For those that do not know me, I have spent the last fifteen May long weekends at Camp Skeeter. I have attended Skeeter for five years as a youth participant, and have been a member of staff for the past ten. (More than half my life… yowza!)
Camp Skeeter is a three day camp for registered members of Scouts Canada fourteen years and older, and registered members of Girl Guides of Canada fifteen years and older. The camp is run by volunteers from all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. We spend months planning, purchasing equipment and activities and stressing out big time.
Camp Skeeter is considered a ‘Social Camp’ and is one of the many throughout the year, the other camps include: Mardi Gras, Rainbucket, Rovent, Heatstroke and Camp Coyote. Camp Skeeter has been in existence for just under thirty years now (We think this year MIGHT have been year twenty-nine!) These camps are fantastic for letting the kids just be themselves in a safe and accepting environment. Not to mention the fantastic opportunities to meet new friends, and members of the opposite sex (let’s be honest here) I have met friends at these camps that I am still friends with today.
I have held pretty much every position on the Camp Skeeter Staff, from running the activities to being in charge of the whole camp, so this year I was considered the Info Source (that, along with being in charge of running the BBQ) Once again I found myself overly stressed out and worrying way to much about the camp, but everything went great!
I took an extra day off work on Thursday as I was still fighting my cold and felt like I had way too much to do. The morning was full of numerous last minute errands and preparations out at camp. It was very surreal to be out at the camp on Thursday night to know that within less than twenty for hours the camp would be full with over five hundred participants. Lots of fellow staffers showed up early, so we also had the chance to catch up and come up with a plan of attack before lots of campers showed up too.
Friday was very hectic, as campers began arriving early in the morning and the camp filled up very quickly. I stayed far away from the parking lot, and spent most of my time in the kitchen working on opening the eight dozen cans of black beans and corn for my salads for the barbecue. I also had to do a trip out to Costco to pick up the meat for the BBQ from Costco, boy did I sure get some funny looks…
This is what $1200 worth of Strip Loin looks like…
On Saturday night we host a fundraising BBQ. The money we raise during the BBQ and by selling t-shirts, sunglasses and lanyards is put towards our wind-up at the end of the year. For our wind up, those of us that spend our time volunteering to run the camp go camping for a weekend in the summer and we do not have to pay, or have to pay very little for a weekend of fun as a thank you. This year’s BBQ menu included steak, santa fe salad, coleslaw, mexi fries and a Skeeter-pretzel made by Twisted Mister.
Here is a photo of my dad, we nicknamed him the Dorito Bandito.
The weather on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, you could not ask for a better day! The sun was shining on the field where the participants were enjoying the gigantic slip and slide. It was a bit chilly in the trees, but that is nothing unusual. (My long-johns got a good work out this weekend)
The long line for dinner on Saturday…
Most of my day on Saturday was spent preparing for the barbecue. Thanks to the lovely ladies in the kitchen, and the help of my fellow staff members we served over 200 campers in about 50 minutes. Needless to say by about 9pm on Saturday night I could barely walk, so I enjoyed the dance from my chair.
Banana-fish scented jello, all ready for wrestling!
The weather turned on us on Sunday, clouds and light showers, but it did not dull the spirit of the campers! Sunday was Jello-wrestling day, a tradition at Camp Skeeter! (Yes, somewhere there are photos of me wrestling in the jello when I was young and stupid) We also shipped the campers off to the Nanaimo Aquatic Center so they could enjoy the hot tub and showers (and maybe stink less on the ferry ride back)
Closing ceremonies on Sunday Night.
Around midnight on Sunday it started raining, and did not really stop until Monday afternoon. It did not make packing up overly fun, and I ended up just getting soaking wet while directing campers and traffic, and loading up the buses in the parking lot. Thankfully it was not freezing cold or it would have made things even more miserable.
We ended up with just over five hundred participants, and just over thirty staff, which was a lot of folks to pack into a small campground! A great time was had by all, I heard so many nice things from the campers and advisor’s! We had such a great crew helping out this year, and that helped make all the difference, especially packing up on Monday. (We were done by lunchtime!) It was another huge bonus that the majority of the Skeeter gear did NOT come back to our house this year, we FINALLY got storage on site!
This year I really found myself questioning why do I do this?! numerous times, and I was feeling very burnt out and stressed out about it all. I love this camp, the people I work with, and what this camp stands for. I am just tired of carrying the load of work (as I know is the case with a lot of my fellow staffers) I am happy to see that there were a lot of eager young staff members this year, and I really hope they want to take on bigger roles next year so I can take a step back and be an advisor (after all that is what my job is supposed to be anyways) I want to leave this camp in good hands, as it has played such a major role in my life, I want to know that it will carry on for the next thirty years or so.
… wack it off.