Monday 11 June 2012

Pre-Camp Part 1

Pre-Camp Part 1

I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan…
Wait. That’s not right. Considering I flew into San Francisco, for one. For another, my life is not a Miley Cyrus song.
I’m not one to do things the easy way. Not by a long shot. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making everything insanely crazy but I have to admit that just once I wouldn’t mind getting onto a plane without a broken bone, torn muscles or having just finished some ridiculously dangerous expedition. And four days hiking the Great Dividing Range with a group of 15 year olds is definitely dangerous.
So I found myself getting back from school camp late Thursday night, washing everything I owned on Friday and hopping on a plane early Saturday morning. Fun, fun, fun! Who doesn’t love to pack in a rush?
It’s my second year at Camp Agawak, so I had some idea of what I was going to need. And this year I planned on bringing some clothes. After last year’s fiasco of leaving everything I owned in China and having nothing but a pair of shorts and a t shirt when I arrived at camp – I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. I also knew that it was MEGA important to bring an entire carry-on bag FULL of Caramello Koalas, Freddo Frogs, Wagon Wheels, Allen’s Lollies and DO NOT FORGET the Tim Tams. Believe me. Any camper who has ever had an Australian counsellor with NOT forgive you if you forget the Tim Tams!
On the plane I got and 14 hours later I found myself in sunny San Francisco. DS2019 in hand I all but skipped through immigration and into my favourite place on Earth. Or, I should say, my second favourite. Because my favourite place on Earth was 8 days, extreme Californian sunburn, a road trip through Amish country, dodging Chicago gangsters and several major league baseball games away.
Welcome to Camp Agawak for Girls!
Because it is tradition, several returning international staff met in Milwaukee to catch a Brewers game before we headed to Milwaukee International Airport to play our favourite game – spot the Agawak Staff Member. And trust me, we take it seriously. Basically we split up and wander around the airport to find any young women who seem a bit lost and ask them if they are going to Agawak. The rule is that you cannot return empty handed!
Once we had everyone it was on to the bus for a FOUR HOUR drive to Minocqua, Wisconsin – the most beautiful place in the world!
As we turned on to Blue Lake road the excitement became too much. The returnees started singing and cheering and screaming, while the poor first year internationals watched on in fear. What had they gotten themselves in for? Here we were driving down a deserted road in the middle of the woods with a busload of lunatics!
And then we were there! The doors couldn’t open fast enough as we threw ourselves into the arms of the nearest person and hugged them! We were home! Amidst the cheers and tears the newbies made their way into open arms and into the Agawak family. Their lives would be forever changed. They were now a part of a sisterhood that would last for life.
As is tradition, there was pizza and introductions. We were split into six pre-camp cabins, with a returning staff member taking several newbies under their wings. There were late night tours of camp, the first trip to the shower house (it’s the hardest one!), and then all kinds of late night hijinks as we settled in to our home for the next two months.
Today we had a nice lazy morning, with a very late sleep in – 8am, thanks Kobe (a very mischievous staff member!) and then settled into a day of getting to know Agawak. Returnees gave tours of the camp so the newbies could see it in the beautiful Wisconsin sun. Then there was a pontoon boat tour of Blue Lake, narrated by MP, who knows every inch of this camp. To end it off we enjoyed some tubing fun – with a lot of air born displays.
Tonight we are looking forward to the annual trip to Walmart and ice cream run. And believe me, a bunch of Aussies let loose in Walmart? Very few survive that!
Looking forward to the kids arriving but still a whole week of pre-camp fun to be had yet!

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