Running a camp can be a stressful and tiring thing to do but if you have to cook as well it makes the task much harder. At our major camps we contract out the kitchen duties and first aid to SMICCTSO – you can recognise them from their blue SMICCTSO aprons.

SMICCTSO (Self Motivated, Integrated Cooking, Cleaning & Tea Supply Organisation) were formed in Summer 2001. Existing 2nd Bracknell catering and first aid staff transferred to the new organisation in August 2001 – retaining the same pay and benefits that they enjoyed at 2nd Bracknell*. SMICCTSO also took responsibility for some of the group equipment as things like the stoves, cutlery and water carriers now come into their area.

What activities do they attend?
Generally we call in SMICCTSO when we are camping for more than a weekend, or where there are unusually large numbers of campers that make catering a tricky task. You can see them in action in our camp photos – click on “past events”.

What do they do?
The range of what could be termed ‘domestic’ duties that need to be done at camp is quite considerable. Normally they are the sort of thing that gets done and nobody notices. They include:

  • Menu planning - SMICCTSO consultants advise on menu content to ensure that the meals that are provided are both nutritious and also likely to be eaten by the campers. They also have to provide value for money to keep the camp costs down.
  • Shopping - Purchasing food for a large number of campers can be surprisingly tricky. Even the supermarkets can be found lacking when you are trying to purchase potato waffles for 150! The sheer quantities involved can boggle the mind of the most experienced family shopper. Questions like “How many pints of milk will 50 campers need for breakfast?” or “How many loaves of bread will 70 campers eat in sandwiches at lunchtime?” need to be answered correctly to ensure that camp runs smoothly. Because of storage limitations and lack of refrigeration the food for camp is generally bought on a daily basis. The escape from site to the shops can make SMICCTSO staff very popular as they can also deliver items such as daily papers.
  • Cooking - Meal preparation is a skilled business – especially at camp when things that you might take for granted at home are not available. This can make it difficult to keep food warm or to keep cold things cold.
  • Cleaning - It is a camp rule that the children wash up their own plates. However there is a lot more equipment that gets used at meal times. SMICCTSO staff also keep an eye on camp hygiene – including making sure that the campers have washed their hands before meal times.
  • Tea Supply - A cup of tea can be very welcome in the hectic schedule that is camp life. It is not possible to have the kettle on all the time as there are not sufficient gas burners but the kitchen tries to provide hot water for drinks at peak times. There is also a steady supply of squash and water provided for the children – not just at meal times.
  • First Aid - Many campers have to take medicines during the day. The drugs are held by SMICCTSO and administered as required. They also provide a first response service for dealing with injured campers or those that are generally unwell.
  • Laundry - With young campers it is a fact of life that sometimes accidents happen in the night. Rather than make a fuss that could embarrass the person concerned the SMICCTSO staff manage the clean up operation – of both sleeping bag and camper. When off-site for shopping it is also possible to visit the launderette so that soiled equipment can be cleaned. If the weather is wet this facility can be very useful for drying damp clothes. In a long camp all the tea-towels are normally laundered mid-week.

* So what do SMICCTSO & 2nd Bracknell Leaders get paid?
Absolutely nothing. Contrary to some people’s belief all our leaders are volunteers and don’t get paid for their time, services or efforts.