1999 November/Camps Boys Girls

Despite the insight gained at the inaugural Girls’ Camp in April, the first Boys Camp over six days, directed by Fr. Alessio, seemed like a new experience–with eleven very active boys ranging from 7 to 12 years, who kept the five lady helpers very busy.

Pax Park proved a very suitable venue, although the partitioning of the hall into a chapel and dining; room (with curtains hung on a rope) was a mission! The abundant rock formations were great fun for the boys (albeit a cause of some consternation for the helpers). The inevitable troupe of monkeys appeared soon after our arrival, one even having the cheek to lift the lid of the dustbin outside the kitchen in his quest for food!

The devil was very busy–what’s new? On arrival, the helpers learned that the camp caretaker; who helps with so much of the manual work was very ill. However, his son was able to help us a little, in between his studies. Some important items left behind were brought in by a kind parishioner in three separate trips. On the third day the cooking gas almost ran out, but replacement canisters arrived on the following day.

The boys enjoyed the games immensly, particularly “Two Flags” and “Treasure Hunt”. however the baseball lessons, conducted by Fr. Alessio, were the most popular, followed closely by cricket, soccer and volley ball. The boys also enjoyed the usual trip down to the lake, which provided some game viewing. The strenuous games created big appetites needing big meals, which kept the kitchen staff busy. Hamburgers and chips were inevitably the favourite.

“Art and Craft” for the boys required some imagination. Apart from the usual colouring of a large holy picture, one of the helpers had got a carpenter to prepare some wooden plaques as well as crosses in two beams (from wood remnants) in varying sizes. The boys then glued holy pictures or prayers onto the plaques, adding their own artwork. The crossbeams were screwed together and a paper corpus (cut from a holy card) then glued onto the finished cross. Finally, the plaques and crucifixes were varnished by the boys. On the last two days. the boys learned how to make rosaries with string, although one boy was brave enough to make one decade of the rosary the hard way–with chains (for which he won points for his team).

The two teams. St. George and St. Christopher, competed fiercely, and the points made by one team. in the games were generally make up by the other team in the Catechism Quiz in the evenings. In the end, however, the St. Christopher team was the victor. The “Best Conduct” prize was won by Matthew Glenwiiliamson, with Daniel Berenger as runner-up.

The evening campfire singing to Father’s usual accompaniment on the guitar was great fun, and it is hoped to include some songs learned by the boys and girls at the camps in a concert planned for Bishop Williamson in November. Toasting marshmallows on the bonfire every second night was a great favourite.