Thursday, 26 June 2008

The First Week

So again, I must apologise for not updating recently. This last week's been pretty hectic. The children arrived on Sunday, and eat up a phenomenal amount of time. The children in my bunk (aged 11-12) are all pretty cool. Sometimes a little troublesome, one who exhibits all the symptoms of ADD (but is one of my favourites), but they're the reason I've been finding this job particularly rewarding.

In terms of teaching, I've been put to teaching juggling (that's all manipulation stuff), junior single trapeze, which is great, and human pyramid, which is utter chaos but brilliant fun. I've got high hopes for what my staff kids are going to be doing in the performance, because they're all fast learners and come up in their free time to practice, which means they'll be great. I'm hoping to get a few up to using fire.

Anyway, yesterday was my first day off, so we headed into Scranton (the local 'city'), and just kicked around for a while. Had a burger, which was amazing, saw a movie which was tolerable, and then I broke my toe, which was a little pants, to be entirely honest. It's a fairly clean break, and should heal nicely, but I've been reduced to hobbling around camp doing not too much. Still, it could be worse. Anyway, I have places to go, and people to see, so I have to sign out.

More updates soon!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Start of Camp

Firstly, I have to apologise for not updating earlier. This is the first time I've had access to the internet since I've arrived - It's been a hectic few days to say the least!

The flight was pretty uneventful. A complimentary bar, which I didn't use, an enormous range of films which I didn't watch, and an annoying person next to me who I didn't talk to. It was almost all CA staff though, which was fantastic. It was a great atmosphere to fly in. On arrival in America we got taken to our hotel, which was kind of pants. They hadn't sorted out enough rooms for us, and so about 20 boys had to wait for half an hour before we could go to bed. And when I could go to bed, there wasn't any bedding. I never expected to go to a hotel and have to use a sleeping bag.

The camp itself is absolutely enormous. The grounds are some 300 acres, and we can go off grounds whenever we want, so it's pretty much complete freedom. So far I've not spent much time off site though, there really isn't much that you can't do here. So far my new friends and I have just wandered around the grounds, but I've already been invited to stay with one after camp, something I was told would happen, but didn't expect to. My bunk is B8. Up on Elkview (overlooking an Elk-something ski resort), rather than lakeside, and the younger children. My bunk will apparantly be filled with 10-11 year olds, which should be easy enough to handle. I have four co-counsellors - Two Brits (Troy, a magician, and James, a climber) and two New Yorkers (Jake and Dave, a musician and a role player respectively).

So far we've been mostly getting the camp ready. For me, this means fixing poi, taping the bars on the static trapeze, hoops and lira, and a lot of training in 'spotting'. Spotting is simply supervising the children doing an activity, teaching them and making sure they don't injure themselves if something goes wrong. So far, I know how to spot on the mini-tramp, globe, rola-bola, human pyramid, circus bike and static trapeze, and I can assist on the flying trapeze too. An enormous learning activity, given that this has all been in the last two days! I've had to learn how to use all this equipment myself too. I'll certainly be finding somewhere back in England that has a static trapeze, I really enjoy it and I'm picking it up quickly.

Today, I got my first go on the 'rig', the flying trapeze. The first thing to say is that it's big. It's about 15m high, and climbing up the ladder is a nervewracking experience. Waiting on the board at the top is the worst bit though, because you don't have anything to do while you're being attached to the safty lines except look down, which isn't a good plan! Then you're told to bend your legs on the "ready", and jump on "hep!". It's tricky when you're flying through the air to remember to bring your legs up onto the bar, release the handle and reach out for a catch, before dropping off into the net (we're not catching yet). I had two tries at flying normally, and then one try to do a flip on the dismount. Needless to say, I messed it up, but it was good to hear that the staff have confidence in me.

We're just cleaning up the bunks tonight, ready for the campers to arrive on Saturday. It's hard work, but I think it'll be worth it. I've certainly been thoroughly enjoying my time here so far.

More updates soon!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Airport

Well I'm stuck in the departure lounge for the next three hours, so I thought I'd post a quick update. The journey here was pretty painless, to be honest. Easy train journey to Paddington, easy trip on the Heathrow Express, job done. Actually, the Heathrow Express is cool. Nice big train, and fun music that to my mind was all adventure-y, and it kicked in just as the train was starting, which was good.

On the less good side, it would transpire that I've managed (somehow) to forget my letter of employment, which means that there's a chance that I could be turned away at immigration. And I can access it online, but there's no printers in the departure lounge, or anywhere in the airport for that matter, so I can't print it off again. Also, despite being certain that I'd put it in my hand luggage, my watch seems to have been left behind as well. The one item I was told to bring at all costs. I guess I'll just have to pick up a cheap one in America (provided I get let in!).

Anyway, that's about all for now, so I guess I'll be heading out to have a look around duty free. For three hours. Joy.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Ready to go!

That's it! I'm packed, I've got my clothes for flying sorted out, train tickets have been purchased, so I'm finally ready to go! Which is pretty convenient because I'm leaving tomorrow.

It's been a long road to get to this point though. There's been trips to York, Leeds and London, a seemingly never ending series of forms to fill in, and a list of payments that if anything was even longer. I've had to buy a bag, a watch, an entire new wardrobe, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and ridiculous amounts of petrol. But my guess is that it's going to be worth it! I'll be teaching circus skills in Pennsylvania, and then visiting three cities in the North East United States, New York, Washington DC and Boston, which certainly is an American Adventure.

So all I've got to do is stick some songs on my mp3 player, get a decent night's sleep, and then I can go! Huzzah!