Existing Member?

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

Home is wherever I'm with you

CANADA | Friday, 31 August 2012 | Views [4654]

Fly the camp flag

Fly the camp flag

Week 3

Camper Alex: Does everyone in the world have a disability?
Me: Yes, everyone is the world has some exceptionality. Everyone is exceptional in their own way.
Camper Alex: Like you, you're weird?

This is definitely one of the most vivid memories from that week. At the 9:30am meeting I was paired up with Kat, I had never guessed this one in a million years, and I don't think she saw it coming either. There was no doubt that we were both ready for a challenge though! The theme for the week was "Under the Sea" and we agreed to call our mean team the PIRATE SHARKS!

I was excited because in our group was Jacob, who I had in the new camper camp and he was returning for a full week! The groups age range was from about 10-14, so quite a mix. Day 1 flew by as they all got settled in and we started to learn about our campers. I dressed up like a pirate for arrival of the campers and swore to maintain my outfit and swashbuckling sword for the whole week, but it became a bit much.

A lot of day 2 was spent outdoors attempting to make a boat out of cardboard and sticky tape which one of the counsellors would have to get into, Kat took one for the team and our boat quickly sunk. We had sack races, chugging contests and dancing contests to win things to aid us in constructing a boat, I was hopeless at the sack race.

I don't like sack races...

That evening was our groups turn to camp out, so Kat and I arranged for a scavenger hunt on the train tracks which the boys thoroughly enjoyed. I told a ghost story which they were mesmerised by, which led into an alien story, they freaked!

The following morning we all awoke, had our pancakes and stayed up there for a bit waiting for the big swing to open. I think most of the boys went up, all of which loved it. As we rolled back into camp that morning, we joined in for the pool party which is always a blast. Now if my memory serves me correctly, this would have been day 3 and this week was a shorter week, with the campers only stay for five days, leaving on the sixth. So that evening I had DORM DUTY! 

I had been lucky enough to avoid doing dorm duty up until now, and even then, I hadn't been rostered on, but Chloe would have done her third consecutive week so I switched with her. I had been dreading doing dorm duty because the idea of staying up all night scares the bejeezus out of me. Surprisingly though, it was hell fun. I was put on with Suzy and we probably changed at least 8 kids out of their wet beds, so time flew! We scared the crap out of each other with talk of horror movies as we sat in the hall way, ate munchies all night and just had fun. 

Suzy made a playdo me to keep herself occupied. Picasso!

Big Suze attempting to stay awake by stretching.

The day after dorm duty is when you get to sleep all day. You basically stay up from 9pm until 7:20am when the counsellors rock up to relieve you. So off to bed I went at 7:20am and I crashed. I slept right through until 12:30pm when I got up for lunch. It was park day, so everything was outdoors. I went and hung out with Kat, Koop and our group for lunch. I had a work out and then jump backed into the group at 4pm. That evening was movie night, so a very easy day. 

Best counsellors ever!

The next day was a big one. Kangaroo Kourt in which there was a double Australian gooing, unfair right?

Justice has been served!

After a dip in the lake to wash off, it was time for some intense personal programming. A camper noticed that I had hair under my armpits and conjured up the idea to shave them. In the end, he was convinced that shaving my legs would do - thanks Christel!

Best personal programming ever!

There was another rocking pool party and later that evening, the banquet and dance party, which Kat and I rocked togas to!

Team toga!

Some of the little dudes were a bit upset that it was the last night and that they would be leaving tomorrow, one in particular, thirteen year old Bohdi. He was a super kid who was super gifted at drawing and from what it sounded like, came from a rough home. A few of us hung out on the trampoline, bellowed some proud camp songs and watched a nice sunset.

Christel and I

Goodbyes the following morning weren't fun, but they're inevitable, so after all the superstars had left the staff went for a jump into the lake... but struggled with the locked gate.

Get to the lakeee!

That break was spent watching a lot of the Olympics, getting inspired and then going for a bike ride around the lake, running into town and then a quick swim. I felt pretty good about myself, and it justified the beers over the break.

Week 4

The fourth week of camp commenced on the 31st of July and I had a good feeling that I was going to be a float counsellor. The previous two weeks had been challenging being matched with counsellors who had very different personalities to me and in turn their counselling styles and mine weren't exactly aligned. 

As a float, my role was primarily to assist other buddy groups when they required some extra support, which initially none was required, so it was hard to suppress that "useless" feeling.

Super volunteers before check-in

Team Aus floating!

A big plus to floating was that I was now able to hang out with female buddy groups and I quickly jumped into Colleen and Morgans, not because they needed a lot of support, but because their group of girls were SUPER!

The week flew by, I found myself bouncing between 3 or so groups and was really loving the fact that I got to know more than just my usual 6 campers.

Taylor all blue - legend!

Day 4 was park day, as per usual and I was filling in for Tony who had to do dorm duty the night before. Gabby and Tony had a group of six hilarious teenagers who were all so different, but all so similar. They had no interest in hanging outside during park day, but preferred to sit inside to play Yu-gi-oh cards, or something like that. They had no desire to play some sport with the girls who wanted to play with them. It was very humorous to observe their conversations and interactions with each other.

Sailing on park day

I was also on dorm duty this week and was unfortunately going to miss Kangaroo Kourt, but that was okay because I got to pretty much just hang out until the banquet. It was a slow dorm duty, there was not much action in the form of wet beds and sleepless kids. I rocked up to do my rest break duty at 4pm and was conned into getting my make up done by some girls for the banquet...

Kirsty from week 1 and I with my make up.

The following day was harder than most weeks to say goodbye. I think it's because I connected with a lot more kids than most weeks. Nevertheless we celebrated that evening by hitting up the Black Swan, or spending most of the time having a drink in the park next to the pub. And we were getting up at 9am to go camping the next day, yipee!

My manly man Michael, and Brit.

Camping the next day was fun, we all huddled into a few small cars and set off to some nice spot called China Beach I believe. It was a very nice spot and there was a fair few of us. Some were prepared more so than others and enjoyed the luxury of having a tent, where as some of us weren't so prepared and enjoyed the mosquitos and rocky ground as a mattress. Either way it was fun to get outside of camp with everyone.

Building a fort on China beach with Mike

Toughing it out without a tent!

Raiding Michael's tent in the morning

The next day I'd say 75% of those who went camping left and only a handful stayed behind for the second night. I left with Taylor, Erich and Brit. We all rolled back into camp and cleaned up, then decided we wanted to head down to Victoria to watch the new Batman. We met up with Christel and Justice and headed to the imax. Fortunately, it was a cheap Tuesday so we didn't pay a fortune for our second row seats. Yep, second row in imax for the new action packed Batman. Good one Dachwitz!

I think the remainder of the break was spent doing a 40km bike ride, 10km run and swim. Felt knackered afterwards, but justified the not so ideal food and bevvies!

Week 5

With a new week came a new buddy group and I was MEGA excited to work with Zoe. From what I had observed over the first four weeks was a steller counsellor! I do remember her filling in one week when my co-counsellor had to do dorm duty and she was so on the ball. And now I had the opportunity to work the whole week with her, excited much?!

Dreammmm team!

We were the Rowdy Rockers and had a mean team of 14-16 year olds. Our group consisted of Rhys who was a wrestling fanatic and absolutely loved to flaunt his muscles and flirt with the ladies. Tristan who was a camp veteran, but with his booming voice was hilarious. Montana was the group heartthrob with his guitar and black wifebeater. Justin was an absolute gem, didn't say much, but as the week went on he opened up and became quite cheeky. Nick came with his PSW Andrea and together were a great addition to the group. Finally there was Markus, who was 100% there for the ladies. It wasn't uncommon throughout the week to have at least half the group with female counsellors around there arms, demanding that I take a photo.

Our group went to camp out on day 2 and I have one distinct memory of when we were all around the camp fire and our boys were toasting their own marsh mellows next to us. There was a plate of chocolate and grammy crackers for the smores and Rhys kept eyeing them. He suddenly snatched up the whole plate of chocolate and shoved them in his mouth. I couldn't help but laugh as he smiled with his big chocolatey mouth. 

The next day we went back to camp and Zoe had organised a canoe trip for our group to go across the lake to the provincial park and have lunch there. The backstory was that the kitchen had run out of food for us and we had to go find our own, which Coordinator Cole was going to drive around with.

Canoe trip with the Rowdy Rockers

The trip back was fun, I decided to let Montana go in the back of the canoe and failed to realise that I wouldn't be able to steer in the front, so we went round in circles for a while before Emily came back and rescued us.

When we got back to camp we were excited to see a rally involving all the campers with big signs to stop "the man" from shutting down camp (Part of the theme, although I never quite got it...) 

After another dive in the lake and being pushed in countless times, it was rest break and time to eat! Breakfast after camp out isn't the most satisfying and the picnic lunch wasn't exactly fulfilling either, so you could say I was somewhat hungry.

At dinner it was announced there was a karaoke party in the camper lounge. Which was totally off the hook... I believe I now know all the lyrics to What Makes you Beautiful.

Park day was next, and again we got to spend all day outside. The boys loved sailing, seeing Rowen the beautiful assistance dog and hitting the slip 'n' slide...


Of course this was followed with another jump into the lake

Canon ball into the lake

Justice had to be served the next day and I was first up to get gooed for what other then expelling extremely smelly gas, apparently. 

Always fun at KK!

But this Kangaroo Kourt was different, I got to goo the progs. Which I must add was very satisfying.


Paybacks a b!7c#

The talent show was spectacular that week. A hot list of super singers, dancers and other various acts, including a big flex off with Rhys. We had a wicked pool party afterwards which involves nothing else but a big OH BANANA! and pushing your counsellors in. 

Banquet was on that night, and all our little men scrubbed up. Zoe and I got our glorious picture taken and then we danced the night away in the basketball courts.


Morning came, and it was all soon to be over. The final full week at camp was done, and many of the counsellors were not staying on for YAC so adios amigos it was!

The next day and a half was to be spent cleaning the whole site super thoroughly so we could, for the first time over the Summer, have drinks on site and rock out at disorientation. Christel was leaving us, the day before disorientation which was sad, so we slept under the stars that night, which was mega uncomfortable, but witness some beautiful shooting stars.

Bye Christel - see you in Le-France!

Everyone dressed up that evening, for the last evening that we would all be together. We had a delicious meal and then had one, or two drinks.

Camp Shawnigan staff 2012

The next day was goodbye for the most part. It wasn't as sad as I thought it would be, nor was it fun for that matter. Lisa, Tony and I moved into the brown house where we would be staying for the next 5-6 days before Young Adult Camp started.  

Tony and I kept ourselves occupied by shaving parts of our eyebrows in attempt to look badass. 

Bad ass!

We also made a happy birthday video for Christel. Half way through the break we were going to head up and join Zoe, Sean and Jo for a camping trip at Zoes luxury camping site on Horne Lake. 

https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10151031471966022&saved <--- Happy birthday Christel!

Tony couldn't come camping as he was looking for a place to live in Victoria, and sort out uni stuff. So Lisa and I picked up Jo and Sean and then drove out to Zoes hot camping spot.

Horne Lake

Swim to the other side.

Beautiful spot, cheers Zoe!

This is the furthest I got to standing up. 0.0000231 seconds later I landed flat on my face.

Those that went luxury camping!

Zoe took us tubing, I attempted to wakeboard, we swam across the lake, she fed us and we all enjoyed each others company for one final time. We were barely there for 24 hours, but it flew past and then it was goodbye Zoe! Back to camp it was and just in time for YAC...


Yac was volunteer based and it was a combination of a few staff from Shawnigan and a few from Camp Winfield which is in the Okanagan I believe. Team Winfield really bought it and it was a shame that YAC was only for 4 days and 3 nights. 

I got paired with the counselling coordinator from Winfield; Kait Mooney. She was the bomb with 3 years experience at Easter Seals under her belt and together we had a very... chilled group of dudes. Fortunately, none of the campers were older than me, so that was lucky. 

My co-counsellor from Winfield; Kait Mooney!

YAC flew by and before it even started, the campers were going home. Winfield bought with them a new angle to camp and I feel very fortunate to have been there to rock out with them. 

It was then time to pack up and ship out! Campers were being picked up between 10am - 12pm as usual and we had to be out by 3pm. 

It took me forever to get all my stuff in some bags, back to bag life... :)

Taylor, Lisa, James. Arnold and I rolled back into Victoria and went straight to Taylors new place where we all crashed that night. Jimbo came around with Justice and we rocked Catan for a few hours, I was victorious. I also discovered Taylors secret desire to become more Australian with her secret stash of "Aussie" shampoo.


The days after camp...

The past few days have been a blur. I have been staying at Charlie's place which is close to downtown with Lisa. I've had a job interview in which was a success, and the past two days have had orientation. I'll be reunited with Thalia who was my co-counsellor in week 1. She also got the job at Teen Community Connections. Basically, we'll be driving around picking up kids after school and hanging with them for a few hours. It's a good start, and I know a lot of the kids from camp. Starts this Wednesday!

Otherwise, I need to start looking for my own place and I really want to buy a second hand bike to scoot around town.

Now, I think that is it. I probably left out a tonne, but I have been putting this catch up off for weeks. Actually, not done.. One thing that does deserve a mention is that I was crowned the manliest man at camp. No, it wasn't self-declared. A few of us competed in a few events for points, and I won overall. BAM! Still got it.

But, I did go to the gym with Saeed two days ago and weighed in at 78.1kgs... no wonder it is harder to run!

Only 285 days til' camp!!

Tags: camp, camping, counsellors, exceptionalities, shawnigan, victoria



Travel Answers about Canada

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.