Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The kind of legends a camp is built upon ....

One of the irresistible pulls that brought be out of camp retirement was the promise of the privilege to observe an amazing transformation at source.  I've mentioned it before, but there are few other places, times and experiences when seemingly shy and retiring children metamorphose into something truly stunning and courageous.

I'm talking of course of the transformation from child to legend.  You don't really know its happening until its happened, and the signs become too obvious to ignore.  There's the heroism and daring deeds, but coupled to that, there's a more subtle change: they walk ten feet tall, the look eagerly for the next challenge, they take adults jokes and teases with greater freedom and enjoyment, and you generally start to feel that little bit warmer in their glow.

Today, we have taken our first real strides into the nitty-gritty, business end of camp.  Yesterday was about finding our feet, today was more about getting them very wet, climbing up walls and trees on them and using them to guide us across the assault course.  An early morning call and departure, a coach drive to Dartmoor, and we were there - 7 hours of wall to wall using those yesterday-found feet in ways that are often unimaginable.

So imagine, if you can, the legends that came out of this.  Jack (F), Lainey May, Jess, Harry et al have all seemed to grow a little today in the luminary stakes.  Jess has yet to find an obstacle that will stand in her way; despite the fact she is covered in bruises from hurtling at the climbing wall, she cannot stop smiling, and we have yet to see her move in a way that cannot be described as "skipping with glee".

It will surprise no-one that Jack is being as helpful and self-sacrificing as you can be.  When, however, you hear that he was all of this, whilst on a child-built raft in the middle of a freezing cold lake with, in his own words, "I got a wet bum, I have", then you will know that his fame must surely grown and grow.  Two particular members of the group found it very tough; they found it an awful lot easier due mainly to the big man's presence.

Not everyone is a legend through their large deeds or fearless action.  Some are legends because they quietly and humbly try, even when every bone in their body almost says no.  That climbing wall looked and felt like the north face of the Eiger today to Lainey, but she still got on it and climbed.  And Harry is just making life more fun for everyone else involved.  What more could we ask?

Are these the only legends? No, but we've only had one day.  No-one complained at the fact that we still had a lengthy walk this evening after the coach had dropped us off, even if we were all tired and starving hungry. That was pretty legendary.  Once again, the manners and courtesy of our children in the dining hall was a joy and a source of real pride.  All 40 children built and then climbed on to rafts and went into the middle of the lake - not one fell in. Legend.

That doesn't mean I'm saying that none jumped in of their own accord...

I got a real camp tingle today, again, one I've mentioned before.  I look at my watch and thought "It's 11.40 on a Tuesday".  I then realized I was neck deep in lake water and about to be run over by a raft.  Typical Tuesday really.

Until tomorrow - water sports day, and you all know how I feel about that - and the creation of more and more legends, that is all