Thursday, 9 July 2015

How many smores is officially too many? Really? Oh, okay then ....

We have reached the end of day four.  No casualties, no major issues, almost no energy and lots of sun toasted cheeks.  Another packed day today culminating in the joy that is the disco, and another million successes to report.  We are sat here basking in the glow of the staff win in the disco fancy dress tournament (we were, in fairness, the only entrants) and reflecting on the week at large.

The thing is, we are struggling.  Not struggling to think of anything good; far from it.  We have the reverse feeling - how can we whittle it down to a blog that will be short enough to read this side of our return?  We are sat here sharing stories and tales of courage, resilience, bravery, laughter, friendship, and, if we are honest, not a little fear and frustration.

I have often spoken of camp as weaving some magic.  Although my knees (and I am not using this as an excuse: my right knee and hip have been on fire since yesterday) and my back are threatening me with a Friday night of unrivaled pain, I have been reminded on a hundred tiny occasions of the privilege and joy it is to weave away.  As I have watched children almost stand on a surfboard, watched them shoot a rifle, string an archery bow, light a fire, climb a tower, make a new and unexpected friend, I have taken that quiet moment of pride in the fact that I might have just had something to do with it, if only tangentially, for a second, a long time ago.

What follows are the staff-agreed highlights.  We could report on a thousand, ranging from overcoming massive fears to simply being unbelievably pleasant, but we have tried to be precise in order to ensure we record a tangible outcome for every child to hold onto on a cold wet winter in November.  So, as Dermot would say to a contestant just kicked out of X factor, let's have a look at your best bits.

Billy Joe - champion archer

Jacob T - top of the climbing wall all on his own

Matta - Jumping off the bridge into the river (sorry about the shoe Mum)

Taya - incredible rifle skills

Cheyanne - a brand new, world first climbing technique

Natasha - Body boarding and (almost) surfing

Logan - The chug meister (Mum, I'll explain when I see you)

Lee - Great team player in the pipe building game

Sinead - Basically, doing everything with a smile

Jack F - too many to mention

Nathan - Our born leader, in every sense

Bethany - Not giving up when it was too tough

Connor - No grumbles whatsoever, even when we've walked miles

Harry - Pushing himself up the climbing wall

Jessica - We cannot narrow it down; she had smiled and done everything

Kiera - a great team player on the raft

Bailey S - a champion rower on the raft

Sean - overcoming his fears on the climbing wall

Owen - carrying on with water sports even when utterly freezing

Taneysha - Overcoming her fears to be simply awesome

Ryan - getting into the spirit of camp with lots of interesting questions

Brooklyn - not giving up even when things were tough, e.g., pulling that archery bow back

William - surf skills

Natalia - team work on the spider's web

Taylor - embracing the watersports

Amy - air rifle

Lainey May - Conquering fears on a number of activities

Katie F - Massive team player

Caydon - Assault course

Jack D - His positive attitude to all tasks

Brandon - Double bulls-eye in rifles

Mason - Another of our wonderful leaders - a future surfer dude

Cameron - Body boarding legend

Kane - Overcoming hatred of water to body board - and stay for the late session

Abdi - Jumping off a bridge despite being freezing

Leah - Loving it (in her own words)

Baileigh - Jumping of the bridge - twice!

Candice - Amazing rifle / archery work

Katie - Climbing wall (and amazing integrity... and, we discovered, modesty)

Riley - Helping everyone over the assault course

Magic is magic, and always will be.  Well done everyone, and thank you.

To the amazing staff team, thank you all so much.  The way you've thrown yourself into everything, and the standard and model you've set for the kids has made it all so much easier and more enjoyable.  Have a great weekend.  And the costumes, if somewhat snug, were awesome.

So, from the magic weaving place, the colors of which will always be the most wonderful green and blue I see anywhere on the planet other than my beloved Cornwall, that is a sun toasted, tired but happy all.

And for me at camp?  That is ... something for me to think about once my knees have started talking to me again.

That, for now, is truly all.