May 28th ’14. Day 3: Jetlag, Fishing, Make-Believe Storms and Hilarious Pranks

4:30am
Oh my god I am so cold. Why am I awake? Bloody jetlag. My body clock is so screwed right now. Everyone else is asleep. Shhh. Oh, the window was open, that’s why it’s freezing in here. Why was the window open? Right, come on sleep, come back to me…don’t need to be up for another 3 hours.

6:30am
Nope. Didn’t got back to sleep. I guess the lack of sleep over the last few days and changing time zones a million times from Australia to here has finally caught up to me. This is going to be a long day. I’ve just been lying here for the last few hours, huddled in my sleeping bag trying to stay warm (closing the window didn’t really help), watching a movie called ‘Chasing Mavericks’ on my iPad. It’s about big wave surfing. Cool movie. But not really worth being awake at ridiculous o’clock for!

10am
It’s raining and cold. And I’m tired. But the day has actually surprised me so far. Everyone finally woke up after what felt like a lifetime of being awake alone. Breakfast, then random jobs around camp for a bit this morning. Working with the group that’s here for the rest of the day – the Wilton Montessori Primary School who are just the cutest, loveliest kids ever. This is why I love camp… working with kids like this. Me and Rosa are about to take them on a nature hike around camp. Me. Hiking. Ha. That’s almost as bad as the time me and Lily took a bunch of 17 year old’s mountain biking.

summer camp counselor diary lake
No fish to be found here!

12:05pm.
Well the hike went unexpectedly well. It was more of a squelchy, muddy walk with a lot of stops and ‘never-tell’ games* than a hike as such, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

*’Never-tell’ games are basically just riddles, but you’re never ever allowed to tell anyone the answer (very frustrating for the kids that just can’t get it) – I’ll give you an example. There’s a Green Glass Door. Some things can be taken through the door and some things can’t. I can take boots, but I can’t take shoes. I can take a puppy, but I can’t take a dog. I can take a pool, but I can’t take a lake. Get it? No, neither did I for quite a while. We’ll come back to it.

12:30pm
Lunch time. Good, I’m super hungry. I forgot how exhausting little kids are.

2pm
Just had the most epic fail of all fails. Me and Chris took the kids fishing down at the lake and, of course, we didn’t have any proper bait so the plan was just to dig up some worms and use those instead. Apart from, there were no worms because it’s spring and it’s cold. Actually none. We had the kids looking under logs and digging up rocks and mud for about half an hour (an activity in itself) and all we could find were about 7 of the tiniest, skinniest, most pathetic looking sort-of worms I’ve ever seen. We had to kind of pretend to the kids that that was normal and they’d done really well in finding them so they didn’t lose hope in the actual act of fishing.

So then the poor kids sat on the dock with their fishing rods dangling in the water, just waiting for something to bite. It didn’t. Not even a single little nibble. We did see a massive snake in the reeds though. And I almost got my eye taken out by a fishhook. Multiple times. Children and spiky things that hook fish in their faces shouldn’t mix.

Summer camp counselor diary storm
Awesome red sky before the storm!

5:15pm
After the pathetic attempt at fishing, we upped the stakes on our last activity with the kids. Me, Rosa and Rosie (yes, all ‘R’s, and yes, we did have a bit of fun swapping our name badges around) took the kids into the woods to build some shelters. But these weren’t just any shelters. These were shelters that had to protect us all from the HUGE (pretend) storm that was coming. We got Ramon to radio us and tell us (and the kids) that there was a hurricane coming and we didn’t have long to build a shelter.

It was brilliant. Boys vs. girls in the race for the best shelter. There were branches, there was rope, and tarp and moss and leaves. There were arguments. More branches. Whole trees. There were even make-believe kitchens and fires and bathrooms inside these awesome shelters. You could see the hysteria setting in (we eventually had to tell them that is was just a game as one girl got really upset and thought she might actually have to sleep in this shelter during a storm…they all claimed they knew) as we counted down and then inspected their offerings. This is always my favourite part – blowing on the shelter and throwing buckets of water over it to ‘test’ its capabilities. Oh god this is the best job ever.

8:35pm
We just had the most amazing little goodbye campfire with the Montessori kids ever. (Okay it was in the dining hall because there is actually a storm happening right now, but still). We did a few funny little skits for them, a couple of camp songs and then they sang us some songs to say thank you…stuff that they’d spent ages preparing. So adorable. It’s such an awesome feeling when kids tell you how much fun they had with you, that you actually were able to do that for them.

summer camp counselor diary
Love these kids

12:05am
Ahahahahaha. I can’t stop laughing. Adam just played the greatest prank on Rosa that there’s ever been. She scares really easily, so Adam and Ramon have this ongoing thing where they’ll hide in our house or jump out at us, with the main purpose of making Rosa scream. It’s pretty funny.

Anyway, tonight he came up to the house and (after scaring Rosa, of course) gave me a radio and told me to hide it somewhere in the bedroom and leave it on. I put it under her bed. So we’re all just hanging out, about to go to bed, lights out etc and this crackly voice comes out of the darkness…a super creepy voice, and Rosa starts freaking out. Like really freaking out. I’m glad it was dark, because the rest of us were in fits of silent laughter.

This continues for a while, all of us trying to play along and be scared too. Ramon gets involved on his radio. Rosa’s on the floor in a heap. She keeps jumping and screaming. ‘Where are they?!’. ‘They’re outside’. ‘Roo, are they outside the window?!’. ‘ARE THEY OUTSIDE?!’ ‘Aah!’

Eventually I can’t contain it anymore and show her the radio. She doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Best prank ever.

I love this place.

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