Read Monday 6th June
Tuesday 7th June
8:16am Last night was odd. It was absolutely freezing in the bunk for starters. All I had for warmth in bed was the two bed sheets I got from the front office yesterday; I really need to get a sleeping bag when we have a day off. There are just the three of us in the bunk and we’ve all chosen beds that are spaced out so there wasn’t any shared body warmth either. The doors and windows were rattling in the wind all night and the shutters kept slamming back against the frames. I’ve stupidly chosen the bed next to the door and the toilets, so I could hear the cold wind rattling through the bathroom all night. I don’t think I slept at all.
I felt so vulnerable too – anyone could easily get in here, and I don’t know any of these people. Sure, everyone has a CRB check to work here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. My bunk buddies could be crazy psychos for all I know – I wouldn’t put it past the American one. There’s no lock on the door either. I tried to imagine the sound I grew up with of dad locking the front door, having a bit of a cough and then climbing the stairs, to try and make me feel more secure, but it didn’t work. Every time I managed to get the picture in my mind the door would open and slap against the frame again. I can’t imagine ever getting a good night’s sleep here; maybe I’m just being paranoid.
The bunk stinks as well. All the wood is damp from the storms they’ve been having, and it’s obvious from the cobwebs that it hasn’t been used since last summer. Our terrace light has smashed so it’s pitch black – you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. I needed the toilet in the night, but I was too scared to get down off my top bunk in case I made too much noise and annoyed the other girls.
I’m feeling pretty nervous about today, but I’m going to give having a good time my best shot. We’ve got five days until the kids come to set up the camp and get to know each other. I just hope I meet some fun people.
12:13pm After breakfast in the dining hall, which is just a three-minute walk from my bunk, we had a big staff meeting in the Kennedy Theatre. This is also really close to my bunk, just a few metres in front of the side door. It’s a huge theatre in the round and the seats go way back high – not entirely sure how safe it is. I sat in between Danielle and Emily – I love how we just made instant friends. When I think about how scared I was in the airport I feel really proud of myself that I’ve got a little crew already.
Earl, who owns the camp, was there and Bud, the camp director. They actually look quite similar – both portly grey-haired men around 50-60ish in matching Camp Rockbear t-shirts and chinos. I wonder if they’re related? They told us what they expect from us at camp and the basic rules:
– No relationships in front of the kids.
– No drinking on camp.
– No smoking ever, and if you get caught with a cigarette, no matter where you are, you’re fired.
– Children come first, whatever happens.
– No swearing.
– Be friendly with the kids and hug them, but never touch them where a swimming costume does.
– Try not to be left alone with a kid.
There are four sessions per summer with 3-400 kids per session. Each session is three weeks long, and each day is made up of six periods with three minors and three majors all an hour long. The majors are meant to be a progressive thing, so they’re chosen at the start of each session and the kids are supposed to show some sort of improvement. Majors are when the kids will rehearse for one of the 50+ shows they put on each summer, if they choose to be in them. The minors they choose every day at breakfast from a huge list of activities: they could learn to play an instrument, train as a lifeguard, ride a horse, play the guitar, join the circus, sing, do all sorts of dancing, play tennis… Wish I could have come here when I was a kid, it’s incredible!
12:45pm Every day we have to:
- Get the kids up, check they shower and get them to breakfast.
- Make sure they eat and choose their minors for the day from the printed sheet that comes round.
- Go back to the bunk with them and check they have everything they need for the day.
- Make sure they get to their lessons, as well as being at the lessons we’re due to teach on time.
- Teach three lessons in the morning with five-minute breaks in between each one.
- Get back to our bunk and make sure we have all our bunk campers there.
- When they’re all there, go up to the dining hall for lunch.
- Make sure they eat enough/not too much.
- Go back to the bunk and make sure the kids leave with everything they need for the afternoon.
- Be at our next lesson on time.
- Teach another three lessons.
- Go back to the bunk and wait for all the kids.
- Go up to the dining hall for dinner.
- Make sure they eat enough/not too much.
- Go back to the bunk for rest hour – during this time you need to know where your kids are at all times and you should be there for them if they want to talk or need you for any other reason.
- Get all your bunk kids to the evening activity – make sure they’re dressed appropriately for the weather.
- Go to canteen where the kids dance, chat and eat. One counselor from each bunk has to be in the bunk throughout the evening so the kids always know where they can find someone.
- If you’re on duty you have to stay in the bunk all night now and make sure the kids are in bed by lights out, which is a different time depending on your campers’ age.
- If you’re not on duty, then from 9:30pm you have the evening to yourself to do what you like, as long as you’re back for 7am to get the kids up for breakfast.
Sounds pretty intense!