mystery scavenger hunt. All the items were
things to be found in nature except one. Example - a page of a book, an old
fashioned pen. One was something you start a fire with that isn't a match.
This really stumped them as whatever they came up with we suggested - ok -
now try starting a fire. Finally we gave them a magnifying glass and they
experimented with starting a fire. It worked almost too easily!!! Then we
discussed how you couldn't just leave a magnifying glass lying out or it
might be a fire hazard.
Clues in code to find mascot
While all this was going on, I was writing more clues in code (as discreetly
as I could) that would lead the girls around to look for Pickles. One went
with the canoeists so they would find a message in a bottle. I used a number
of different codes, some of which they had been told about, some which they
figured out on their own. I was impressed with how quickly they decoded
When the canoeists came back we had make your own pizza's and chocolate
fondue for lunch. The tester was there at this point and was very impressed
with how well the camp was going. The girls wanted her to stay till
campfire! She said I passed no problem and that it was an excellent camp
with the girls obviously enjoying themselves.
Groups switch - canoeing & camp activities
After lunch the second group left for canoeing and we repeated the morning
activities with the first group. The third year girls went off biking.
Fortunately one of our Junior leaders had come along at the last minute and
she had first aid so helped us meet that criteria.
Dinner, More clues to find kidnapped mascot
Supper was tin foil meals with cupcakes baked in a tin foil stove. Most of
the girls had never seen one before and were quite skeptical as to how it
would work. They were quite impressed. Shortly before supper, one of the
clues led them to the kitchen area and Pickles sleeping bag hanging from a
line with a salt cellar in it. The QM's campname was Salt, but it took them
awhile to clue in, so she grabbed Pickles from the hiding place, wrapped her
in foil, gave her to me and told me to go cook her on the fire for her
supper. I put her on the very edge of the coals and told the girls they had
to save her life! It was a riot!!!!
Morse code name bracelets
While supper was cooking the girls made morse code bracelets out of gold
wire and seed beads. They spelled out their name and it really looked very
Kangaroo court for various made up offenses
After supper and clean-up we had kangaroo court. The third year girls acted
as judge and lawyers and various people - especially leaders - were tried
and found guilty. I thought the punishments were very light. Mine was to
plan a camp next year. The first years who didn't sleep but talked had to
sing rock-a-bye- baby at bed-time.
Sugar to make campfire "roar", charades game
Campfire was quite impressive with lots of sugar used to make the flames
roar. The first year girls did one skit, then we sent the third years out
and when we called them back told them to act out things like sitting on a
bucking bronco. What they didn't know was that we'd told the rest of the
group that what they were really doing was showing us how they sat on a
toilet. It was hilarious and the girls were very good sports. They were
tired, so it was bed by 10:15 or so and they settled down right away. The
leaders stayed up by the fire and watched the raccoons come in and do a
"scavenger hunt" for anything we might have left lying around.
Breakfast hidden and girls use trail signs to find
Next morning we were up early and started pulling down tents even before
everyone was up. We had an 11 a.m. pick-up scheduled so knew time was tight.
The girls got up at varied paces, so we had the early risers pack and get
their gear out onto a tarp. Meantime, several of the leaders had been out
setting up trail signs for where the different breakfast components would be
hidden. When everyone was up they went for it. We had five stops - cereal in
zip- locks, muffins, milk in individual servings, juice in bottles and
Bev Walkling, 32nd Sarnia Guides, email@example.com