Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm Home

and I'm wrecked!
The Cool School Race Camp is over for another year which gives me just under 12 months to recuperate. The camp went really well for the first 2 days, running as planned and no major dramas.But on the third day.... things did not go as planned!
Somehow I managed to put all the clues for the final day in the wrong envelopes!
Thus, the teams didn't know where to go or what to do when they got there, until they got there and opened the next envelope which told them how to get to where they had already gotten to!!!!! The whole sequence was one position out of place and for the first couple of hours it was chaotic with my phone running hot as teachers tried to work out what they should be doing. Thankfully I had included a flow chart of the whole race on day three in the staff handbooks and although it didn't have all the details they needed it did prove to be the salvation of the race as at least they knew where each checkpoint was and were thus able to tell the kids where to go to next. After dealing with the logistical challenges of transporting the following:
36 students and staff from camp site 2 at Cyril Jackson high school back to Duncraig for an assembly at 9.00
All of the gear for the 112 city students back to Carine
2 4WD's and a trailer from Carine to the finish line, in Kings Park
1 objectionable bus from elsewhere in Carine to the finish line
All of the country kids gear from camp site 2 to the finish line via Carine
40 gym mats from CS2 back to Govo high school
A van and trailer full of gear to Carine and later to Kings Park
A set of keys back to the City of Bassendean
all with the services of just three drivers

I was finally able to start dealing with the mess the clues were in!

Once I'd picked Carolyn up from the bus station and delivered her to the Good Earth Hotel where we set up the puzzle task she was to run, I set off to Fairlanes bowling alley and the zoo to switch their clues then headed for Jacob's Ladder to set up the clue box with the final clue and directions to the finish line.

Round about this time I felded an angry phone call from a lady at Fremantle claiming no knowledge of the event and complaining about the large number of school kids interfering in her day! She did not believe my assertion that I had been there and done the right thing and negotiated the process and subsequently out-lawed any further kids from entering the centre!! (This is a first in the history of the camp!)

Then it was on to Kings Park to help cook 250 sausages on 4 BBQ's ready for the hungry hordes when they arrived.
Sadly, their arrival was not quite on cue.

The length of the race, the hold-ups at the start of the day and the unhelpful union action that saw trains run less frequently than normal all resulted in the kids not being able to get to the finish line by the deadline of 3.30.

I asked the bus drivers who were there to pick up the kids and take them home at the end of the camp to help collect them from the top of the park and they looked at me as if I'd asked them to fly me to Mars! It took a few minutes of asking and encouraging before they relented and consented to my request. At some point they must have remembered that I was the customer and they were there to provide a service! We finally managed to get 24 of the 25 groups assembled at the finish line just as the clock hit 4.30, the scheduled departure time!
I salvaged just enough time to thank everyone for coming and acknowledge the staff and all the people who'd helped make the camp work. I apologised for the mess with the clues on the last day.
I was about to say how glad and proud I was that my daughter Sophie was on the camp and that my waife had been involved for the first time when my emotions got the better of me and I started to cry.
Thankfully Josh stepped in to support me and the kids ended up giving me a standing ovation! Considering how badly awry things seemed to have gone on the final day that was a very affirming experience and helped me regain some confidence in the overall success of the camp.

We loaded up the kids and their gear onto 6 buses, said goodbye and waved them off towards home.

But what about the 25th group you ask?

What indeed!

Unfortunately the group had a bit of a melt-down late in the day after getting stuck at the zoo for over an hour waiting for a bus and by the time they got to Kings Park one of the kids flipped out a little and ran off from the group! Thankfully Carolyn and I found her as we drove through the park and reunited her with her team and staff member and saw them safely on their way home! An unexpected and eventful post script to the camp!

Carolyn and I then headed for our hotel, showered and changed, had dinner then set off for Subiaco to meet Sally and Warren. The four of us then went to see Dame Edna Everage in "Barry Humphries Back with a Vengeance" at the Regal Theatre, a very funny night's entertainment.

Finally it was home to the hotel and into bed.

As I said at the beginning, I've felt wrecked all day. We did have a lovely breakfast and a couple of hours shopping at Harbourtown before heading south.
We retrieved Jordan from Capel and Sport Boy from Dumbarton and made it home sfaely at about 5.00.

Tonight I went over to Dave's to watch the soccer on Foxtel but sadly Tottenham lost 3-0 to Arsenal!!!!!


Margaret said...

Hi Marcus, there always has to be one"wet blanket" dosn't there!!
I can quite believe that you would be wrecked after that day, so busy. I'm betting that "Barry Humphriees Vengeance would have been a barrel of laughs. I did see a snippet on the telly.
Cheers Margaret

Peter said...

What's that about all good things come to he who waits? guess you'll have to keep waiting.

The Heir said...

sounds like a crazy last day!! the camp is awesome every year ive seen it so i have little worry that the last day would have spoiled the experience for the kids, might teach them some useful skills about dealing with ambiguity.
will have to try and be in the country for the next one!!

2Peter said...

Sounds pretty full on Marcus!

I just read the comments left by kids on the other blog. That kind of reaction must definitely make it all worthwhile!