Southampton SSAGO's Freshers Camp to Winchester 2019

Oliver Bills (Southampton SSAGO)

Monday 21st of October 2019

Southampton SSAGO saw 24 keen SSAGOers head to Winchester for the weekend of the 18th-20th of October for a weekend of silly games, fire, exploration and most importantly, making new friends for their Southampton SSAGO Freshers' Camp 2019.

Kicking off with a giant spaghetti bolognese cooked by the committee at the SSAGO house by campus as Freshers began to arrive, donning their new clean neckers, enthusiasm and excitement, we were soon on our escape from Southampton to Winchester on the conveniently provided free university bus! 

On arrival at the delightful Winchester Log Cabin Scout Hut, after setting up beds and comparing camp blanket badges, the toilet roll came out as people were told to rip off a few sheets (or in some cases, 57) before realising that each sheet was an interesting fact to reveal about oneself. After learning about each other (and some more than others!) we tested SSAGO's ability of balance (or lack thereof) as we attempted to move ourselves into various arbitrary orders that somehow always seemed to involve people at the furthest ends having to make their way back up to the other end! 

After that, the Pictionary Whispers came out,  where each person has a stack of paper and writes a word or phrase on the topmost, passes it to the next person who has to represent that with a picture, who passes it to the next who has to try to work out from the picture what the original word could be. After 8 rounds and passes, the original words have generally taken an exciting journey into something bearing little resemblance to the final guess - probably as a result of SSAGO's terrible drawing skills! After various evening games, we headed to bed to the glow of the Fire Exit sign.

The following day, we headed into Winchester for a Monopoly Run, posing for amusing pictures, trying to find the committee who were on their own food crawl across the city, and taking as many pictures of dogs and parking signs as possible! Meeting at the Cathedral for lunch, after we had the chance to learn about the cathedral, go on a tour and have a go at designing stain glass windows and realising it's rather hard to make the Trefoil or Fleur De Lis out of triangles than first thought. Some then headed for the customary Winchester cup of Tea, while others explored the City Museum or visited the sweet shop for a sugar top up. 

Heading back for various traditional SSAGO games, from Irish Snap and "Poo"head to Dobble and Bananagrams we were then treated to delicious fajitas. After dinner, the campfire began at a peak temperature of Pallet Mark 8 and after concerns over setting the neighbours garden on fire, it was a great chance to relax after a busy but exciting day. Things were sweetened as campfire doughnuts appeared, including Southampton SSAGO favourite strawberry jam! 

On Sunday, after packing up we headed back into Winchester but this time towards Wolvesey Castle via beautiful sunny hike in the morning, arriving at the old Bishop's Palace in time for lunch. After some exploration and fact-finding, it turned into a giant game of Sardines, perhaps to the slight bemusement of other visitors, with people finding the most devious places to hide inside the remains, although with over 20 people, it does become more challenging! After exhausting the obvious and less-than-obvious hiding places, we continued our hike back to the hut for the final challenge of the weekend: The Team Paper Tournament! 

Starting off with paper planes (which strangely enough all the aero engineers excelled at), then paper crossing across the floor with ever increasing obstacles and decreasing paper came the tower building. Some towers were definitely better (e.g. tall) than others (e.g. sad pile on the floor). Moving from the vertical to the horizontal, teams then tried to build bridges that could hold sufficient weight, although after some great constructions from all teams, the challenge became trying to find something heavy enough that the bridge couldn't support! After exhausting nearby options and finally trying to stand a person on top, it turned out none of the paper and sellotape bridges could support a human, strangely enough. Upgrading from paper to cardboard, began the cereal box challenge, where everyone had to try and lift the ever-increasingly soggy cereal box from the floor using only their mouth and flexibility. As those less flexible were eliminated over the rounds and a final competition to the tiny flat square began, the Guides (or Guide) were ultimately victorious over the Scouts! After a tiring camp, our last game was sleeping lions, where it was more difficult to end the game than start it, which perhaps wasn't the best game to play when there was a train to catch! 

After arriving back to Southampton, the fun didn't end there as we managed to take over our local pub for a much-deserved post-camp meal after we had all decamped and were safe to appear in public once again! 

Everyone had a great time and a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and enthusiasm from the camp lead straight into enthusiasm for Rally, so we'll see you all at Birmingham!