Monday, 23 August 2010

Mock the Sheep

From the youngsters of 10 to the practically ancient 23 year olds - the Litchfield crew bounded into Camas life with enthusiasm, joy and a sense of togetherness and had us rolling in the isles with their look back on mock the week - i mean sheep!
All 23 of them bonded together like a massive family, and the groups that I joined in with were as happy to paint giant caterpillars on the garden bench as to go kayaking.
They enjoyed chatting together and discussing what was growing in the polly-tunnel. They leapt up the abseiling wall in their magic climbing shoes with strength and determination that saw 3 of them reach the top! - 3 cheers!!!!! And several dived capsized and generally splashed around whilst others managed to stay in kayaks long enough to win at seaweed tag and dodge around Darrah in British Bull Dog.
When the sun shone the Litchfielders could be seen playing cricket and other games of their own devising (I never understood the rules) on the lawn.
When it rained - we went to Iona. More cheers for the coragious crack team of 'elders' - so wise!- who put up Ursula, Graham and the other sensibly named tents whilst a storm blew all around. The rest of the group certainly seemed to appreciate it when they too arrived all of a bidraggle and could get changed for dinner at the abbey, service and of course the ceilidh.
I loved the write up the group gave of being spun in a dance your feet somehow knew, in a village hall packed with smiling people, most of whom we all managed to bump into, dance with or tread on their toes and all of whom enjoyed your renditions of 'Cecil the caterpillar.'
A highlight for us staff is Camas challenge where we get to see what Camas is like when the group make it your own. I have to say it was a bit scary that your entertainments team seemed to know the inner workings of our mind when you gave the alternative tour (apparently we don't want you to eat our digestive biscuits as we GREW them ourselves!) But the lovely food, and thoughtful reflection, the dancing, singing, Viki Pollards and circus skills made up for the derision we received in mock the week team (thanks guys).
Well done Litchfield for all your fundraising, and epic travel including double booked trains and negotiating Bowmans coaches - I hope you returned feeling as full of smiles and fun as you were here -Camas misses you and can't wait to see you all again next year!

-Rosie x

This week we were lucky enough to be joined by possibly our most dedicated serial visitors!
Traveling all the way up here from the
mock the sheep
witty banter around the fire
scout songs - little boys
know all the camping/kayaking/raft building

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I love Norway...I love Norway!!!

Hello, all you Camas fans!

This week we have had an older group of young people, ages 15-20, visiting us all the way from Harstad in north Norway. Two things made us quite excited about was, you know, they have the midnight sun during summer months, which is great. however, from late November to mid January they also a period with twilight a few hours each night of course that is because the sun just dips below the horizon. Can you imagine living in the darkness all day? So they go to school and stay there when it is just dusk around noon, and come home when it is already dark. The second exciting thing is Harstad is placed in the northern light zone. So, in a clear day over winter, they fully enjoy the aurora. Well, you gain something and lose something else. (I personally want to go there over winter time when there is no sun during the day. Who knows my Mr. Hyde might come up and play with me!!!!)

I believe that this group had brought the sunny bright weather all the way to the camas with them. Camas typical activities went very well thanks for the beautiful weather. Kayaking, abseiling, walking to the Trig Point, taking a boat trip to Staffa, camping on the Mac lawn, joining evening service for peace, Ceilidh, pilgrimage on Iona, doing a treasure hunt (with edible treasure, of course), going to Market Bay, a lot of games-shark attack, shipwreck-which is my favorite, Norwegian rope game, bustered and 'mafia' of course. We had a lot of laughs and fun throughout the week.

Finally, according to the tradition, we let these guys take over Camas for their last evening here. Some decorated our dining room with flowers and flowery napkins on each table, some occupied our kitchen for the evening meal - they served Norwegian version of Mexican food. Even thinking of that food, you know what? mince was absolutely fabulous. oh, yeah alternative one was also fantastic. Whatever our guests cook for us on Thursday evening never disappoints us. It always hits the spot. Thank you all!!!

Another precious week has passed by like that. We all believe the community and friendship we had built for this week will last long in our memories and will fill us bright smiles and warmth throughout our lives forever!!!

'Bugaloo, bu-bu-galoo, bu! funky chicken, fun-funky chicken hoo!, Frankenstein, f-Frankenstein woo!, Dracula, d-dracula, woo!, barbie girl, ba-babie girl, oh!'

From Big Members to smaller Members...

Hi there everyone, sorry we haven't written any updates lately....I guess we have just been having too much fun! Nearly three weeks ago, we had....


I have the honor of telling you all about New Members week, and what it is. The new members who came here are people who are on a two year course to becoming official members of the Iona community. So, every summer they have as many new members as possible come on out to Camas to do some maintenance work, build relationships, tidy these old buildings up, and have a regular good ole' time! The reason the Iona Community does this with their new members is because George Macleod had a firm belief that building relationships and working along side people in a common task who you might not normally interact with is vital to building one's character and faith, so naturally the Iona Community continues this tradition by making their new members our slaves for a week.

So naturally, we put these guys to work!!! So here's a list of everything these guys did: Some of the ladies spent HOURS making mountains of new pillows and cushions for our common room, a group of people repainted the common room and kitchen, a load of rubbish was gotten rid of which was laboriously driven to two hours to the tip (Garbage Center) in Tobermory (only, it did take the men quite a bit of time to get back, there is rumor of a fish and chip stop...) Anyway, there was loads of track maintenance, tons more of repainting, the chapel of the nets was totally cleaned out, all the windows were washed (inside and out), lots of help cooking, a massive amount of Pete cutting, a fire pit was rebuilt, lots of work was done in the garden, and lots of wheelbarrow runs for food and fire wood. Then we sent everyone away....

Not Really! We had tons of fun too. We went ab sailing, hill walking, kayaking, and the best bit was on the last day when all of our slaves made us dinner. Oh my goodness, it was amazing, and they even served ''sea biscuits'' at the end of the meal. ( It was shortbread shaped into sea creatures) They did a lovely reflection for us, and then my favorite part of the evening was when they decided to entertain us with 'Camas has got Talent'. There were loads of performances from singing, to skits, to accordion playing, to lots of jokes (I cannot say whether or no they were good-sorry Mark), and the final act of the evening was my personal favorite, and that was when my dear friend Rosiadh from the Isle of Skye busted out her bagpipes and played us all a few reels to the roaring applause of a happily knackered team. And then we bid them a very fond farewell... Thanks for all your help team!

Oh, yeah, before I forget-Whales-There were Killer Whales in our bay that week. Cool, ay?
Now, it is time to transition to the smaller, but not less important community members...


So, after all of our amazing Community Members left us in ship shape order, they sent their kids on over while they had a retreat week on Iona. Now, these guys were AWESOME! And so much fun! We did all sorts of fun things with these guys...We did the typical ab sailing, kayaking, raft building, hill walking, etc. But these guys also went WILD camping on the Camas lawn, and then we played man hunt (which is a glorified way to play hide and go seek, actually it is the best way to play hide and go seek). We also took a trip to Market Bay which was like non other I have ever been on!

First, I cannot forget to mention, we had a visiting staff member that week by the name of a Mr. Adam Smalls, and I partly blame him for this, but while at the beach, for the first time in Camas history since I have been here, we had a massive wrestling match, and it was guys vs. gals! And let me say this...boy was it close. Some of the kids had Tom by the legs and wouldn't let him go! We had a big rope circle around us and the deal was you had to push all the opposing team out of the circle, and it was best two out of three. And I think, if I am right, that the girls ended up winning! But we all expected that anyway,right? We also had a huge jelly fish war on the beach; seeing as there were hundreds of dead jellies just waiting there for us, we thought what better thing could be done than to throw jelly fishes at everyone! It was great!

We really like those Community Kids and we look forward to having them back for more fun next year!

That's all for now folks!
Peace out, from that crazy American

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The German Group Who Broke My Head

This is a very delayed account of a visit by a group from Germany. They taught us some pretty spectacular games (that are now being tested on other groups) and helped Josef and I perfect our already fantastic German language skills: "Ich bin die Karrote."

The best part of my week was during the raft-building. I helped construct one of the rafts, which promptly fell apart when it hit the water. Unfortunately this was seen to be my fault (it mostly was) and i received an accidental barrel to the face as punishment. However, I now have an extremely cool scar above my right eyebrow; thanks guys!

All in all we had a lot of fun. The group were definitely a pod of dolphins and we were sorry to see them go. Come back next year!


P.S. send us your photos.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Day We Didn't Go to the Bunessan Show

The Bunessan Show is the annual showcase of all things agricultural, horticultural and crafty on Mull. It is a eagerly anticipated event and taken very seriously by all who compete. The vegetables are polished, the ducks are groomed and the cakes are guarded by high level security. It promised to be a grand day out. But, the morning came and it rained the proverbial buckets and, after a very wet walk up the track to see off the Community Kids, we decided with a little regret that we were just too soggy to go. What to do with a basketful of home grown veg, a dozen would-be-prizewinning eggs, an exceptional sultana loaf, and Mary's hand-rolled chocolate truffles? We had a fine lunch that day, let me tell you! We unanimously awarded ourselves 'Best No Show' in all significant categories*.

Jeayeun won the truffle eating competition hands down.

* The award of the judges will be final. The committee will decide on all other matters and their decision will be final. Protests must be in writing and must be in the Secretary's (read Camas Co-Ordinator's) hands within a week of from the date of the Show.