Summer Camp III: College Week ~ The Blonde B

11 September 2013

Summer Camp III: College Week

One of my favourite weeks at camp is College Week. The entire staff and campers get split up into 4 different teams represented by a colour and an American college. The everyday schedule is disrupted for a few days whilst the College Deans take over and compete in a series of gruelling tasks to eventually be crowned a winner.

One day at the lake, Tom approached me suspiciously and whispered in to my ear: Top Secret Meeting. 1pm. The Parlour. 

At first, I thought: Oh no! What have I done? Am I getting fired?

At the top secret meeting was all the Special Events team with big grins on their faces, along with some other scared looking staff members. Aha! It all makes sense now.

'We have brought you all together for a very serious matter. We would like to congratulate you on becoming this year's College Deans!!'

I was so excited! This is such an honour.

Then they paired us up, revealed the colleges and handed us the top secret College Week manual.

I was heading up the USC Trojans on the Yellow team along with Abel: 

The college deans wear funny hats once they have been chosen to start creating the College Week buzz prior to it actually starting. We had to wear our hats for 4 whole days whilst keeping our mouths zipped about anything college-y. It was so hard when everyone kept asking you why you were wearing a hat. A hat, you say? I just dyed my hair more yellow!

The other colleges were Michigan State on Green, Rutgers University on the Red team, Xavier on the Blue team.

Creativity and Imagination are key during College Week. You need to find team members who could build a float, paint a flag, choreograph, sing, dance, produce music, write a funny skit, act, write songs, cheer, be loud, enthusiastic and encourage the kids to have fun. 

Abel and I settled on the story of Troy as our recurring theme. He was Hector, the greatest Trojan warrior, and I was Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships.

Sunday at 10 pm was our first team meeting, and we had until the next morning to come up with a flag, a cheer and a skit, rehearse it with the whole Yellow Team and perform it in front of the rest of camp. The stress was only just starting.

I am sad to say that the Yellow team came last at the end of the first morning and last throughout most of the competition. The Red team took an amazing lead and were very much in line to win every single competition.

Most of it was down to luck, as the kids competed in wacky boat races, build a raft challenge, mini triathlon, sandcastle building competition, trivia and much more, across all divisions, which meant Abel and I had to split our time among the whoole camp.

Whilst all the daily activities were taking place, Abel and I had a lot of planning to do, such as organizing the full camp marathon, choosing campers and staff to partake in different events, come up with 100 trivia questions, start thinking about writing a song for the last night and organize an entire show for the Homecoming show. Most nights we didn't get to bed until 3am.

At the same time, we had our float building team working night and day on building us a Trojan horse. I must say, I think we definitely had the best float team. We pitched them the idea of a Trojan horse and my goodness, did they deliver. Within a matter of hours they had already come up with a plan, designed the whole thing AND because they had spare time, built us a carriage. What more could a girl ask for?

See if you can spot trapeze Edgar hanging from the rafters to paint our horse!

The culmination of the entire week was the last day, which involved the Marathon and the Homecoming show. I use a capital M for the marathon because it really was a Mammoth Marathon.

The Marathon involved two elements: a runner and 39 events or games, if you like. The aim was to finish your event in the quickest time possible, tag your runner who would then run with the college team's flag to the next event, which would then mean the start of the next event and so forth. Each event had a certain number of campers participating and there was a different runner running between events taking place all over camp. Abel and I had to run the entire thing, which meant running around the entire of camp what felt like 2 million times.

We were in the lead for most of the marathon, which I was thrilled by, but all I kept focusing on was not passing out.

Our team was so supportive. Whenever anyone saw me they would be splashing water on me, making me drink water and making sure I was keeping my energy up.

We made it to the last event in 2nd place and the game was a half court basketball shot by two of the Senior boys. This event was purely based on luck and the immense pressure these boys were under to make the shot with the whole camp watching must have been terrifying.

After time penalties were given and considering that the Blue and Red team had skipped an entire event, I thought we were in a pretty good position to come in either 1st or 2nd place. Then they announced the scores.

We came 4th.

That was it. I couldn't take it anymore. Another event, we had come last in. After being disqualified the night before from the fire building competition, losing the Pep rally on the first morning and now the marathon, I was on the verge of breaking down. Fran, the Blue team dean, caught eyes with me and without saying a word, led me down to the lake away from the crowds and we both collapsed under a tree and broke down in tears. Next thing I knew, Amelia, the Red college dean, was at our side, tears streaming down her face. I don't know whether it was the pure exhaustion or immense pressure we were under but I haven't sobbed like that in a long time.

I felt that I was letting my team down and I didn't know what else to do. Luck was not on my side.

My good friend Jamie, found us 3 girls and guided us in to the lake. I took my shoes off and didn't care. We all got in fully clothed to the lake and cried some more. Jamie was amazing at dealing with us crying girls, offering words of wisdom and most of the time laughing at us.

'All you have to do is win all 3 events this evening and make sure the Red team doesn't get 2nd place in the song, the float or the dance. Then you have a chance of winning the whole thing.'

I laughed in Jamie's face. Win all three events at the Homecoming Show? Fat chance!

'I am rooting for you. I have always been rooting for you and Abel' Jamie confessed.

That was it. There was nothing for me to loose. After some comforting words from Abel we both agreed: screw it! We just have to put on a kick ass Homecoming Show tonight and go out there and perform our hearts out. Just have the best time and go out with a BANG!

Trying to find the motivation to go back to my Yellow team and lift up their spirits when my heart was so broken, was one of the hardest things. Jamie came and lent a helping hand and gave us all the motivation we needed to rehearse for about 6 hours straight.

My one aim for College Week was to put on an amazing Homecoming Show, as back in 2011 my team failed so miserably with my own choreography, I was adamant this year I would do better. I was strict and direct with what I wanted and chose the best possible dream team who worked their little butts off to produce some amazing music, choreography and fantastic directing skills.

The key in the Homecoming show, are the transitions and making the show entertaining for your audience. You are working with around 150 staff and kids and you have to take into consideration getting on and off stage, easy choreography and making sure its simple enough for people to pick up.

We managed to tie in the concept of the story of Troy right through the entire show, from our entrance to our choreography to our costumes and produced something magical.

Helen of Troy. Hector of Troy. 
Float Team 

Our float truly was amazing. The float team had done such an amazing job. They had even managed to engineer the horses foot to move, crushing symbols of the other teams beneath its hoofs!

First up, was our entrance. We paraded in strong with Trojan music blasting from the speakers. Trojan Army, we are united.

With Abel and I, safely riding in our carriage. 

 Secondly, came our mini play of the story of Troy. Narrated by our own DD, we acted it out in silence with a little help from the Junior, Senior and CIT boys. 

Once upon a time...

The beautiful Helen was married to the King of Sparta.

Paris, the prince of Troy, had heard of her beauty and decided he wanted her for himself.

Helen fell in love with Paris and soon became Helen of Troy.

The King of Sparta was not happy and he launched an army of 1000 ships to get his Helen back.

Hector, the greatest Trojan warrior, fought off Achilles along with the Spartan army. 

One night, Achilles had an amazing idea. He would build an enormous wooden Trojan horse and deliver it as a present to the Trojans.

Once through the gates of Troy, little did they know that inside was hidden the Spartan army and ravaged the city, defeating the army. 

BUT WAIT. Trojans never give up. Trojans always FIGHT ON

And with this the music blasted from the speakers signalling the start of our enormous dance number.

The Freshmen imploded on stage and gave us a fantastic couples routine to California girls.

We even had a mini cheer number to Shake your Pom Poms by the Jonas Brothers.

The Juniors section is where Abel and I got to demonstrate our dancing talent.

Dancing to Work Hard, Play Hard by Justin Bieber.

Each division had their own song and dance to perform and a moment in the spotlight.

Even the staff got to perform. We all walked on stage slowly wearing our Echo hoodies, with our hoods up. As the music builds we lift up our heads, take our hoods down and then started to do the wobble! It was all a bit f fun really. 

Then we ended with the entire Yellow team back on stage for our own version of Gangnam Style, or should I say Trojan Style? Maria and Josh did an amazing job at re-writing lyrics to and recording the new version of Gangnam style, which went down amazingly.

 What do we have
that no one else has?
We got a horse (point to our horse)
We got a horse. 

Finally, we played Can't Hold Us by Macklemore as Abel and I pumped up the crowd and Josh sang the song and we all ended on a high.

WE'D DONE IT! It was amazing! It was the most fun, I'd had all summer and I didn't care about results.

Next up was our song performance and then we got to sit down to watch the other teams go. There was nothing more we could do. It was all in the judges hands.

The Musketeers. Blue. Xavier. 
Spartans. Green. Michigan State.  
Scarlet Knights. Red. Rutgers. 
After handing out Milk and Cookies, the results were in.

Carl thanked everyone and then started reading out the scores.

And winners of the Song for College Week 2013 is:

Yellow Team.

And we went WILD.

Winners of the Float for College Week goes to:

Yellow Team.

We went even CRAZIER.

And winners of the Homecoming Show and the BEST show I have ever seen in College Week history goes to:


This time we went ABSOLUTELY MENTAL. 

Somehow, we'd done. I'd done it. The Yellow Team had done it. We had managed to pull off the whole Homecoming Show and run away with all three prizes. I had never been so proud of my little team and was on the verge of crying. The hype was insane and after the week we'd had, the Yellow team deserved this. The kids deserved this.

Unfortunately, the Red team managed to come 2nd in their song which meant they were the overall winners of College Week. But we came in a nice 2nd position. Coming all the way from 4th to 2nd is probably known as the comeback of the century. And as Abel kept singing:

'Started from the bottom, now we're here. Started from the bottom, now the whole team frikking here'

And we were here to stay!

Afterwards, us deans got treated a little bit, so we could relax, unwind and reflect on the past week events. None of us had really eaten properly so pizza was ordered, which went down a treat, as did that night's sleep. Tomorrow, it was back to reality, back to being plebs. So long College Week duties and Dean perks.

College Deans 2013
The whole experience was like nothing I have ever experience before. I was running on adrenaline, survived on 3-5 hours of sleep a night, hardly ate and broke down and cried (on several occasions). It was stressful, nerve-racking and disheartening when we were losing. But, at the same time, it brought me so much joy and happiness to see my team united, cheering each other on and keeping the yellow spirit alive.

I couldn't have survived this week without my fellow deans who knew exactly what I was going through. We supported each other, had a lot of fun and became so close.

If anything, I will take from this experience is that the kids on the Yellow Team said it was the best College Week they had ever had and I am proud that I was part of that because I had a blast!!!

Want to read more about Summer Camp?

Summer Camp I
Summer Camp II
Summer Camp IV: Days Off


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