I have been the Site Manager for Danemead Scout Campsite now for just over 3 years. In those three years I really have become good at herding cats with the occasional one managing to escape my grasp!
A lot of people think this is my full time job. I can assure you that this is 100% a voluntary role and I take no expenses from the campsite. Away from Danemead I am a full time Train Driver for Greater Anglia and have a family which comprises of Carmen (my fiancé), my daughter Megan, our loyal mutt Breeze (who you will see by my side whenever I’m on site) and our two cats Sam and Cleo.
So, what does it take to run a scout campsite? Well it’s a lot more than I expected! I’ve put together four average weeks of my Site Manager life and will explain some of our systems we have in place to make sure all our customers get the best experience! I hope you enjoy.
Another week starts with a meeting with Steve (surveyor/project manager) and Mike (Danemead secretary/grant’s lead) at my house. This is to discuss the three builders quotes that we have received. During our application to the lottery we hoped to complete a lot of the refurbishment work ourselves but soon realised it would be a lot more beneficial to just employ a builder. This has resulted in the the amount we applied for almost quadrupling. This meeting was to discuss whether we cut items from the build or we re-start our application. The meeting is very constructive and we decide to re-start our bidding process. Hoping the lottery will realise we spotted the potential issues before the build started and rectified them. Obviously we wouldn’t know if we had even been given the money. However we wanted to apply with the most professional package we could put together.
This weekend is “Reunion” at Gilwell Park. Showing how strong our partnership is with Bushscout.uk. We have been invited by Terry and Sam to advertise the campsite in their demonstration area. I must admit I was slightly emotional when they asked. It just shows after three years of hard work, Danemead is starting to turn heads and be noticed and we have more support than ever. This means leaflets being designed by Steve, badges and woggles being picked up by Chris, Carmen ironing my uniform, Mark.F agreeing to make breakfast for me, Carmen and Megan before we attend. All the small things that get over looked.
It also means transporting my amazing gazebo and table to Gilwell! Those that know me well, know I like to go big, bold and expensive. As a close friend once said “buy cheap, buy twice!” They also know I love my recent purchase which is my gazebo! The people need to see my gazebo! This means a favour off of Grant (crew member) who has a van. As it’s pretty chunky as well as heavy. This means meeting Grant up at site to make sure everything that’s needed is packed. Grant has kindly offered to set up at Gilwell for me as he is arriving Friday morning. Saturday arrives and that means Reunion is here. Another day off from work where I’m up at stupid o’clock. One day I will learn!
The days starts meeting at Mark.F’s for strong coffee and pancakes! It’s then a 20 minute walk through Epping Forest to Gilwell Park. Once set up I send Mark.F, Amy, Megan and Carmen off with leaflets and I start my hello tour to all the Bushscout’s. It’s my first time at Reunion and the atmosphere is charged and really up beat. I thought it would have a bit of a jamboree feel but it’s not the same. Maybe a bit more grown up. The day goes really well. We have a few local groups to the site who have never heard of us and plan to book next year.
I take three bookings for the site whilst at reunion! Hurrah for smart phones! We also sell some of our badges and woggles! So overall a very successful weekend for Danemead