Day 1: Friday 2nd June 2017
The first day was so overwhelming! We got on the coach from the hostel at about 12.45pm. A mixture of nerves and excitement were running through me, and 3 hours later we were at camp!
Now I am not going to spare details. We dumped our bags and we were checked for head lice! I would never have thought haha. Luckily, and not really shockingly, I didnt have lice haha.
We then found our bunks, In the bunk, there are 8 bunk beds, 36 little cubby holes and our bathroom actually joins on to another bunks room. So i’m in G11B (sticking with the 1’s Amy & Ricky), and the bunk next door is G11A. There are 4 tiny toilets and 4 sinks and plenty of mirrors until the campers get here haha. The bathroom is strange, as the bunk is raised off of the floor, so is the bathroom, and the floor is made out of wood which you can see right through to the grass. The toilet cubicles you barely have any room and same with the showers.
My three bunk mates and co counselors are amazing. There is Kaija (pronounced Kaya) from Minnesota whom has been in Paris for an internship for a few months. Stephanie – whom I actually met at the visa day! And then there is Alice from Australia!
We then had a meeting in one of the many theatres and had dinner, I didn’t eat much because I just felt so overwhelmed. I then found Fran and Robbie and the whole 450 of us played “Cheese Wiz” which is essentially human bingo. We played this whilst eating MORE food!
Bed time came and I was soooo excited. My nice bed time turned into the worst nights sleep I had ever had. It was SO cold oh my gosh. I spent half the night shivering to death. I did not appreciate the weather.
Day 2: Saturday 3rd June 2017
Naturally, i awoke at 6am and had a very hot shower to try and defrost. Wow I was cold.
We then went for breakfast and cleaned our bunks. We had free time until we had another talk about expectations of the bunks, etc. We then had a tour of the camp with our head counsellor Naomi, but we got caught up looking after a bird whose mother seemed to have abandoned it! It was so sad.
Afterwards, Alice and I got our Frenchwoods tshirts and had a walk around the camp. Then we had more free time after lunch so Amy and I had another walk and tried to get wifi – which is shocking by the way.
From 3-6pm we headed to our department to have a chat and sort out what we wanted to do. I am working in the art department which is cool because I get to still be involved in the performing arts, but not as intensely. I’m going to be doing a bit of everything I think, so batik, pottery, jewellery making etc. I’m so scared!!
It was food time again. I’ve never had so many meals!! I had bbq ribs, sweet jacket potato and mac and cheese. It was gorgeous! We then went to clean our department, so i swept up all the leaves, as some rooms we work in arent actually inside. It’s like a shed with no walls – pretty blunt way to put it.
It was then time for ice breakers with our head counselor, we learnt eachothers names and just had fun! The fun carried on jnto the night by having ice lolly’s and dancing to music! I feel like i’m in camp rock! Thank god every mealtime we learn a new dance, we were all busting them moves. It was the uplift we all needed! I had so much fun!
I had only been here one full day, and it has been so overwhelming, lonely at times. But I am so thankful to have had my 3 amigos to turn to and transition through this with.
Week 3… i mean day 3! (Easy mistake at camp) Sunday 4th June 2017
So I woke up early to go to the gym before breakfast which was around 6:15. I had a slow and steady work out, after all the whole day was still ahead of me!
We then had a couple of meetings to attend and worked at our designated areas, i made my first bracelet!
Oh, and it rained… and when i say rain, i don’t use the word lightly.
We then had dinner, another meeting, and played a game in the Pavilion called brain wars, we had to separate ourselves into Summer, Autumn, winter and spring and wear various colours depending on when our birthdays are. We all sat in four large groups and 5 people from each team had to answer general knowledge questions. Of course as a performing arts camp, in true French Woods style we got up and sang to grease, hairspray and rent in between rounds. Such good fun.
We didn’t do much after, just had a chill out.
Day 4: Monday 5th June 2017
I woke up and went to the gym again, for those who know me well i love the gym. I hated pure gym when I moved to Newcastle, so I never went. This gym is so quiet, and I even feel confident enough to wear just gym leggings and a sports bra which is something i’ve never had the confidence to do. French Woods is already doing good things.
After the gym it was usual procedures, breakfast, meetings, lunch, and more meetings.
Ron (the camp director) is probably one of the nicest bosses. At dinner (YES I’M CONVERTING FROM BREAKFAST, DINNER & TEA!!) he surprised us with a late night cinema trip to see Wonderwoman or Pirates of the carribbean. We had another meeting. It was then time for sports night, so we could pick various fitness/sporty activities to do for 1 hour. In true Jade fashion i joined in Zumba. I can’t be at a performing arts camp and not dance!!!
I also got my schedule! So this camp has majors and minor periods. Majors the child picks at the start of a session (which lasts 3 weeks) and minors are picked at the start of every day. I have first major off, then im working in ceramics (clay work), jewellery, nature craft and chain maile.
After Zumba, it was time for the pizza party! The camp dj played 3 Justin songs which I was so happy about haha.
After, we waited for mini buses to take us all to the movies. We got absolutely drenched, but you can’t expect anything more when you live in the middle of the mountains haha.
It was around 1.30am when the film finished, I am not going to lie when I say that I fell asleep for some of the time haha. But it was such a good surprise, thank you Ron!
It was around 2:30am by the time we got back to camp, we were all so tired! But thank god that we had a day off the next day.
Day 5: DAY OFF WOOHOO! Tuesday 6th June 2017
Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been the most intense 5 days of my life, but it’s been very heavy with content and things to remember. We have had countless meetings and this day had been a looong time coming because it’s the day where each of us could buy things to make our bunk personal, maybe buy more necessities to last the whole summer as we would be here for 3 months.
After a long wait in the rain, lots of yellow school buses parked in the car park! YES I GOT TO RIDE IN A YELLOW AMERICAN SCHOOL BUS OMG.
About an hour and half later we arrived at a retail park which had a walmart, a TJ Maxx (yes TJ maxx? It has the exact same logo as TK Maxx haha!).
Firstly, we ate at TGI’s. I had a Jack Daniels burger… oh my gosh it was so good! I mean the food at camp is so good, but it was lovely to eat in a restaurant. Oh god i’m making it sound like i’ve been there 5 weeks not days haha. Fran even smuggled her mozarella sticks haha.
We got so many looks at the amount we bought from walmart, you’d think I was settling there forever! Hahaah! I got mermail bedding, a mermaid tail blanket, sheets, pillow, toiletries and a nice set of pink drawers etc. I also got some cold and flu things, I cannot wait until i aren’t deaf and can speak and breathe properly again. I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to fit all this into that tiny school bus but hey ho haha.
(TO ALL MY MACCIES CREW READING, THEY SELL TUBS OF McCafe COFFEE! Whaaaaat?!
It still hasn’t hit me that I am in America, maybe because it’s surrounded by green and rainy – just like my house in england haha.
It’s also been quite isolating this week, as its a shock going from having contact with the “outside world” to nothing. Especially since my parents are in Benidorm so whenever they’re up for breakfast and are in the hotel, im asleep or busy, and if I am lucky enough to connect to WiFi my parents are asleep. I miss them so much already! After we shopped ourselves out, and quite a lot of money later, we sat in Starbucks and I had a smores frappe! It was sooo nice! And to my surprise, MY MUM WOKE UP AND I FINALLY GOT TO FACETIME MY PARENTS! It was sooo nice to be able to speak to them again.
It was then time to just deal with the embarrassment and head to the bus with our huge shopping trolley of things.
The thing is, i’d rather spend $100+ and buy plenty of things and actually settle into my bunk, make it colourful and homely and not run out of things when im in the middle of nowhere haha. Especially since we have found out that we have a lot of new campers rather than returnee’s in our bunk. I’d rather them walk into a bright and colourful room than one thats dull and unwelcoming. I want the bunk to be a little safe haven for the girls – I want it to be home.
Tomorrow is the last day of orientation until the kids come, I can’t wait to meet them! Friday is a 6 minor day, which basically means the kids audition for shows all day. After all, it is a performing arts camp – there are around 80 shows through the whole summer. As many know, dance and musical theatre and drama is soo my thing! I’m so gutted i’m not directly teaching dancing, it’s a hobby I adore and sooo regret giving up on myself!
We then came home and i changed my bedding and went to sleep! We have a long couple of days ahead.
Day 6: Wednesday 7th June
So we woke up and were told that two 14 year old campers would be coming later on!! We decorated our bunk really pretty!
I even got a mermaid tail blanket haha.
It’s so weird how a bit of decoration can change a room and brighten it up so much.
We then had meetings all day! People have either an alternate or lazy day off, alternate means that you have a different day off to most – I’m not alternate, i have lazy days off!
After another meeting regarding bullying, i returned to my bunk to wait to meet the two girls! I watched every buggy go past in hope it was either of them, I was so excited to meet them! Unfortunately they didn’t turn up before dinner 🙁
BUT THEY WERE THERE AFTER DINNER! We introduced ourselves and went to the canteen for ice cream and a dance! We had an early night and Steph and I french braided each others hair as the rest of the campers were coming tomorrow!!! Eeeeek.