Archive for category teen camp
For 12 lucky campers, the summer did not end with the closure of camp! Together with Cheryl, Aaron and Julie, they journeyed to England, to sight-see and to attend our own Centauri writing retreat.
Our 16th International Tour was as thrilling as every tour before it – packed with new experiences, learning opportunities and terrific memories. The focus of this year’s tour was writing and art. We flew to Manchester, in the North of England, and travelled first to Haworth, a gorgeous village nestled in the hills of Yorkshire, and famous as the home of the Bronte sisters, who wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘Jane Eyre’ and many other novels. We toured their birthplace, read poetry in the location where it was written, explored the cobbled streets of this lovely village, and took two walks in the vicinity. The first walk was a short hike to Penistone Hill, where purple heather stretched across the hills in all directions. The second walk was more intense – a 6 mile hike across hills and open moors, to the famous waterfall where Emily Bronte was said to have written poetry. There, we relaxed in the most gorgeous scenery imaginable, ate a picnic, waded in the clear water of the stream and completed writing projects together.
By the time we left Haworth, all signs of jet lag were gone (the hiking helped with that!) and 15 strangers had become 15 firm friends. Then we moved on to the beautiful old city of York, which has a history stretching back to Roman times. There, we explored the gothic cathedral with its world famous stained glass windows, and journeyed underneath the cathedral to explore remains of the Roman fort it was built on. Some of us even climbed the tower of the cathedral for a terrific view out over the city. We took a trip back into Viking times at the Jorvik Museum, and walked sections of the old city walls. At York, campers also had plenty of time to relax and explore in groups. Some campers spent time in The Shambles, York’s medieval street, while others walked up Clifton Tower and learned of its gruesome medieval history.
By the time we left York, we were well into the swing of our England adventure, and ready to make our way towards the writing retreat for the second part of the trip. We left York by bus at 9am, and called at two places to explore, on the way to Robin Hood’s Bay. The first was the charming village of Hutton-le-Hole, where some of us visited the museum (which operated as a working village) and others sat writing by the stream for a couple of hours, disturbed only occasionally by the curious sheep! From there we headed towards the coast, and our first view of the sea! The afternoon was spent in the lovely seaside town of Whitby, with its Dracula connections and long sea-faring history. Campers explored the quaint shops and the beaches in groups, then climbed the Caedmon Steps (all 199 of them) to meet us at the ruins of Whitby Abbey, high on the cliffs. The views from the abbey were spectacular. This was the point where our writing tutor – Rommi Smith – joined our group. Rommi is a poet, playwright and actor who was also the first ever British Parliamentary writer-in-residence. So for the second half of the tour, there are 16 of us!
At the end of the afternoon we clambered aboard our bus again and headed the short distance down the coast to Robin Hood’s Bay. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the locations we visit on this trip, Robin Hood’s Bay is an ancient settlement of ram-shackle, red-roofed cottages that tumble hap-hazardly down a steep, cobbled hill until, from a distance, they seem to topple into the sea. The village is crammed between two high cliffs. It has a long history of smuggling, and many of the cottages still have underground passages dating from those times.
The tiny streets cannot be accessed by bus so we arrived on foot, carrying our backpacks down the steep hill into the village, then up towards the Old School House on the cliff, which will be our home for the next few days. It has an ideal location, looking down on the village on one side, and out towards the sea on the other. We settled in, unpacked groceries, enjoyed traditional fish ‘n’ chips for dinner, then began our writing adventure with an outdoor workshop, on a sloping patch of grass with the most inspiring view imaginable.
After that, our days took on a creative and very satisfactory pattern. We’d make our own breakfasts in the kitchen, then meet out on the hillside for a writing workshop that usually ran from 9.30am until around 1pm. After that, our campers made their own lunches. Some chose to eat a quick sandwich and spend the afternoon on their own writing, while others got creative in the kitchen, eating gormet lunches and relaxing with friends. We also planned activities in the afternoons. We explored Robin Hood’s Bay, with its lovely craft shops, spent time crabbing in rock pools and writing on the beach, and took short walks. On one afternoon, Julie, Cheryl, Aaron and Rommi offered a guided walk for our campers over the cliffs to Whitby (a total of 6 miles away). It was a walk crammed with spectacular views over the cliffs, ocean and fields.
Our evenings at the writing retreat were equally memorable. Every night, after we’d made dinner in cooking teams and enjoyed it together, we gathered outside or in the main lounge, to share more writing exercises or to read from our work. One night, we heard that Morris Dancers were in the village. Leaving dessert, we ran down to watch. In fact, several of our campers were invited to join the Morris dancers and got to share in a fun local tradition!
Before we knew it, the final day had arrived. On our last evening at the centre, everyone read from the writing we had created. Rommi was a fantastic workshop leader, and our varied creations included poetry, song lyrics, storytelling, novel excerpts, short stories, a radio play and children’s picture books.
Our final night ended in a very memorable way. We placed poetry in bottles, walked together down to the beach as the sun was setting, and slung our message-bottles into the sea. Then we stood in a close circle and Rommi read to us all.
Like camp, the tour this year was a spectacular experience which exceeded all expectations. We’re working, now, on the tour for 2011. If you’re interested in joining us for this, then watch for the information, which will be live on our website by the end of September!
To see more photos, go to http://www.centauriartscamp.com/media/Galleries/2010/index.htm and click on the England Tour album!
There’s a new challenge facing overnight camps these days. For our teens, it’s harder than ever before to leave behind their technologies, and immerse themselves in social interactions that are ‘face to face’ rather than over the internet. The average teen in North America sends and receives 200 text messages a day, something they can’t do at camp. They are constantly in touch with the mini-dramas occurring in the lives of their friends – who has split up with who, and which friends are arguing. ‘Turning off’ this constant barrage of ‘issues’ in their peer groups is a challenge when they come to overnight camp.
So what can we do to help, as camp directors, camp staff, parents and guardians? The direct social interaction that camp offers is more important than ever before. All we can do is reassure our kids that their friends will still be there when they get home. And hope that social media and text messaging do not become a reason for them to lose out on all the fabulous experiences that sleep-over camp can offer.
Any thoughts from our families? Please share them. We often hear kids tell us it’s hard to be away from the mini-dramas they share in on Facebook. But sleep-over camp can offer so much more than a summer spend interacting online. When I watch our campers share together in an arts workshop, an important group discussion, a night star-gazing, a moment celebrating new achievements, or a meal of singing and dancing together… well, you get the idea.
We have just added more camp video to our video page
But for those who want to see it now, here they are!
This one is a series of clips of the final performances and shows in summer 2008. There are clips of the writing camps, theatre camps, film camps, fine art Camps, photography camps, musical theatre camps, music camps and much more.
This one is a series of clips of camp life in summer 2008, all the craziness and fun of arts camp! It shows campers and staff in the themed banquets, special events etc.