The last few days have probably been my favourite at camp, so far – prepare for an extremely erratic summary of this week!
When applying for camp, there was a huge focus on what “skills” you can bring. As a general counsellor, we don’t really get a chance to teach much, as we’re constantly running after our own kids! Every day at camp we have the chance to run a club in something we’re into and think the kids would love to learn. A lot of the things on my list when applying wouldn’t really do, as either there’s already a class in it (photography and music) or it’s impractical (science), so I tried my hand at teaching an anime class. I love drawing, and doodle on just about anything, but teaching it is a different thing entirely. It was scary, I’ve never appreciated how much planning goes into it as you have to try and cater for every kind of student, and acknowledge that not everyone is going to be super keen and into your lesson. However, one kid, G, absolutely loved it, and improved his drawings loads! Some kids that came didn’t want to do what was on the lesson plan, and were happy to do their own thing. Initially, it was frustrating because you’re trying to teach the rest of the class but often they were actually incredible little artists at their age, and hopefully I’ll get to show what they did at the art show! I definitely don’t think I’m cut out to be a teacher though, it’s way too stressful.
G features twice in this list because he was the inspiration behind the bucket spaceship. A couple of nights ago, just before my day off, we were super short staffed, and so a friend of mine and I had to stay on after we clocked out because there was almost no one else. I walked around to find G sat in this huge bucket, there was another bucket next to it so I thought it’d be funny to put it on top of him. Instantly he started making revving noises. Have you ever been in those Virtual Reality machines in arcades? They’re always really overpriced and pretty terrible. They did, however, give me the idea to tip the bucket over and see what he’d do. Before long, a huge queue of kids formed to get into G’s bucket spaceship, and so myself and another counsellor made the rides increasingly more elaborate, adding asteroid belts, meteors, black holes and landing sequences! They did whatever we asked, fights stopped, they shared, they listened, just as long as long as they could have another go at being an astronaut. I miss my imagination! They loved light sabres too!
Program staff and lifeguards collectively form the pillars upon which all the structure and order on camp stands. Therefore, it follows, that “special days”, when the program staff and most of the lifeguards have their day off, is hell on Earth. Last session, during the first period of soccer, we had to break up around 11 fights in the first fifteen minutes for the Little Johns and the Merry Men – kids that age need constancy and regularity, without it it’s chaos! This time, however, they managed to get their acts together and instead of the normal “international day”, we celebrated Holi, the Indian festival of colours. I don’t really know much about the actual tradition behind it, I just know it often involves lots of paints and powder! We turned the hill into a giant water slide by placing some mats from the gym down under a huge tarpaulin and hosing the entire thing. We then got the powder paints and mixed them in with water (and a little bit of poster!) to make neon coloured water pistols, sprays and bottles, which we let the kids loose on! I can’t describe to you how therapeutic it is shooting three foot kids with paint, until they turn around and empty entire buckets of the stuff back on you! It was madness, but everyone went nuts for it!
That night, when everyone came back, we had Counsellor Catwalk. The kids get to pick a counsellor from their travelling tent on the girls/boys side to dress up as a member of the opposite sex. Last time, K, our floater, got picked and the result was incredible. Sadly, I was the favourite, and was promptly shipped off to Fairy field, where a multitude of little girls got to work on my hair, nails, makeup and dress, this is the story of how Princess Bryanna was born. Following our (torture)makeover, we had to strut our stuff down a red carpet, trying to win over the judges with our fabulous moves, amongst other tricks everyone had up their sleeves. And I won!
Yesterday, we got back from dinner at Rhodes (which was fantastic!) And my friend L asked me whether I’d ever seen the lake at night. I hadn’t. So I walked with her down to Fairy field, as Sherwood is up on the hill so we can’t see the lake, and it was breathtaking. The lake itself took a backseat to the fireflies. Against the pitch blackness of the trees and bushes on the road around Ramapo, hundreds of fireflies blink asynchronously to create this brilliant light show. Think starts 10ft in front of you. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I didn’t have a tripod or a good enough lens to film it, but it was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. The lake was good too, I guess.