Other than a British accent , my daughter had picked up quite a number of things from Big Hill Holiday camp : like a renewed love for art , a rare appreciation of nature, a daring spirit and a conviction that “mum , no matter what you say Pembroke house is the best school in the whole wide world.”
It’s been a week since we picked her up from camp and as expected , she can’t stop talking about it ; how they slept in these awesome dorm rooms , every night settling in for a movie before resting their tired little bodies , how she can’t wait for next year’s camp and how their days at the camp were filled with fun activities and projects :
The Big hill camp timetable went something like this. There was a theme for each day , and that day’s activities were based on the theme.
Day 1 : Water
Bunny and her camp mates , 7 to 14 years of age spent the day swimming , doing water slides and making creative paper mache fish using baloons , old newspaper , wheat flour “glue” and lots of water.
Day 2 : Fire
Exploring uses of fire ; creating camp fires…
Day 3 : Heart
Little miss and her camp mates learnt about a healthy diet and exercise to keep your heart strong. And painting flower pots and planting strawberry trees in them….
Day 4 : Wind
Among the activities that day , was making and flying kites and creating mini windmills…
Day 5 : Earth
Day 5 was spent spent doing creative nature printing and orienteering which Wikipedia tells me is “a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed.”
Once in a while I bore my kids with stories of how we didn’t have a TV at home until I was almost a teen. In fact , were it not for my elder sister’s outstanding perfomance in her KCSE (calling for a befitting gift – a TV) , my childhood would be devoid of memories of a power solared Daewoo TV that sat so high on top of a cupboard in our small living room, it was more comfortable watching it standing.
One of the things that thrilled me about Big Hill , was that it was an “unplugged” experience , hence no phones or play stations were allowed. This was to enable the kids to spend time doing things actually good for their heart…..and brain. If you wanted to call though , you could and your kid could also call you – if they wanted.
Needless to say , the camp kids were not allowed TV as well. However at night before bedtime , they would unwind with a movie – mainly golden oldies like gods must be crazy.
At 85 years , Pembroke house , the the school that runs and hosts this camp , is a school with a rich history. The school was started as an unfinished farmhouse bought from a Capt. Gibson who had intended to farm flax but had run out of money. The school culture includes age old traditions like , letter-writing , whereby kids write letters home every Tuesday morning.
A goodie bag the campers were given on their last day at camp contained a beautiful key – shaped flash disk with a 9 minute video of life at the school. It depicts a culture of responsibility and caring for each other – the Pembroke spirit , that was so embodied by the staff in charge of Big Hill camp ; the same spirit that made you feel comfortable leaving your child with them.
So it’s been a week since Big Hill. I am still getting used to the fact that after a week at camp , my daughter has a British accent. And, the ability to switch it on and off at will.