I’ve spent the last few hours babysitting the Brownies in the Primrose unit, whilst one of their councillors has her weekly ‘Taps Off’. This is an evening spent away from the unit generally in the staff lounge where they can watch a film or just enjoy time away from the children. We had a cook-out tonight during which I consumed copious amounts of nachos and minced beef, followed by banana boats for dessert. With larger groups of younger kids, meals requiring the least amount of cooking are ideal, so that everyone gets to eat at the same time. Furthermore, with nachos they can choose whatever toppings they desire which caters for the children with fussier appetites. After cookout, at about 9pm Phoenix, the Health Manager and one of my favourite people at camp suggested that we go for a paddle board at the lake. Eagerly, myself, Phoenix, Flex, Rainbow and Ruby jumped in the truck and headed over.
It’s a different atmosphere at the lake once the sun sets, without the soundtrack of screaming children, fishermen and birds swooping overhead. It’s a relief to not be baking in the relentless heat with no shade to shelter beneath, or to not have to protect yourself against the biting flies. We removed five paddle boards from the trailer and headed out, the noses gliding effortlessly through the still, black water as we basked in the total serenity. It’s during these moments that I’m urged to pinch myself to be reminded that this is real life, that I’m living in the mountains of Northern California, spending my days by a beautiful lake and with a group of people who have steadily become my family.
Speaking of family, Flex and I have recently been accepted into the Croc family! We have been converted to the Other Side, and in a setting where you have to wear closed toe shoes and heel straps, Crocs are perfect footwear at both camp and the lake. Camp fashion is a law unto itself, where your coolness is defined by the colour of your crocs, the height of your socks and the outrageousness of your tie-dye. Tall sock Tuesday, twin Thursday and spontaneous costume days all exist. That’s the great thing about camp – no one cares if you haven’t washed your hair in a few days, if you have hairy legs or are wearing your top inside out because out here, these things are not considered important. It’s difficult to find the time or motivation to care about how you look, or complete tasks like showering or shaving when all of your time is taken up by looking after your kids. Let me tell you, once you’ve spent 90 minutes showering 20 ten year olds you just can’t face having one yourself. Plus, they’ve used up all of the hot water.