Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Magic Moments- camp day three

This morning was one.  I woke at 6.38 (my normal school time) and again at 6.47 (the snooze alarm) before waking again ahead of any children at 7.15.  Yes, the shenanigans of morning 1 were isolated to then, and we all got a good night’s sleep.  We had to wake almost every child to get them ready for early breakfast. 

The thing about camp is that it’s filled with magical little moments that remind you why you do it in the first place.  They’re unhidden, spontaneous, unintentional, and utterly wonderful.  The children don’t know they’re creating anything special, they don’t actually know they’re being anything other than themselves, but then, isn’t that the point?

There’s something so deliciously human, and so incredibly beautiful about two or three beings working innocently and surreptitiously together to create a moment of sheer electricity.  To err is human, to do something super is surely superhuman.

(Of course, camp also brings un-magical moments.  This year’s thus far have included socks on the beach, canine phobia, smells relating to boys and a spider’s nest in the ladies loo.)

So, what have we seen? 

Unspoken but monumental bravery, on repeated occasions.

Year 6 boys (never knowingly sensitive) egging on a reluctant year 5 girl to “Give it a go! You’ll love it!”.  (You want to know now, don’t you.  She did it.  Twice.)

A quiet, diligent year 6 girl taking a lead and pushing a group towards success.

A year 5 and a year 6 – who would never ever have anything to do with each other – teasing each other playfully on the jetty, the one encouraging the other to jump.  She did.  He followed.  They laughed together in the water. I beamed with pride.

A brave year 5 gymnast joining in with teenagers on the beach, and teaching them a new trick or two.

Everyone joining in without asking to bury someone in the sand…at their own request.

A boy stood confidently astride a hand built raft, before launching himself headfirst into the lake.

A year 5 girl, never famed for her courage, offering up her paddle, before launching herself off the raft at the lake’s deepest point. (Neither one has seen or heard about the other)

The sheer determination of young children, normally shy and retiring, to push themselves to their limits.

The joy of achievement.

That’s why everyone remembers camp.  No-one remembers the bloke who runs the water sports or the lady at the archery.  No one remembers the food (which they should do here, it’s gorgeous and plentiful) and no-one remembers why they were so afraid in the first place.  People remember camp because it is packed with memories that have a highly important personal value.  They remember the first pen pal, the first time they stood on a surfboard, or flew down a zip wire, the first independent feeling of sheer exhilaration, that feeling that you achieved something you never thought possible. They remember that amazing feeling you couldn’t possibly hope to experience at home on 11.40 on a Wednesday morning.

In short, people remember the magic.

And I shall confess I had forgotten.  I still remember my year 6 camp (a smelly muddy hole somewhere outside Birmingham – Coventry, I think it was called), and those memories just about remain. Yet I have been blessed with a new set of memories, a new store of magic for every time I have put myself forward for camp as an adult.  When I saw that boy astride the raft today I watched in awe, and the magic returned.  Despite the fact I was in the lake, I soared high above it, watching this amazing personal success, privileged to be party to this wondrous revelation, a reveller at the Glastonbury of myths (album by Brooke Swift versus the Bad Hatters).  Suddenly, the magic was all around me, and I realised I’d been sat in the midst of it all week. 

So, has all of this affected my momentous decision?  I am happy to admit that today my faith has wavered, my resolved tested.  But this isn’t my blog, this is magic’s blog, and a happy celebration of how lucky I find myself to be able to create the circumstances that allow such wander to flow.  Therefore, earlier than we have done so far this week, I am contented to say – with enormous expectation of what magic we may weave tomorrow – that is all.

For all the parents out there, let me summarise it more literally: today we have asked your children to negotiate a low rope assault course that almost wrecked their hands, then climb into a tree and hurl themselves off a platform along a 120 foot zip wire.  Then, after lunch, we asked them to build a raft out of barrels and planks, then ride it around a lake.  Simples.  Just for fun, we then spent an hour launching them off the jetty into the lake.  Then ate too much pizza.  Then went the beach.  That isn’t all…