Last week was one of the best weeks of my life, spent with 140-odd young people who descended on Armagh Royal School for Senior Camp 2006.
Camp started on Saturday with me and Deborah fairly racing to get there before the buses, but as it turned out we could probably have walked and still managed it. I will never understand how it can take a bus over 2 and a half hours to get from Coleraine to Armagh. I’m not complaining though as it meant that on discovering I had been promoted to the Mall, I was able to get a room with an en suite! Score! When the buses finally arrived, all people wanted to do was watch Engerland v. Portugal rather than actually play football. Disappointing…although Lamps, Gerrard and Carragher missing from 12 yards did provide some entertainment! Ronaldo and Portugal were already proving what a nasty bunch they actually are though. Then it was finally time to eat tea (setting the high standard for the week), which had been put back, and we got to play some real football. Woohoo! In the evening we had the usual time of introductory games – but not the usual games! Good stuff committee!
On Sabbath morning we had a fry for breakfast, followed by the first of our devotions from Roger Ellsworth’s book ‘How to live in a dangerous world’. Soon it was time for our first talk from David McCullough on the life of Abraham. Following our great Sunday dinner we went on a walk and then came back and did Nathan’s Bible quiz! No fun allowed! In the evening, there were seminars by David Lockington (the eye) and Catherine Donnelly (evolution).
Monday’s schedule started early with a spot of football at 8 for an hour (where someone managed to get himself sent off!) before breakfast at 9, quiet time and the talk, followed by yet more football. Eventually it was time for Gregg’s games – I’d been looking forward to them for 2 years and they didn’t disappoint! The slippery slope was of course the best! Leslie has a great photo of me going down it.
The evening’s activity was a Team Challenge, where my team triumphed! Easy! Easy! Easy!
On Tuesday we piled into 2 buses for a trip to Crawfordsburn. The bus journey was boring for the first half, but then the singing started!! Absolutely amazing! We composed numerous classics, the lyrics of most of which probably better not be put in writing here, and arrived at our destination to the sound of a song specially composed for the county we now found ourselves in:[audio:http://www.shallwesingasongforyou.co.uk/audio/BurnItToTheGround.mp3]
Other repeatable songs included “RP till I die” and various football songs. At Crawfordsburn we played volleyball and football while getting sunburnt and eating ice cream. Then we had a BBQ and went to Dundonald. Some went to Indiana land, some did ice skating, and the rest of us filled the time waiting for crazy golf by playing headers and volleys with the all new ‘switch!’ rule. Which hasn’t been repeated since! Peter McCauley triumphed in our crazy golf group, which also consisted of Andrew Aiken and Andy Morrison. We did the course we didn’t do with Renwick – we didn’t have the real blackbeard this time however! Philip Moffett managed to win a golden doubloon at the 18th hole entitling him to a free game, but he intends to keep it! His specialness was slightly reduced however when Richard McKelvey repeated the feat. The bus journey on the way home was officially the best bus journey in the history of the world ever. The singing continued and the Steelo dance was created. The only bad thing about Tuesday was that there weren’t any discussion groups.
On Wednesday morning David (Italia!) McFarland had decided to gather a few lads to play football. He didn’t get enough however, and all this meant that at about 8:05am Peter Loughridge resorted to stealing my sleeping bag to force me to get up and join them. My protests that this wasn’t boys’ camp were in vain! The afternoon activities were karting, paintballing/airsoft and plate painting. I was first on the list for karting when the sign up sheets were first issued, but when the committee asked for a recount I was swayed by rumours of football and decided to stay, paint a plate for 5 minutes and then play some football. As it turned out I painted a mug – for about an hour!
There was no football on the go, so I played tennis, losing 3-0 to Ruth (no shame! although I blame the church bells beside the tennis courts for playing hymn tunes for my dropping my serve!) and then me and Philip teamed up to take on Cream Bun and Peter.
In the evening we watched dirty diving Portugal get knocked out by Les Blues in the World Cup Semi-Final. Small part of Spain!! Note that Warren Feeney succeeded where France failed (scoring against Portugal in open play) and that the best way to deal with divers is the Colin Murdock approach (give them a reason to fall over in agony!).
On Thursday it was the competitive games. Each of the 6 teams played 5 games of football/bucketball (ig ‘boringball’) and 5 games of volleyball/tennis. The football suffered from being played in the hockey nets (goals were few and far between) but the tennis was good. Our team came 3rd in the football and won the tennis.
In the evening it was the concert. They had to find a way of replacing Matt Jess with Offie as Brian’s concert-partner and so the video was Dr Who – with Matt regenerating into Offie! Genius!! Good to have Matt playing some part in the concert too!
Philip decided we should redo our ‘I need a hero’ act from Cyprus one year on. One of the funniest moments of the night was during the practice when I became the first person ever to forget my own dance! No such incidents occurred during the actual performance, which went down rather well! Suppose people’ll complain if I don’t at least put on a picture:
Here’s a video of the lads doing the Steelo:
Here are a few videos of some of the other acts. My personal favourite was Gregg and Joel’s ‘I love my camp days’ song. I only recorded about a minute of it before my camera ran out of space but I think young Gavin might have got the whole thing so I’ll try and acquire that:
Sorry about the certain person in close proximity to the camera letting off a yell as Matt Jess manages to slag off RP girls by video link…
Andy Moffett did his Inflatable Timmy joke for the second (and he claims last!) time at Senior Camp, once again standing on a table and doing the walk thing. This clip is of the punchline.
Calvin was a popular boy after his Johnny Cash impression
And some snaps:
There were also a few attempts at games interspersed in:
James was up in the Meal thing and Rebecca was up for ‘The Price is Right’. Strobert will be interested to know that they picked contestants for Meal or No Meal by putting Gold bars under random chairs! Genius!!
Those who got up in time for Breakfast on Friday were treated to a fry. Those who missed it however didn’t even get lunch for hours as 10 minutes after the talk we left for…the Share Centre!! The committee were clearly having a giraffe by taking us there after my recent attack on it! As the party had run on wile late the night before, David was worried that people might be at risk of falling asleep – so to keep us on our toes he preached with a gun in the box that served as his lectern. Would have been a great photo but I just missed it!
On Friday night we had the party – surprisingly, it was brilliant! And everybody agrees! Must have been because it was at camp! Then supper, walk, psalm sing and ‘party’ in the mall!
On the last Saturday we had to drag ourselves up, pack up, clean the place and leave. Frances’ poem and awards at breakfast managed to confuse everyone as usual – I’m tempted to do my own SWS awards… Before we left there were the usual photos. There is a group photo of everyone doing the Steelo – someone send it to me! As Pete said, my greatest ever moment would be the kop at Windsor Park doing it!
Here’s a few more random photos from the week:
The McAuleys practicing their acrobatics for the concert. By the time the concert came round however, Laura had done her ankle in, and the less said about the actual performance (well, the ‘male’ performers, the better…)
Cullybackey were well represented at camp – they have 20-odd in their CY although seeing they don’t go to many other events I thought all Cullybackey had was Jonny and Stephen! You won’t have seen any of them at the CY outing as they have their CY weekend on the same weekend the outing’s on every year. Jonny said a certain John T was to blame, so John, if you still read this – sort it out!!
So there it is. Camp. The best week of the year. If you weren’t there this year, go next year. If you were, go back (I don’t care how old you think you are!). If you can only do one thing a year, go to camp. Over GO teams, over anything else. In the words of Cream Bun, “I Love It”.
– The talks are now available from DromoreRPC.org (they will also be available from RPC.org whenever Jeff puts them up)
– An exclusive for SWS readers is an mp3 file of (almost) all the book reviews done during the week (featuring David, Andrea and Philip) (15 1/2 mins – 1.78MB)
– Most photos are courtesy of Bebo: Namely Pam, Christine, Mary, Luke, Alistair Rolleston, Gorge and Lorna. A few are mine and the rest are Deborah’s.
Update: A few more snaps courtesy of Lorna…