In quite a few hours after finishing this latest post, I’ll jump in the car and go and pick up my son returning from his very first camp. And even though it lasted all of three days, I know from experience he’s going to be tired and grumpy little unit and there’s a chance he might just nod off on the short ride home. Not before he tells me the highlights though and undoubtedly that’ll have me asking the universe why aren’t adult school camps a thing?
Just a mere 12 hours round trip by bus
Interestingly the school camp this year was 6 hours up and the same again down, two busses ferrying a small army of very excitable grade 5’s off to a whirlwind adventure. And I doubt I was the only parent wondering surely there’s somewhere a little closer than that camp ground wise? But I suppose that the further you get away from mum and dad the bigger the adventure it feels and when you’re surrounded by your chatty mates on both trips, it probably doesn’t seem that long.
(It probably feels longer for both the teachers and the bus driver though – spare a thought for those hard working camp support staff..)
‘Seriously, if they start singing ‘The wheels on the bus’ one more time..-Any bus driver really
First day in and we got a great picture of him taking on some archery, something none of my school camps ever provided (actually come to think of it with some of the kids I went to school with, that was probably for safety reasons..) There’s been karaoke, climbing and marshmallows and I know he’s been eating well.
I remember in my camping days we did a lot of bus walking, making damper, enjoying BBQ’d everything and not getting enough sleep. Somewhere in one of mum’s many photo albums there’s me holding up a parrot fish I caught.
I still wish I got to archery though, both back then and now as someone reads this and takes my adult school camp idea on board (Musk or Bezos, you’re not up to much this afternoon are you?), paying me royalties for the idea and netting me squillions in the process..
Adult school camp – the plan
My last official school camp was 1996, year 11, a week in Tasmania getting there and back on the Spirit of Tasmania.
And apart from the occasional boring sightseeing part of the trip (Doo Town might be an exciting place for tourists normally but not so much for a bunch of tired year 11’s) we had an absolute riot. The Cadbury factory rocked (you could smell it km’s away before you saw it), we loved running amok on the boat, staying up late, sneaking beers into the cabins, dancing up a storm on the entertainment area dance floor – great memories.
(While writing this my best buddy Heath called to say hi and reminded me of being on the highest point of the Spirit of Tasmania and jumping into the strong winds that would push you back half a meter before you landed – thanks mate, I’d almost forgotten that!)
But even though it’s been 26 years since the last one (I’m not counting my one and only Contiki tour as an adult school camp, that was more a week long radler beer Bender with everyone on tour spending far too much time trying to bed anything that moved), I’d love to give the whole three day to a week adult school camp thing a go, provided:
-You could drive there and the whole journey would take less than an hour. No long drawn out bus trips, no being stuck next to Mr Moody or Ms Doesn’tshutup the entire trip. And no bus songs!
-No boring activities! Archery yes, bush walking no. Panning for gold (in a place with a high chance of someone finding something of worth to brag about over beers later) yes, bird watching no. Meat smoking yes, damper making workshops not so much. Oh and make activities entirely optional. Not up for playing Arrow in archery class? Not an issue, see you at the next activity!
-You get your own room. No issues for the group if you snore or are having a secretly relationship with someone else at work and you’re keen on some sneaking around to each others sleeping quarters late at night.
-People with RSA’s at the bar each night who will cut you off (in a friendly way) when they think you’ve had too much. Yes you can celebrate nightly, no you can’t drown your sorrows/wipe yourself out in your one man/woman/worker pity party. You’re on camp to have fun dammit, keep your baggage at home!
-What happens at adult school camp stays at adult school camp. If you must Facebook/Instagram things it’s got to have the approval of anyone in the photo first.
-Adult school camp must have something motorised that you can hold some kind of race with, even if it’s just a bush track somewhere. Something like small three wheelers would work just fine:
Actually scrap that, I’ve read that they’ve been banned for safety reasons and you know Occupational Health and Safety would go nuts if they knew. So forget that idea, let’s just jump straight to something a little more adult:
-And finally like my suggestions for work xmas parties, no lengthy speeches are allowed here. You can thank me later.
Adult school camps – the obvious drawbacks
-I’m not in any schooling anymore and haven’t been since 1999. So it’s more adult school camp without the school bit…which on reflection I’m actually okay with.
-If work got involved it’d probably involve team bonding with rope climbs and trust falls, walking on burning coals and crying. I don’t know if I’m keen on any of those things really.
-Obligations in the outside world. Taking a week off for anything with kids, careers, feeding the cat and paying bills is a lot harder now than when I had loads of both spare cash and time laying around. Also convincing my wife about running off to be a kid again at an adult school camp would be interesting ‘So you know how I haven’t been on school camp since 96? Well…’
Still, after all that I would like to relive my school camping days of old. Anyone else feel the same way?