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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.