I cannot believe that I am coming to the end of looking after my second group of children and have been in Croatia for 3 weeks already. My days feel incredibly long, with every hour planned and scheduled. Our actions are dictated by the playing of the latest chart music signifying the end of one activity period and the start of a new one, and the sound of the cow bell calling everyone for meals (a personal favourite sound of mine that promises an end to having to listen to my stomach rumbling). The weeks however are going so fast. Before I knew it I was saying goodbye to my first 7 girls and heading off on our day off.
We spent our precious 24 hours off in the town of Vodice. The day was spent sunbathing on a stone jetty working on my tan, in between getting thrown in the sea. Whilst tired and aware of my desperate need for sleep, my evening was inevitably filled with a few cheeky drinks and dancing until the early hours. Putting on a happy, welcoming face to the new campers and their parents when they arrived on Sunday was a rather difficult challenge for my exhausted self. Needless to say going to bed at 3am seemed like such a good idea at the time!
I welcomed a new group of girls to my cabin with my co, Lucie, and after battling with a some homesickness we have become the happy little family of San Francisco cabin. I actually genuinely really like our 7 girls. They look out for each other, get on well and are generally really lovely and I am SO grateful for this. (I am fully aware I have to make the most of these girls as not all my groups will necessarily be as good!). Not only are they nice to each other but they are lovely to me too. One of them even made me a “Z” out of wood in woodworking and the other made me a picture in our arts and crafts lesson. You may laugh at this but to me this means a lot- My 12 year olds respect and like me and I am more than happy with this!
I have also come to realise this week how lucky I am to have parents that brought me up playing sport. Admittedly this may partly be because I have a PE teacher for a Mum. Prior to this she was also a lifeguard, and from the moment I could walk she was taking me to the swimming pool to join in all the swimming lessons she would teach during the day at work. I feel like having some kind of ability to run, hop, skip or jump some sort of distance and a bit of coordination to throw and catch is a life skill. Teaching tennis to a boy this week who has none of the above was one of the most challenging and frustrating things I have come across at camp thus far. Trying to explain the concept of swinging the tennis racket “low to high” and hitting the ball, fully aware that I was lucky if this poor Russian boy was understanding every other word of what I was saying, was a wonderful exercise for me to develop my patience. Needless to say I was more than happy when one ball finally flew over the net, despite it hitting the back fence and not landing anywhere on the court! Apart from this all my activities have gone really well. I teach tennis, arts and crafts, archery and kayaking and I find myself having a lot of fun in all of them with fantastic groups of kids. A personal favourite this week has been kayaking with the older kids. Not only do I not have a tiny kid in the front that gets tired after 30 seconds and leaves me to paddle for the both of us for half an hour, but all these 13-14 year olds want to do is tip each other off, splash about and flirt with each other, and if that is what they want to do, I am more than happy with that!