End Of TLC 2014

It is now official, Timber Lake camp has finished for another year, whether this is my last time ever or whether I return still remains to be decided. I saw all my kids off this morning onto the camp buses, there were many tears shed, no matter how hard it is to say goodbye I know the people I am closest to I will still keep in touch. There were some more than others I really struggled with and it really hurts me to say goodbye to such an amazing summer, not only has this been a job, but it has been an entire lifestyle, and easily the greatest summer of my life.

10592707_10152232457876956_1459001570806370352_n    Program Department – Jordan Haber, Alastair Lind, Joshua Wakley

My job role this year around was so much better, I had a lot more responsibility and I knew what was going on already making things much easier. Having already adapted to the camp lifestyle last year I could prepare myself for what was in store, particular events this proved extremely useful for. Jordan Haber was an amazing Program Director to be working with, he was organised and on top of things. I loved his work ethic, we’d work closely together to ensure everything gets done the best it can possibly be. This showed as almost all the major events we kept receiving compliments that they were the ‘best ever’, we set the bar high early and maintained this level throughout the entire summer.

10606259_284256648424764_5999759430753921127_n                                                 Teen Dorm 2014

As an overall reflection of my role I feel I have fulfilled all my job expectations and gone beyond the call of duty. Now I have organised the department and pushed for future investment I feel like I have entered a three year plan. The first year was spent getting used to camp and seeing what does and doesn’t work, this year was spent improving the facilities and gaining more responsibility, potentially next year could be introducing the new equipment and compiling a manual for future Program Department employees.

10341726_10152687186343516_2269583125113154714_n                                      Bunk 20 Returners 2014

This year has been an entire learning curve, I wouldn’t know where to start about what I have learnt. Every day was a new challenge and kept me on my toes, I’d always put 110% effort in and I am proud of everything I have achieved. I have no idea if I will ever return to Timber Lake camp but I am extremely proud of the legacy I have left behind. TLC 2014.

10394130_10152687185393516_3366683571800690570_n    Travelling Friends – Daniel Morgan, Nathan White, Joshua Wakley

 

Burnout

Today was the final full day of camp, the day spent giving out awards, packing up bunks and departments before rounding it off with a big send off activity in the Tigers Den. In the morning I set the PA system up in the Dome and left it for the day, with so many talks happening it was easier to go back and run it for each one rather than packing it up each time, thankfully the weather was dry for this. The talks consisted of bus departures for campers, bus departures for counsellors, boys side awards, and girls side awards.

The closing ceremony consisted of camp awards, the end of year slideshow and burnout. We set the inflatable screen up on the edge of the basketball court leant up again the one of the camp trucks that Steiny had parked for us. The projector was placed in the centre of the basketball court, my laptop ran from MiniPort to VGA into the projector whilst the 3.5mm converted into 1/4 Jack before running into the Preamp which eventually went into the PA system via an XLR cable. Whilst everyone entered the Tigers Den I opted to play a collection of the most played and popular songs on camp throughout the summer (e.g. Italo Brothers – Stamp It On The Ground) to get everyone up on their feet one last time. The awards were lead by Jay and Mindy, each equipped with one wireless microphone.

After the awards came the end of year slideshow, a 15 minute video consisting of a skit followed by a collection of photographers shot throughout the summer by the publicity team – Nathan, Clare and Ryan. I had already reviewed the show with Clare yesterday and gave feedback, she was happy with everything so I got a copy loaded on my laptop ready for the evening. Thankfully it all played as expected, it was such a heartwarming film and a beautiful tribute to the summer just gone. Once the film ended the entire camp sang the Alma Mater, I had Jonahs’ keyboard hooked into the PA system as per usual and this worked as expected.

TLC Alma Maters 2014
Burnout

The final part of the closing ceremony is known as ‘Burnout’. Everyone gathers on the lakeside and on the opposite side the maintenance staff burn giant wood cutouts of things associated with this year at Timber Lake (e.g. Game Of Thrones, Season Sweep, etc). I compiled a playlist of sad music to build upon this atmosphere, consisting of the music from last year with some additions. This is quite possibly the worst night on camp, it really hits home seeing everything burned down and everyone brought to tears that this could be possibly there last time ever at Timber Lake. I found it especially hard as the teens really take it to heart, 94% of campers will return next year but for teens there isn’t that option unless they become a counsellors, this is really there last time ever on camp and I am so happy and proud to have been able to be their counsellors alongside all my work as a Media Specialist.

Prom

Now that I’ve packed down all the equipment I have fully compiled the inventory of what we own and put together a short report with suggested purchases Jay can make for the future. If the purchases are made I can see myself coming back for one final year to see the transition of equipment all the way through. Having compiled the report together I am extremely excited for the future opportunities that may arise technically in Timber Lake Camp.

Program Department Inventory
Program Department Purchases 2014

Tonight was the penultimate evening meaning the ‘Prom’. On my part it is pretty much the same setup as the weekly socials, only this time we drop all the games and move it up to the Timber Dome. Using the spotlights built into the ceiling I combined this with 5 PAR cans on the bleachers to provide enough safe lighting for movement. In addition I placed several disco lights in the booth facing the dance floor along with UV and fairy lights. I ran the music through the PA system via my laptop, this time around I used virtual DJ software throughout the entire evening for better mixing. I had previously used it for games (i.e. speeding up the Macarena), but this time around it prove useful in mixing together songs. As I had every song that had been featured in camp throughout the summer I had no problems in keeping the music mixing together for 3-4 hours.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy the prom, from the booth all I could see were happy people socialising and dancing. I played party tunes for the younger ages and after they left I moved onto House and Rap for upper camp. I was happy sat up in the booth for the entire evening with friends visiting throughout to say their goodbyes and get pictures whilst everyone was suited and booted. It’s hard to believe that the campers leave in two days and this amazing adventure will come to an end.

Organising Trophies

A relatively quiet day for the Program Department as the majority of the days focus was on league final games. Jordan and I had the trophy order for the end of year awards arrive so we spent the morning organising, labelling and boxing them up ready for presentations. The rest of the day I spent slowly organising and packing up equipment as its only a few days until I have to say goodbye to camp for another year.

Sing Night And Kangaroo Court

This morning I got up slightly earlier to get back over to the rec hall and prep for the completion of Sing Night. I had gone around and switched off every piece of equipment last night incase of a electrical spike when the power camp back on. Everything switched on and worked as usual so we were all good to go ahead with the White team skit followed by the Alma Maters. For the green team I hooked up the keyboard into the sound desk via the Preamp (1/4 jack), white team ended up using the same musical equipment.

The results came in following the last few events of Sing Night, Game Of Thrones Green proved victorious! Both teams went into the series of events neck and neck, I feel like I really pulled through for my team as I dabbled in almost every event in Sing Night what saw our team claim the Marathon victory.

Now Marathon is over the camp is slowly closing down as there are only a few days until all the campers leave followed shortly by all the counsellor staff. All the leagues are coming to an end with the finals happening over the next few days, I would love to add that the Program Departments workload is getting easier but we have to make sure that camp goes out with a bang.

Kangaroo Court

Tonights evening activity is an annual end of camp event known as ‘Kangaroo Court’. This is where all the bad campers and counsellors get put on trial in a comedic format with pardons awarded and punishments dealt out such as tank dunking, shaving foam, and toilet paper. The maintenance team brought in the podium to the rec hall and Jordan notified the art shack to decorate it. Come the evening the event proved as successful as always, I spent the evening sat in the booth monitoring the microphone levels complete with a criminal inspired playlist (i.e. Bad Boys).

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Marathon Day 4

The final day of Marathon seemed to fly by today as everyone was focused on the evening activity ‘Sing Night’. This consists of several events that is judged by a selection from the entire Marathon judging panel. The scenery consists of the entire rec hall being decorated to matched the theme of each team, both green and white get half the rec hall and have been working on it throughout Marathon. The Plaque and Mural are both pieces of artwork to reflect the theme of each team, both pieces are hung around camp for eternity. The Skit is a 15minute comedy sketch to reflect upon this summer at camp, also embedding the themes of each team. The Dance is a 5 minute routine by each team to match their theme. Finally the Alma Mater is a camp style song reflecting upon the summer and themes of each team.

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Once our teams scenery was almost complete I came in and added all the multimedia elements. This consisted of:
– Smoke machine in the winter section
– Strobe light under icicles
– PAR Can facing up at the throne
– Speaker with dragon sound effects
– Red spotlight on dragons mouth/fire

For the stage events I provided 4 handheld wireless microphones and 3 clip ons. It was up to Alastair (White) and I (Green) to adapt any further and enhance either teams skits, dances or Alma Maters. Both dances worked successfully as each team had premixed their song, the plaque presentation went down well as did the scenery. For the green team skit I had planned some music queues with our captain and executed them in line with the script.

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When it came to the white team skit we suddenly suffered a blackout. I took it upon myself to check all the circuit breakers in the rec hall whilst Jay took control of the room and got everyone settled. It turned out the entire camp had lost power apart from the office than runs on an emergency generator. After contacting the power company it turned out due to the storms one of the lines had been hit and we wouldn’t be getting power back until midnight at the earliest. Jays verdict was to postpone the rest of the night until the following morning, something that has never been done with Marathon before. It was probably for the best as there would have definitely been an advantage to the team who was able to perform with microphones.

Marathon Day 3

The majority of the day was spent on one of the most popular events in camp, The Apache Relay. This is a back to back series of tasks that involve the entire camp forming one giant relay, everyone gets involved and attributes to the overall success or failure of the team. Yesterday Jordan, Jay-Ro and I discussed the event and gathered the materials, this morning Jay-Ro briefed all the judges and explained that each were responsible for gathering materials for their respective events. After the meeting Jay-Ro and I gathered the miscellaneous materials that the Program Department were responsible for, then drove around and placed them in their various stations.

Apache Relay Judges

The event began after lunch for boys side, my job was to drive one of the karts around with the photographers and videographer. This was a relatively simple task, I just had to keep on the ball with where the current event was taking place and be careful to keep out of the way of competitors. I had to try and keep slightly ahead of the action so that the publicity team could capture as much of each event as possible whereas the other two karts with team captains could simply follow the action. I drove around for the first version with the boys, someone else subbed in for the second version with the girls allowing me time to finish the dance mix with my green team and then focus on getting the quiz show ready for the evening.

I rigged up the quiz show so I could sit at the front of the audience and control everything, the reason for this was due to the remote control for the machine only have a short range. I placed each machine on a bench at the front of the stage, one 1/4 Jack came out of the machines into the Preamp located under the stage, this was for sound effects. The actual microphones on the machines required an XLR output, I threaded each one into its own individual speaker on the stage facing towards the audience whilst Robbie and Jay-Ro each had their own handheld wireless microphone. Finally I had my iPod hooked into an additional Preamp via a 3.5mm – 1/4 Jack cable. All the audio levels I had pre determined on the main sound desk allowing me to sit down and control the game for the entirety of both shows (boys and girls).

Quiz Game Show 2014

The game show proved to be extremely successful, there were a few squabbles amongst team captains over the fairness but that pretty much occurs at every event throughout Marathon. More importantly Robbie, Jay and Jordan were all extremely happy with how the quiz went. I’d worry whenever a team got a question wrong that I had made the game too hard, or my British knowledge varies from American knowledge. Often it was proved that the questions were good when the audience could answer after both teams had failed. The icing on the cake for the quiz night was seeing my team victorious!

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Marathon Day 2

Tomorrow night is one of my most important events, the quiz night. Jordan was happy for me to focus purely on this as he was occupied judging events. I started off using last years version and developed it for improved gameplay. I spoke with Janie and Steve and came to the verdict to do a separate quiz for boys and girls side as opposed to the lower and upper camp format of previous years. Robbie had some concerns about how long the quiz would run, I quickly addressed this as I have featured the same amount of questions as the previous year, however the number per division is split differently.

I decided to ditch two features from last years quiz, the first being the ‘Video Observation Round’. This round wasn’t as huge a success as I expected, it turned out to be a lot of work with no real results, much more effort than its worth. I also decided to ditch the projector, previously I had created a powerpoint with all the questions and answers for the audience, it ended up becoming a distraction and forced the entire scenery on stage to be pushed too far forward. Once again it was the case of a lot of effort without any real payout.

This year I have included a variety of question types and subjects, so each age group couldn’t be certain as to the type of trivia they would face. On top of general questions I included a ‘Guess That Tune’ and ‘Charade’ round, I felt this added some diversity in the way questions are asked and answered. The ‘Guess That Tune’ consisted of me playing a random song from an iPod and the team getting the artist and song correct, the ‘Charade’ round consisted of a volunteer acting out a particular answer for the teams to guess. I look forward to seeing how it goes down tomorrow evening.

The apache relay is currently scheduled for tomorrow so Jordan, Jay-Ro and I have discussed the materials that are required and have delegated who needs to get what and when. Jordan had one of the drivers pop into town to pick up a few items ready for tomorrow.

Rope Burn

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Tonights evening activity was one of my favourite nights on camp, the ‘Rope Burn’. In this event each team has to build a fire and burn through three thick ropes soaked in water hung at 6 foot, 8 foot and 10 foot. Each team have one hour, the first team to complete it, or the team to get the furthest in an hour wins the event. I ran an extension cord from the tennis pavilion allowing me to hook up the two American Audio portable speakers on the field facing the crowd. Into this I had a wireless microphone allowing Jay-Ro to get close to the action and commentate, I sat back and enjoyed the spectacle of the event whilst monitoring the music – a playlist inspired by the themes of fire and burning. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, it was a night full of action and drama, pretty much running neck and neck throughout. Halfway into Marathon and its still anyones game, as usual it will probably be decided on ‘Sing Night’, the last set of activities for Marathon.

Marathon Day 1

The opening ceremonies for Marathon took place this morning with a variety of events arranged by Steve Bochian and Robbie Gothelf. I opted for an olympic inspired playlist with the addition of each teams respective theme songs. Following the opening ceremonies the remainder of the day was relatively quiet, I was able to cheer on my teen campers in their events at various points of the day.

Marathon Opening Ceremony

I have been in discussions with my team about ‘Sing Night’. My dance team have asked if I could mix down their track for them, they should be coming down tomorrow to discuss it and for me to finalise the mix. I also met with Anthony who is in charge of scenery for the rec hall, my role in this will be to enhance the scenery into a multi-media experience as opposed to decorations alone. Originally Anthony and I considered a UV light and smoke inside of a cave, however his design has since developed and we are now looking at a UV light for the throne and the smoke to replicate winter. I have agreed with Alastair how to evenly split all the theatre equipment for both teams, thankfully I managed to secure the smoke machine and spotlight.

To round off the first day of Marathon was a baseball match between the upper camp boys and girls. I brought the PA system to the stadium and monitored the sound whilst Robbie and Jay-Ro commentated on the game.

Breakout!

Tonight was finally breakout! Everyone had been discussing it all week and trying to predict when it would happen, most assuming tomorrow as that is the usual breakout day. It all broke out at the social this evening on Tigers Den. Last week we had moved the social down to the Tigers Den so people wouldn’t become suspicious when it was moved down for breakout, the reason being because it was happening on the lake. The theme was ‘Season Sweep’ following our win at all three of our home tournaments, the teen counsellors were responsible for running it as it is tradition. I rigged the Den the same as last week and provided the teens with a library of music they could play, this allowed me to focus on getting ready for breakout.

Social Floor Plan

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For the social I moved a table down to the Den and used the PA system as the mixing desk, I plugged into this my laptop (via 3.5mm) for music, a wireless microphone for announcements (via 1/4 jack), an additional microphone for breakout announcement (via XLR), and a clip-on microphone for one of our social games (via 1/4 jack). I then scattered a variety of disco lights around the booth, and placed various tungsten par cans along the wall to light the dance floor safely rather than drowning all the disco lights out with the flood lights on the court. We had all the trophies on display and a pile of boxes which were claimed to be ‘Season Sweep T-Shirts’ when in fact they were the flyers with all the information for marathon.

As soon as it got dark I received the signal for Jordan as fireworks went off by the lake, all the campers ran down to the water whilst I killed the lights and started the breakout playlist. After a minute of fireworks two figures appeared on the lake and began duelling. These were two water propelled acrobats in light suits (green vs white) who performed stunts and acted out a battle wielding light swords. This performance lasted around 10 minutes before the firework finale and J-Ro (head judge for marathon) announced the team names for marathon as all the flyers were thrown amongst the campers.

This year the teams are ‘Game Of Thrones Green’ and ‘House Of Cards White’, I am part of green team this year with Alistair as my opposing skill set on white. Everyone seemed to enjoy breakout and it definitely came as a big surprise in terms of time and place, never had a breakout happened at night or on the lake before. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and am really looking forward to marathon. I already queried Jay as to my responsibilities during marathon, the idea is the entire camp is split evenly in terms of skills and ability so I wanted to clarify to what extent I can help white team with technology and what advantages I can offer my team. Last year I wasn’t assigned a team, I am looking forward to having someone to route for this time around.