Finally it came the day everyone was waiting for. If I remember well, it was the 27th of June 2009. Since the early morning we were totally excited. Everybody was already in the camp except of some of the counselors who were coming with the kids by bus.
Around 10am the first bus came. This kids jumped out, meeting Matt’s wife and the others, who were waiting for them. It was a nice moment. Slowly all busses arrived and all the kids were there. They have been split by age into groups and went with their counselors to discover their new home for the upcoming 7-8 weeks. We have been asked to go and take the luggage. I was expecting maybe 1-2 luggage per person, however if I count all the luggage, then those were hundreds, even thousands. We were surprised. Never thought kids might have so many things with them, but e.g. each of them had several t-shirts in a different colors. It took us a lot of time to take all the luggage the to bunks. If you want to see how it was, look at the official video below. Vitalii made it and it’s catching all the interesting moments starting with the arrival of the kids. Enjoy! 😉
Anyway, the real camp just started. We had to work much more as we had to serve food and drinks to more than 200 people every day. I’m not exactly aware how much we were, but I believe it was together with the stuff and management between 200 and 250.
I remember the first few days were really hard. We had to wake up a bit earlier than usual, pay much more attention to everything, being quicker and more productive. You know, it’s totally different when you have now to serve to 10x more people who you used to do. Specially, when those are kids. You need to be more careful. However we really liked that. Thanks to the kids the camp was really alive and everywhere was fun and laugh.
The kids were full with energy, joy and happiness. When I first saw them, I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were hugging each other, giving kisses, showing pictures and behaving like old friends from the past. I have to admit first, I tought it’s only theater and it’s not real. I remembered Shakespeare who once said: “All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players”. When you are becoming older than you stop believing in pure happiness without giving something for it. It’s maybe a curse of an adulthood. You stop believing in goodness and help without expecting the favor back. However that was not the case. It was a good learning moment for me again. Believe in goodness, pure happiness and innocent souls of kids.
Another disbelieve of my was when I thought that those kids are hothouse plants, who can’t behave. Before going to the camp we were told that only more wealthy kids can afford spending the Summer in camps as it’s not really a cheap thing. Therefore I thought those kids will be arrogant, hard to talk to and ordering instead of asking. However I was wrong again. The kids were amazing, I remember a special case when after lunch a 7, maybe 8 year-old girl came to me asking for an apple. She told me to have an allergic reaction to peanuts, therefore she can’t have the chocolate with peanuts in it. I gave her an apple and she was really thankful. That was another learning moment for me. I realized that I shouldn’t believe to things which were told to me. Instead of that I should listen, watch and learn. That was one of those things, which I remember always and try to act according to that.
I remember really many things, which happened during the camp, however one special day was the Parents day. This was the day when the parents came to visit the kids and we had to prepare the camp for it. I thought they will just come and meet their children, however it was more than that. It was a SHOW!
First of all we had to prepare the camp. It ment more cleaning, more cooking, more serving and being available the whole day without any breaks. I remember we woke up really early that day. It might be around 5:30am and we were already in the kitchen around 6:15. We were helping to cut the vegetebles, fruits, prepared the plates, drinks. Some of us went and took out the tables and chairs. Another group started to clean them outside and preparing them for the visit. We had to be really precise as this was really important even from branding perspective. As the camps good name was depending also on our behaviour and skills. Therefore we paid much more attention to everything before and also during the visit of the parents.
The parents day started really soon. The first parents already arrived to the camp around 9am, however they were not allowed to meet them. They were asked to wait on a certain point. The kids were also asked to stay on a certain point with the counselors until they did not get the sign from Noel (the owner of the camp). After all parents arrived and the kids were out as well, Noel explained the rules. They were simple. If he gives the sign, than they can run to each other.
Everybody was excited and waiting for Noel to give the sign. He was looking at both sides and then made his move. People started to run. It was a strong moment. You can see it here.
It was like they haven’t seen each other for months. It was full with passion, love and joy. Kids and parents were hugging each other. After that they had big talks, went to grab something for eat and drink. It was like a big picnic with hundreds of people. For us It was exhausting, as we had to work without a break the whole day. However as everything turned out very well, we received a big THANK YOU from Matt. It was worth of it. After the day was over we looked really exhausted. You can see it on the picture below:
That was the story of the parents day. The next story will be about my first real day off and how I enjoyed it. So please keep reading. 😉