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I love my life! Taking my time, soaking in the sights and always taking the road less traveled.

Salad Days

CANADA | Saturday, 21 July 2012 | Views [2066] | Comments [1]



Oh the flies laying eggs in the ointment on the noses of the witches throwing hexes at the pages sowing patches on the dresses of the ladies of the court of king Eraticus, were just passing by!

Huh? Camp songs!

I haven't been lazy travel journal, I've just been busy! At least, that is what I will tell myself. I did have everything typed up and ready to publish LAST week, but then old mate Saeed popped in to use my laptop and the whole thing froze, so I lost what I had typed up and could not be bothered starting again. So in the round about 3 weeks since my last entry, a lot has happened, I think. 

Two full weeks have come and gone, done and dusted! This means there is actually less than a month of camp left. I believe camp officially finishes on the 17th of August, and after that you can come back and volunteer for YAC (Young Adult Camp) which I believe I will do, seeing as I love this place and have no plans. Anyhow, on with the show...

Week 1

The theme was Seasons, I was paired with Chloe and our team name was THUNDER GODSSS!

My co-counsellor for the week Chloe with super volunteer Luke!

Our five boys ranging from ages 7-11 were super champions and got pumped over our team name. I would bellow it at the top of my lungs and they would rush to huddle in for a "team meeting". There was Alex who was totally into hanging out by himself and was more into making potions in the Arts and Crafts hut. Logan who will probably be the PM of Canada one day, fantastic kid who I have many videos of impersonating me, singing and just rocking out. Myles was the most demanding of the group, who probably required the most behaviour support because his attention span would last about 30 seconds and would kick the ground, and growl when he didn't get his way, but a great kid nonetheless. Jaden who was the a beautiful young boy with very early cerebral palsy, but it didn't stop him doing anything, he always had a big beaming smile on his face. Wally was the 5th member of the gang, another amazing kid who who we awarded the helping hand of the group because he would want to assist us in setting the table, cleaning up after everyone (including other peoples tables) and just a downright pleasure to have around.

It was a wicked week in which we celebrated Canada day which the 1st of July I believe and it was a bit awkward at breakfast when everyone stood up to sing the Canadian National Anthem. We camped out which was fun, I did get eaten by mosquitos, but it's okay because Canadian mozzies are tiny in comparison (Aussies have got good blood!). The highlight of the week though was a hike where Chloe and I teamed up with Tony and Zoes buddy group of older boys and climbed Mt. Baldy (the giant mountain behind camp which I hadn't been to the top of yet). 

My cozy bed for the night...

Perched right outside my campers tent. There will be no escaped campers!

It's an offsite expedition, so we had to fill out a form and make sure we had a member of the Health Care Team accompany us. We did the risk analysis and in the end had a total of 4 counsellors, 2 volunteers and Brittany the nurse. So a pretty good ratio for the 8 campers we were bringing with us. It was a bloody warm day, I probably packed just enough water for my boys, although could and should have packed a bit more. Zoe barely had enough so we ended up having to share and attempt to convince the boys they weren't thirsty. The climb up took a lot longer than anticipated and only Chloe really knew where we were going because she had done a similar trip last year. It was a beautiful view from the top and the boys were pleased to have a break and take in the view. 

From the top of mt. Baldy

It was already 3pm by the time we reached the top, and rest break was in an hour, so we were technically supposed to be back by 4pm. Chloe decided to take us down another way, which was supposed to be a bit quicker but turned into a view steep drop at times, almost a right angle! We had to slow right down in order to safely get the team down, some fell behind as a view campers difficulty walking, and Iattempted to keep our five boys in order. Myles was a bit of a handful, complaining most of the way up, and the whole way down. He was getting under a lot of peoples skin and for a lot of it we just had to ignore him. Myles would say certain things such as "We'll never get down, we are lost" etc... And it was cute to see Jaden come to my rescue and tell him to be quiet and trust me because I knew where we were going.

In the end, we did make it down nice and safely, the hike probably took the majority of us 3 hours and the boys were exhausted. They did fall asleep easy that night, win!

A few pool parties later and we found ourselves at the end of the week, time for KANGAROO KOURT! This is an opportunity for the campers to put their counsellors name in a box for whatever reason and witness them cop a few nasty punishments on the second last day of camp. Unfortunately, I got the most that week and was condemned to be gooed (corn starch and water) and do 25 push ups... booooooo!

Justice has been served!

The next day campers were off, time to go home :( It is definitely sad to see them go, with some of them hugging you and telling you that they'll miss you or asking whether you will be back next year. I think the most heart warming was when I was talking to young Myles father and he told me the hardest part was that every year as they drove out the gate Myles would cry his eyes out, and sure enough he did. 

Week 2

A new week brought with it new campers, a new buddy group, a new theme and a new team name!
I was paired with Thalia, the theme was Robots and Space and our team name was GALACTIC CYBORGS! Mean huh? I don't know how I come up with these!

I remember feeling rather excitable when the buddy group was announced and that Thalia and I would be hanging out with teen boys that week, ages ranging from 14-17. Thalia pointed out that she felt a bit nervous due to the fact she was only 2 years older! Regardless, we were going to be the best counsellors we could and facilitate the best week possible for these boys!

It was also physical disability week, so we had a lot of kids in chairs and the guys from British Columbia Sportability were up for a few days with their hot-wheeled wheelchairs! Thalia and I had a group of six boys. Joe the beatboxer who had a moustache and more facial hair than I did, he was only 15! Chayse who was on crutches, but his preferred method to get around was a wheelchair but his mum wanted him to walk after having surgery, typical teenager questioning and demanding more. Max who was 17 and originating from Haiti so his English wasn't the best, but we got by. He loved to play basketball. Alex who was similar to the Alex last week in that he had different interests to the group, he really got into the theme of the week and would through all sorts of quirky facts at us about aliens and planes. Charlie came with his PSW (Personal Support Worker) because he required full time care. Beautiful kid whose exceptionality was autism/down syndrome so it was very hard to communicate with him. His PSW Kirtsy was amazing though, I believe she has been coming to camp for 7 years in a row! Finally, there was Trevor and his PSW Kyle, who was also his brother. Trev was a lot of fun, again he wasn't want to say much, but he always had a sly grin on his face. 

The week went by rather fast. Like last week our group was to be camping out on the 2nd night. I really enjoy camp out, some kids have a go on the big swing which is fun to watch as we haul them up. There were talent shows throughout the week where anyone can get up and sing or dance, or whatever they fancy, some stand up from time to time. Joe, representing the Cyborgs did us proud when he dropped some phat beats. My boyyyy! Park day is on the 4th day of camp every week, and this week we were graced with beautiful weather. We spend all day outside, tie-dying for the kids, making badges, getting wet, eating outside, a local sailboat business takes the kids out. Good times! This week Kangaroo Kourt was on day 5 because we had an open house on day 6 so a tonne of staff got gooed and pies in the face, and so on. I slipped under the rader, ha! A few campers did protest though...

Performing OH BANANA in the pool! 

Our programmers getting gooed!

The open house ran smoothly the following day. We had approximately 150 guests come to camp, walk around and see how it all runs. A lot of the people that come are members of the Lions club who I believe own and umbrella camp. They raise all the funds for camp and a lot of the people that come are the donors, so campers had to be on their best behaviour... But that didn't stop one of my boys and his temper. Joe was a great kid, but at times he would get frustrated and similar to Myles the week prior, he would stomp and have a little bit of a hissy fit. It was funny because earlier on in the week, I encouraged my boys to ask a girl to the end of week banquet/dance. Nothing suss... Well a little love interest developed between Joe and a girl he asked. I felt terrible when we had to stop them from holding hands, etc... 

Anyhow, the day went smoothly, as expected, a bit of a tantrum here and there, but nothing us super counsellors can't handle! There was a big talent show that afternoon after lunch and the Cyborgs got up and did a last minute rap that we wrote, classic! 

That evening was the banquet where all the campers get dressed up, we have a fancier dinner and there are speeches from graduating campers who have turned 18 and will not be returning next year. The dance is always fun, we play the same Justin Bieber songs and One Direction songs over and over again until everybody becomes nauseous. Good times!

The following morning is always sad, goodbyes are not fun and when the campers go you sort of feel a bit empty. It's not only a super week of fun and good times, but when the campers leave teary eyed you know that you've done an alright job. 

There was one sad moment throughout the week. Old mate Saeed was asked to leave camp. For reasons unknown, my Bangladeshi bandit is no longer here. It's a shame, but I will no doubt catch him in Victoria. 

The break that just passed, myself and Lisa decided to get off premises and go camping! For most of the breaks we've had here, I usually spend my 3 days off lounging around on the dock, and doing very little. So Lisa and I packed up our stuff and off we went. No real destination in mind, just drive and find a cool campsite and hang out for 2 days. The first day we drove for almost 5 hours I reckon and finally decided to just pay for a camp ground. Camping was fun, it was right next to a beautiful lake, we had to start our own fire (both amateur campers), put up our own tent, cook whatever we had, which was mainly leftovers from camp. A few mosquito bites here and there, a bit of malnourishment but it's all good! Lisa is pretty spectacular, she provides great insight and conversation on a lot of different topics and despite being very different, we get along pretty well. 

Nice little spot for camping!

Local kids, who believe that they are going to be famous because I took their picture.

Lisa and I

The second night camping we moved on to another camp ground that someone recommended. Of course we got lost again but only drove for a few hours before reaching our destination. This was a bit smaller and not as much of a modern camp as the other one. We were supposed to boil our hot water before we cooked it, which didn't happen because we couldn't figure out how to get the borrowed kettle above the fire without burning the plastic handle... Ahh tough times don't last, but tough people do! We made it through the night, more mosquito bites, but full of zest for life thanks to our new experiences. 

Yesterday was PRO-D day. I don't know what it means, but we have a casual mid Summer sit down with the co-ordinators and discuss our progress so far and areas for improvement, etc... We also have an opportunity to tie-dye our own stuff, and use some wicked screen prints that our beautiful Arts and Crafts programmer Tiffany has designed.

She's a mad woman!

Fundustrial Revolution alright!


AND I finally got a chance to go on the big swing, which wasn't that big because there were only 4 people heaving my butt up, but it was still fun! A nice part of yesterday was exchanging "warm fuzzies". These are just sheets with our names on it and everybody goes and writes a nice little message on everybody elses. This is similar to our "love note" system whereby you can at anytime write someone a special note, which is always nice to receive. 

Finally got my go on the big swing. Hoorah!

My sacred space

Just that little bit more cosier. 

Yay for love!

Week 3

Is about to kick off in under an hour. It is 7:30am presently and we meet at 8:30am at breakfast for instructions. What will follow will no doubt be exciting beyond exciting! BUDDY GROUPS! YESSSSS!!! So I'll let you know how it goes...


Tags: big swing, buddy groups, camp songs, camping, fun, i love camp!, tie-dye, weeks at shawnigan



Now if you want to take some pictures of the
fascinating witches who put the scintilating stitches in
the britches of the boys who put the powder on the
noses on the faces of the ladies of the harem of the
court of King Caractacus...

...you're too late! Because they've just... passed...by!


  Rolf Jul 23, 2012 2:06 PM



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