Read Saturday 11th June
Sunday 12th June
9:45am Crazy yet cringey is how I’d describe yesterday. The girls seem so young, not like I remember myself at 13. I showed them where to put their stuff and let them choose a bed. We’d already been told that if they wanted the beds we’d chosen we’d have to move. I’m glad they didn’t turf me out, that would not have been good for trying to show them who’s boss. They all seem quite shy. It might be because their parents were there and being really embarrassing though – one parent told me to make sure I kiss her little one goodnight and another was describing the best bedtime routine to get them to sleep. Jeez, I hope they’re good fun so I can rip them for that later.
The parents scared me more than the kids – I knew they were sizing me up to check I was suitable to look after their precious little ones for the next three weeks. It must be worrying for them though; they don’t know anything about me. I was a bit of a pathetic mute, I couldn’t think of anything to say to them. I just kept nodding and smiling, like an idiot.
Me, Jude and Rebecca went up to lunch in shifts. Some of the counselors sat with the parents in the dining hall, but I found Danielle instead and we both sat there overwhelmed and shell-shocked. We barely said a word to each other, definitely not normal for us. My campers all look the same – tiny little things with long big dark hair and deep-set eyes – how am I ever going to learn their names? I’ll start with the non-Jewish looking ones first: blonde Joey and chubby Keakuki.
Most of the girls have put up a few family photographs around their beds. I tried to make friends with them by asking who was who on the pictures.
Camper: “Mum, dad, my brother.”
Hmmm, don’t think that’s going to work for a lengthy getting-to-know-you conversation; maybe they can sense my fear.
I’ve already noticed how prepared and regimented my bunkmate Jude is in everything she does. Trust her to follow the CCUSA guidelines to bring a few photos to show what life is like in your own country. I don’t think the kids were too interested though. Jude’s actually really starting to grate on me; everything has to be just so and she bosses me around all the time. I know she’s a schoolteacher at home so obviously knows more about looking after kids than I do, but her ‘helpful’ comments are just annoying. If she patronises me in front of the kids I’ll be raging. Everything you’ve done, she’s always done something better. Her voice is irritating too; she shrieks and squeals every time she opens her mouth. Still another three months of camp to go though, I need to calm down, shut up and deal with it.
Jude and Rebecca had to leave the bunk to go and help in their departments, so I was left with the kids. I really didn’t know what to say. We were all sat on our bunks and just looking at each other.
Me (super enthusiastically): “So, which shows are you going to audition for?”
Other camper: “I’m not really into acting.”
They’re a tough crowd, but they seem nice enough. I know it will be better with time, but I just want us all to have fun together. I chatted awkwardly to whoever was in the bunk while the others went to auditions and tryouts. My approach basically consisted of phony compliments about their possessions and asking whether they’d been to camp before. I actually bored myself.
There were just six minors yesterday, no majors, so the kids could use the minors to audition for the shows, get assessed for swimming and settle in to camp life. I’ve seen other kids around camp nervously walking around reciting their audition pieces and warbling to warm up their voices. I’m in the set of Fame.
7:49pm Had to teach my first lesson today – stained glass with Cara. I do not know a thing about stained glass, only that it looks pretty in churches, and neither does Cara. Instead we sat around playing getting-to-know-you games. Whoever was holding the Stanley knife had to say their name and give an interesting fact about themselves. It generally ended up being where they were from or what school they went to – I was hoping it would be a way for me to find out which kids had the famous parents. Some of the kids seem so lifeless and droopy with no spark in their eyes, while others are up and excited about anything you say. We definitely need to get the glass and wood ready for them next time; I think they enjoyed it though. I was pretty nervous –
I was glad Cara was there to lighten the mood.
Next I had to teach radio. I felt pretty stupid as it took me about five minutes to explain what to do – and the kids knew anyway – and then I just had to sit there. I found it hard to make conversation with the three boys, they weren’t interested in me, all they wanted to do was to see how loud the speakers would go.
The rest of the day went alright – no one came to creative writing so I just sat there playing music. I wanted to go back to the bunk, but I was too scared in case I got told off for skiving. In ceramics I just had to sit there with the naughty kids while this other woman taught the rest of them. Then I had crafts with Cara – we just gave the kids some glitter, card and pens and told them to make signs for their beds in their bunks. Not sure why the visual arts boss has put Cara and me together to teach – think it’s pretty obvious we don’t know anything.
Coming soon Monday 13th June…