This camp was a return to Wainui YMCA camp for adolescents for the first time in four and a half years. Twenty-two teens, four medical staff and three peer supports piled into vans and cars and made our way over to Wainui. The day was drizzly and damp and this continued for most of camp which didn’t stop any of the planned activities but made us damp and muddy! The sun shone for our last day on camp!!
The medical staff were the two Tina’s - Anngow and Cook – nurses; Sara Widdowson -Paediatric Dietitian; and Dr Mike Liu from the Diabetes Centre.
Peer supports were Sam Drake, Kirsten O’Hara and Katie Morris.
YMCA staff ran the activities for the week, and any gaps we had between meals and activities were filled in by Mike and Sam with group games which morphed into indoor cricket with a cardboard bat and an eyeball bouncy ball!
After introductions and lunch on the first day we headed off into the rain for our first activity – a group challenge. We were split into smaller groups who then had to follow a map to find staff members around the camp site. Once found, the groups had to complete that challenge. Challenges included getting all team members from a platform to the inside of a large tyre via a rope without touching the ground to save a purple elephant, untying a human knot, walking as a group to a point with legs ‘glued’ to each other. Tokens were awarded after each challenge which then were redeemed for a bag of items to protect an unboiled egg from breaking when dropped from a height. All unbroken eggs were then able to broken on a YMCA staff members head. Unluckily for the staff, all eggs survived their drop!!
That evening we played diabetes Bingo, so hopefully everyone learnt something new about managing their diabetes. Wednesday dawned wet and drizzly again. We split into two groups to do archery and orienteering. The groups swapped to the other activity in the afternoon. After a short archery practice we played the cutlery/crockery game. During three hits, where your arrow landed on the target determined what you could eat with at dinner! Because we had nachos for dinner that night we postponed the result to dinner the next night- there were many people eating with bowls and spoons, and a few mugs. William did very well eating his dinner with only a knife and plate and Mitch did a great job of eating from mugs with no cutlery!!
During orienteering we got to know the campsite very well following the map to find all the numbered points. This involved a lot of walking up and down hills and through bush. We were grateful that the camp has a drying room so we were able to dry wet clothes and shoes.
After dinner we had a movie night.
Thursday we split into two groups again for kayaking and high ropes, swapping again to the other activity after lunch. May people challenged themselves on the high ropes by overcoming reticence of heights and pushing themselves further and higher than they thought they could go. It was great to see such great attitudes and determination in the group.
During kayaking in Tikao Bay we learnt how to paddle, raft (lining up next to each other) and steer. We paddled to some caves and played games such as swapping people from kayak to kayak, and standing on the kayak to sing ‘head shoulders, knees and toes’. Not surprisingly there were some ‘accidents’ as well as purposeful dumpi ngs into the water!
After dinner we walked through the bush to the campfire where the YMCA staff led us in songs and games, ending with marshmallow toasting. Another movie followed for those that were keen.
Friday was sunny, after packing up and birthday celebrations for Tom who turned 15, we had our last activity of camp – two group games that had us running around the bush with coloured marks on our faces or arms. After lunch and farewells to the YMCA staff we headed back to Christchurch, singing, and a bit weary.