CCC crowns campers with world record

Written By: Pam Sornson

For some people, camping is much more than just a day in the park. For the 14,621 members and guests of England’s Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC), June 4, 2012, was a day to wear paper crowns in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. The cardboard coronets were donned by campers and caravanners located at various campsites in all 13 of the CCC’s districts, and together they set a Guinness World Record.

Camping and Caravanning Club offers the great UK outdoors

Each year, the CCC hosts National Camping and Caravanning Week to raise interest in all things camping and to encourage more people to engage in camping adventures. Across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the club is a network of 110 campsites that offer consistently high-quality camping locations and amenities. For a small membership fee, members get reduced rates for campsite rentals, special deals for families and seniors, invitations to weekly and monthly group “meets,” connections to 150 campsites across Europe, discounted insurance rates and exclusive club benefits not available to non-members. Also, there are nine special-interest sections, including photographers, sailers, canoers, folk dancers and others that meet on a regular basis for members to enjoy their special hobby or craft with like-minded outdoorsy people.

CCC uses a royal pitch to invite the public

For the Jubilee celebration, CCC added the crown attempt to the National Camping Week agenda and pursued a couple of “firsts”-for example, their first dedicated social media campaign. Although they did have videos uploaded onto their website, the CCC had not previously tried to gain publicity through a dedicated social media push. Undaunted, they created the “Pitch Like a Royal” YouTube campaign, which featured a royally attired David and Victoria Beckham lookalike couple setting up their tent on a lovely countryside pitch, corgis at their side.

Their first attempt at a world record-the “crowning” of campers-required the coordination of more than 14,000 campers and caravanners from the top of Scotland to the tip of Cornwall at over 100 different campsites. The counting and recording of crowns had to follow exact guidelines and specifications in order for the achievement of the event to be declared an official Guinness World Record.

Both endeavours were successful 

The world record itself was confirmed on June 6 by Guinness World Record representative Annabel Lawday. “This is a fantastic new world record with a very high number, which will be difficult to beat for years to come,” said Lawday. “We welcome everyone who successfully took part to the family of Guinness World Record holders!”

Truly a week-long event

Along with the “anointing” of the campers, the CCC also planted a commemorative tree on site at the event headquarters in Sandringham to honour the Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods project. Additionally, a number of Jubilee Big Lunches were held at some Club and Camping in the Forest sites across the UK on the following Sunday.

Before their success with this event, the CCC also hosted the World Tent Pitching Championships in London in November 2002. At that competition, the winning twosome were able to pitch four tents (two-, three-, five- and six-person tents) in only 19 minutes, 13 seconds. It is not known if these two young men also participated in the CCC’s “crowning” event, some ten years later.

The 2015 National Camping and Caravanning Week runs from May 25 through May 31.

SIGs and how they make the world smaller

Written By: Jacqueline Leahy

An SIG, or Special Interest Group, is like a club where people sharing an interest, an ideology, or shared characteristic gather together to discuss their ideas, practices or worldview. The term SIG was taken from CompuServe, the first major commercial online service in America. Founded in 1969, CompuServe offered a service devoted to particular interests known as SIG.

Although the term and many interest-based communities started in the abstract world of the internet, these groups often meet or organize conferences around their shared interest, some of them also maintaining forums or discussion boards online. Many of the most well-known (notorious) special interest groups are political, such as the National Right to Life Committee or the Consumer Federation of America. These interest groups often center on advocacy and modes of publicizing their causes.

Other Special Interest Groups resemble Trade Unions. Groups like the Metal Service Center Institute, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, or the National Farmers Union connect experts in a field to facilitate connections, encourage cooperation, or to brainstorm solutions to industry problems. Still other groups, such as the Armenian National Committee of America or the National Council of Senior Citizens, host discussions about a shared identity.

Special Interest Groups have come to represent the full range of human interests and pursuits be they political, professional or recreational. Often SIGs are housed within larger organizations. On Ravelry.com, members of the knitting community can join SIGs to discuss how to spin with a spinning wheel. Within communities such as the International High IQ Society Mensa International, the total number of active SIGs has varied between 130 and 160 and includes groups like the Alpinist, Rock Climbing and Mountaineering SIG and the Beer-Me SIG, which focuses on all things beer and brewing.

Travel sites like Goway.com, Ships and Trips Travel, Friendly Planet Travel and Motive Travel endeavor to bring SIG members together through travel. Offering everything from more traditional trip packages for Food and Wine Lovers to destination or activity oriented trips specific to photographers or Formula 1 racing fans, these sites cater to special interests as never before.

Whole organizations like Craft Cruises are making SIG-oriented travel even more specific. On a Craft Cruise or Land Tour, Knitters, Needlepoint experts or crafting kids can join together to visit international hotspots for their respective crafts. A private walking tour and yarn crawl in Copenhagen and destinations like Classic Elite yarn mill outside of Boston, Massachusetts are sure to thrill those who cannot seem to leave their knitting needles at home.

Location-based SIGs such as the Minnesota Women’s Travel Group and the Globe-Trotting Divas of Philadelphia provide ways for people to connect through a shared wanderlust. Hosted on internet hubs such as Meetup.com, SIGs like these help would-be travelers find companions for the road ahead, wherever it may take them.

Although there are SIGs galore, they can be surprisingly hard to find. Those interested in finding the like-minded should start by looking within any larger organizations that they might have joined. SIGs can prove the adage that it is a small world, after all.

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