September’s minicamp was at Piha Mill Camp. The roads out to Piha get dark early at this time of the year, so the lights of the camp shone out through the darkness as if to welcome people. After the (organised) chaos of registration, we got down to a fantastic camp with a group of amazing young people. Want to know what happened? Then read on …
Friday began with a name game to get to know everyone. This included everyone coming together to greet returning campers and meeting the new ones. Some were team activities, and some were competitive! Saying your name twice then someone else’s name twice takes on a whole different meaning when you can’t show your teeth and are trying your best not to laugh. There was a whole heap of teeth shown, that’s for sure! It was during the Friday evening that the camp leaders were introduced; Gemma, Tracey, Mackenzie, Ellen, David, Aiden, Tess, Danni, Heba (Whanganui) & Jamie (Christchurch) coming up from down south to join the fun.
Afterwards, participants made their unique placemats with their names. They were then randomly assigned to tables for meals, and people needed to sit by their placemats. This system got everyone to mingle, meet new people and allowed for some great conversations. One of the things on the placemat this camp was a picture of your two favourite animals combined into one. A bird moose or Boose, a Unigon (Rainbow Unicorn Dragon) were just a couple of crazy designs.
At the end of the night, lullabies and bed drew everyone to bed with the leaders evaluating the day and making sure tomorrow would be awesome. Soooo tired – must sleep now!
Saturday dawned beautifully, but rain was forecast. Throughout the weekend there were many brief wet showers, but we had plenty of space inside, and backup activities were planned to make sure everyone could continue to have fun. A warm drink and some quick snaps before everyone else woke up helped start the day.
Breakfast was the usual rowdy cereal & toast munching session followed by a site safety talk from the camp manager. Then the JB (age 14+ group) went their way, and the younger group went straight into the first activity. Traditionally, running games start us off to get everyone going so after a few energisers, much fun was had with Fruit Salad being among them (parents, ask your child if you are not sure!).
Then following morning tea, Tess started with three different types of energisers to give us all an idea of the different formats they can take. An energiser is a short song/action activity to ‘energise’ the participants and get everyone ready for activities, and these are done throughout camp and all around the world. After the three energisers, Tess set the challenge to design our energisers. These were then showcased later in the camp resulting in some very clean teeth – one of the energisers was about brushing your teeth!
For lunch, we had mini pizzas. There’s always room for one more! Then once the clean-up was completed, Heba introduced us to the International Day of Peace (Thursday 21st September). One thing that is done around the world is creating pinwheels to show support for this day. Activity 3 was exploring our ideas of peace, why it is important and creating something to display our thoughts. Then it was time for afternoon cookies, fruit and water to refresh ourselves for the late afternoon activity.
With the elections coming up, Activity 4 was designed to show the younger group how they could have their say and the different ways to deliver it. A brief election campaign for a Camp President was held, and the mock election took place. Aiden’s early bedtime and no play policy (with only Leaders getting desserts) didn’t seem to go down well with the younger group, and Gemma’s fun campaign appeared to be a big hit. Tracey’s musical based camp raised the roof. Strangely enough, all the votes seemed to be going for Aiden. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact that Aiden was counting the votes or the odd instances where votes for Gemma seemed to go missing or that Aiden was sometimes spelt “T.R.A.C.E.Y”. There were cries of cheating and a riot almost ensured.
After the protests calmed down, it was agreed that another vote would take place with some ground rules which the campers agreed on (namely an impartial counter was essential!).
However, since the younger group would be the ones who had to deal with the consequences for the longest (the oldest kids going to JB soon), only the youngest got to vote. All the leaders were disappointed that dessert was going to be shared after Gemma won but we all know that sharing is caring.
Afterwards, the groups were back into their small groups, and each group was given a topic to discuss and present on how we can have our say at camp, in our communities, schools and CISV as a whole.
Free time & Dinner
The Saturday night saw a return of skits. The entire camp was back together and groups needed to create an advertisement for an object, but not for the objects normal use. We had helicopter brooms, pizza throwing table tennis bats and herding chairs. So much fun and laughter! Even the Queen showed up for the show.
Saturday night was quieter as everyone fell asleep quickly, and the night passed peacefully.
Sunday morning always is busy. Spaghetti and baked beans with toast & cereal for breakfast followed by clean up. The camp got sorted with the cabins emptied out and cleaned, then we all joined the JB led games. This was perfect for the leaders too as we got to have fun with the group and can help support the JB building up their skills as young leaders.
The camp traditionally ends at 12 pm with Flag. Flag is a CISV tradition to start and end the day together with a song that expresses the values of the organisation. Then it was time to leave. Hugs, byes and contacts were shared, and then the camp went quiet.
Thank you to the leaders for giving their time, all the parents for your help at camp and for letting us have your children for the weekend, and to the campers for their enthusiasm and fun. See you next time at Camp Motu Moana in 2018!