Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to make a few changes to camp this year – regular lateral flow testing for Seniors, 14+, and staff, limited movement between tables in the marquee, and a number of contingency plans in the event of a positive case. Another big change was the date of our day trip. Having our big camp day out on the Friday instead of the Tuesday certainly threw off a lot of our regular campers, and we didn’t know if we were coming or going! Thankfully we WERE going, and we all got up bright and early for a fun day at Gulliver’s World.

The day started off with the ever-popular PT, followed by a breakfast of cereals, toast, beans, and baked cheesy ham/egg cups – huge thank you to our breakfast crew for keeping us fed in the mornings throughout camp, and getting up early EVERY day to do so!

After breakfast there was a mad dash to make sure we would all be ready to board the coach. This meant our tent inspector, Josie, had to rush through her announcement of the Top Tent results, causing her to lose all understanding of the English language.

Final loo trips completed, bags packed, bottles filled, hands sanitized, and we were ready. We all filed into the coach, taking with us boxes of sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bars, and cartons of juice. The hour-plus journey seemed to be over in the blink of an eye – in hindsight that might have been because the majority of us fell asleep…

We arrived at Gulliver’s World to the cheerful tune of “I need to go to the toilet” and “are we there yet?”. Yes, we were there! We made base camp at our rendez-vous point and sent everyone off in their groups to enjoy the rides and attractions. After a morning of log flumes, pirate ships, and dodgems, everyone began to filter back through the meeting point to pick up their individual sandwiches, a result of the wonderful Kath slaving away over a chopping board for the entirety of the previous day. Thank you Kath – the popping candy went down a treat as well!

Everyone then returned to their adventures and continued to enjoy the park. The sound of gleeful cheering filled the air, followed by regular “this is so fast!!”s and irregular “I’m going to be sick”s. Thankfully we managed to avoid the latter, although we gave Olivia the sick bucket for the journey home, just in case! I think the fault here lies with Tom, who convinced her to go on the teacups in the first place.

And so, once we had all screamed and been turned upside down to our hearts’ content, we grouped together like a flock of sheep, herded by our Adjutant Caleb. Due to his rigidity and organisation we were able to be back on the coach only 10 minutes later than planned – an impressive feat when you’re in charge of 35 children!

Strangely enough, the return journey was significantly louder than the outward journey. I blame the many pots of candyfloss consumed and the unnaturally coloured lollipops. Still, it was a pleasant journey full of laughter! I think it’s safe to say we were all looking forward to the evening’s event – the Camp Cabaret!

Before this year, the Friday evening event was always the Camp Concert – 2 or 3 hours of ALL camp attendees performing some sort of act, whether that be a song, dance, comedy sketch, poetry, or simply standing front and centre getting the entire audience to watch you eat a banana (I’m looking at you Josh!). This year, however, the big change was that it was NO LONGER mandatory for everyone to participate with an act. Not only was this a relief to those who don’t like performing, but it was also a relief to those who don’t like WATCHING forced performances. It also meant that all of the acts were undertaken with true enthusiasm and enjoyment, which is much more pleasant to witness as an audience member.

The sheer variety of acts in the Camp Cabaret just goes to reinforce how wonderfully different we all our, and how many great (and not so great) talents everyone has. Edward, who was able to kick himself in the head; Olivia and Kayleigh, who sang and played the guitar and ukelele; Ben, with his fantastic rendition of Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes; the many skilled diablo performers; and even the kindergarteners, who sang and danced to their favourite songs. A truly spectacular night.

And now, as the 14+ embark to the field next door to enjoy their traditional Friday bbq, the rest of us brush our teeth and head to bed. Our last night in our sleeping bags and tents with our friends, before we leave for home in the morning. As always, it feels like the week has flown by, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say…

It’s good to be back! Jessi

We are now currently having breakfast before we pack up camp. Coach is due at 10.30