2014 Guinness World Record

 “For The Record”

By Amy Patterson

This year, Flat Rock Rapids Camp, reached a very proud 29 years. Surviving through CJ years and groups shutting down in the summer months…here we are. As a Camp Committee team we meet through the cold months of winter to dream of what we can bring to the camp in the heat of summer. This past year was no exception. We had decided to contact the Guinness Book of World Records and request permission to break a world record at our annual Scout Camp. The Guinness staff were quick to respond. Although they could not approve our original idea of “most number of adults in a 16 foot canoe”, they did encourage us to find another option. After searching Guinness records, we found a perfect alternative. “The fastest time to erect a 4 man tent by a team of 10”. And so it began, this year was going to be exciting.  We set out to learn all of the requirements for the attempt as laid out by Guinness.

Although this was a far bigger job and challenge than we could have imagined, it was always doable. The Wednesday before camp as our volunteers came and went with situations and family emergencies, our nervous hearts came out of flutter mode as we secured everyone we needed. Photographers, videographers, expert witnesses, time keepers and all the gear everyone needs, were all finally coming together. All we needed now was our team of 10.

Camp came and we were all excited. Knowing that everyone had a part to play in the outcome of the weekend, as usual, it was all going to be fun and great. We had the unknown factor the record attempt in the mix, for the first time in the camp’s history but as a team, there was faith in the firmly planted roots of the camp, that no matter what, an ultimate program would be delivered.

Friday night, groups were rolling in and our campers got settled in, the Guinness team made the rounds to tell everyone about the world record attempt and asked who would be interested in trying to make history with us. As expected, the eager hands of volunteers flew into the air and before we knew it, we had our team of 10.

Saturday morning after we got the land and water events organized and underway, we could be confident that the campers not directly involved in the camp, were circulating through activities to have their own amazing day. Now, we needed to pull our World Record Attempt together. We had only a few hours before our big moment.

3 camp staff were met at the practice site by 8 keen scouts from different groups ranging in age from 10 to 25 years old. Thankfully with 11 involved, we were able to spare one person to act as the eagle eye that would be the coach of the team. You see, when you are concentrating on a very quick 1/10 of a tent set up that must be done at break neck speed, you do not have the time or ability to see what everyone else is doing and choreograph the movements of the entire team., as each handles their own piece of the action.

The tent had to be commercially available, non pop-up and set up to factory specifications. We carefully unboxed the tent we had chosen and with film and photos, documented every piece and how it came out of the box. We quickly assigned roles to each member of the team and began going through the set up in slow motion. If we could define rolls, then we could perfect them and the methods of completion. The kids were amazing. We had never met any of them before this moment and we now had to gel with them as one fine tuned machine. There could be no missed cogs in our wheel if we were going to make this a success. We knew that no matter what, it would be fun and we were already recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as an official attempt. Everything else would be gravy.

Just after lunch we decided that we should time ourselves and start adding speed to the dance we had rehearsed. 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Although this wasn’t beating the record time of 2 minutes 7 seconds, we were not that far off. This was only our first timed try and our coach and our head videographer could see lots of ways for us to shave off time as they watched and studied from the sidelines.

We took advice, did some changes, some of us even switched places and tried a couple more times. It was time to get out the stop watch again and see how we were doing…2 minutes, 30 seconds. Wow, we were making progress by leaps and bounds and still we could see the lags and our coach could offer advice. We must have taken down and put up that poor Eureka tent a million times, and still no one had slept in it. We found this to be very amusing as we carried on through our day. We tried, adjusted, tweaked and hustled through a couple more hours and decided to give our efforts another timed try…1 minute and 56 seconds. We had done it! We knew it was possible and we still had breathing space for the zipper snags and peg hold malfunctions that we had experienced through our day. The kids and adults all cheered like it was Christmas morning. It wasn’t our official attempt but we were a team that felt success and we were unstoppable.

We decided to practice one or two more times to create the consistency that would give us comfort in our skill and then take a break while all the official people from the community came into camp, just for us.

Before we knew it, Mr. Patrick Hurley, a lawyer from Belleville, had arrived to act as the official witness that would verify that we followed the rules of Guinness. Jesse Platt would show up next. He was an employee of the Conservation Authority and would be our second official witness. His job would be to confirm that we set up the tent to factory specifications and that it was safe and correct. Photographer Jonathan Bell was on the Flat Rock staff and would be one of two photographers. Jon was joined by Mary McTaggart, a scouter with photography experience, coming to help with our event from Campbellford. Offical time keepers, Everett Dumas and Linda Braun took their positions with stop watches cued and ready. The press was now with us too and experienced video operators, James Heaney and Kevin Dunn were rolling since the attempts we had done through the day.  We gave a pep talk to our tent team, coach John Parks, gave last words of advice. We were as ready as we would be, and for the first time in all this, nervousness set in.

The time had come. This was it. We were shaking but focused, it was easy to see that the kids were replaying their roles in their heads, we were poised and ready to untie that tent bag on the whistle signal. The crowd was instructed to be quiet and still for the next 2 minutes. AAAAANNNND…GO!

We all took off like shots. The bag was untied, the tent was unrolled and 10 people descended upon every part of it to do what they had been taught to do. The fly was spread out, corners of the tent were pegged, zippers undone, poles put together, all the while a world of people outside the circle were all doing their part. Cameras were snapping, video was rolling, time was ticking and witnesses were studying. It’s hard to imagine what the flurry of activity must have looked like. Each person on the team was trying to remember their tasks as one of the adult members of the team kept prompting to the brave scouts that had taken this on with us. “Guys, remember to angle your pegs”, “don’t forget the clips”, “jump in the tent the second you are done”. We were buzzing! It felt like an eternity but in mere seconds all 10 had jumped head first into the erect tent, done up the entrances and shouted a collective, “TIME”.

It was so quiet and still in camp during those 10 seconds where time had stopped but the video was still going so that we could prove the mandatory requirement of the tent staying upright and intact after the set up was complete. FINALLY, we got the call that we could come out. The team was huddled together holding hands as everyone waited with baited breath for the witnesses, time keepers and photographers to verify and agree on the stop watch times.

WE DID IT! 1 minute and 58 seconds! How unreal was that! Friday morning we had all woken up not even knowing each other existed and now we had broken a record as a team. The announcement was made, the camp erupted in cheers, pictures were taken and hugs were exchanged. What an indescribable moment!

Even though we still had mounds of paperwork to send to England for official verification by Guinness, we knew we had done something great with this attempt and it was to be celebrated.

In January 2015, 6 long months after camp, we have finally received official word that we have won the title of our world record.  This honor has made the long wait and hard work worth every second of crossed fingers has paid off. We did it.  We will all receive official certificates from Guinness and we plan  to pick up the next edition of the World Records book and collect signatures from the amazing kids that helped make this happen for themselves, for the Camp and for a very proud Scouts Canada. There is no doubt that we 10 team mates as well as the support crew will carry this experience and those pictures forever.

We look forward to celebrating our 30th year as a camp, in July 2015. Flat Rock is full of history, excitement and love for the Scouting Movement. Pictures of our camp can be found on our website, www.flatrockrapids.com and we can be found on Facebook. We are committed to delivering a quality program and a lot of fun. Won’t you join us?


Thank you for sharing this adventure with me and our camp.

Amy Patterson

Born and raised by Moira Valley District – Quinte Region

Now with Algonquinte Area


Guinness team 

Name Age Group
Savanna Hirt 13 1st Hastings
Elinore Van Meer 14 1st Hastings
Branden Sword 10 1st Hastings
Jordan Hawken 15 1st Hastings
Hayden Fowler 11 1st Hastings
Morgan Jinks 12 2nd Sidney
Keegan Sponagle 12 2nd Sidney
David Fry Rover 1st Stirling
Adam Heaney Adult 8th Richmond Hill
Amy Patterson Adult Algonquinte Area
Flat Rock Camp Guinness attempt originator



Name Role Area
John Parks Coach Kawartha Waterways
Linda Braun timer Algonquinte
Everett Dalmas timer Algonquinte
Patrick Hurley Witness Lawyer – Hurley Law LLP
Jesse Platt Witness Quinte Conservation Staff
Kevin Dunn Video Scarborough
James Heaney Video York Headwaters
Mary McTaggart Photos Kawartha Waterways
Jonathan Bell Photos Algonquinte


Record team after the finish


 World Record Video


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