Sunday, January 11, 2009

Normal Blogging will Resume Shortly

We're home.

All went very well in Augusta, one of the best missions we've ever had, especially for me personally. No emotional crashes or major conflicts to derail my involvement.
The weather was perfect.
The team were exceptional.
The program was executed exactly as planned.
I couldn't be happier with the impact and outcome of our endeavours.

As usual there was lota of hard work, but the way we spaced out the activities and built in time for developing relationships was way better than the frenetic pace and endless activity we used to be caught up in, and it showed in the greater depth and significance of conversations with campers.

I was happy and satisfied with the things I had personal responsibility for:

The daily newspapers took a lot of time to produce, sometimes well into the early hours of the morning and on one occasion not finished until 4.30, but were well received and appreciated. Achieving the right balance of news headlines, sports updates, puzzles, comics, humour and jokes, pictures, editorial comment and low-key Christian input in order to make an attractive publication is the goal. Wrestling with the vagaries of mobile desktop publishing and unco-operative printers made life trying but by the end all was working well and I even had the last edition finished before midnight!

I lead the drama team for the first time and despite a patchy beginning was happy with how it went. For several years we've had highly rehearsed original dramas with very high production values but it was my suggestion to try and simplify things this year, therefore we adapted Max Lucado's Wemmick stories featuring Eli the wood carver, Punchinello and Lucia into dramas with a narrated style and getting kids involved as characters and extras. As the instigator and in the absence of any other volunteers, I became the Narrator/Eli character which meant having to be ready for the riverside program on the four mornings it ran during the week and rehearsing and organizing the kids. They did a great job, especially Jerome as Punchinello who was very diligent in his committment. I made life difficult for him on the first day by trying to improvise some of my lines, unfortunately I failed to deliver the cues he was waiting for and thus left him stranded a couple of times. After that I stuck to the script and the dramas ran pretty smoothly. There wasn't as much humour as I'd have liked but the few jokes I did write or ad-lib all drew a laugh, especially from the parents watching from the coffee shop.

I ran the quiz night which is always popular and it went well, except for the customary tecnical problems. I had the questions all displayed in a powerpoint presentation but when I attempted to do some editing of questions on the run the projector and the computer didn't want to talk to each other. We got there but it was a little frustrating and of course there were the small number of questions with controversial or multiple answers to stir up the competitive souls in the crowd. The initial non-appearance of the vanilla slice booby prize and subsequent mystery disappearance of the substituted cheese cake put back in the cool room by the over-efficient kitchen team were all just minor impediments to a good night.

As Co-Director of the Festival and up-front leader I have a big role in setting and maintaining the lines of communication within the team and creating the temporary community/family atmosphere that is so essential to the over-all success of the whole event. I was very happy with how this all went, especially the lunch time sessions where as well as the normal business and house-keeping issues to deal with time is given to acknowledging and affirming individual's contributions as well as bloopers and blunders in a "Brickbats & Bouquets" session known as "Lolly Time". People report the good the bad and the funny incidents of the day to me and I then recount the stories to the team, accompanied by a lolly as a "reward". This is often funny, sometimes touching and emotional and on occasion inspirational.
The other element of Co-Directing is dealing with the multitude of day to day decisions regarding what we're doing, when and how, as well as dealing with rare but important issues of concern or discipline within the team. We have an executive leadership group who share responsibility for policy and decision-making before and during the festival and we met a couple of times to keep track of how everything was going.

I'll leave the rest of the update on Augusta until tomorrow, and add some pictures.
A lot of the initial unpacking has been done but presently the PA gear that lives in my office at work is crowding out the study and needs to be reloacted and a few other tasks need to be done to re-establish some order.

I had only been home for an hour and a half when I had to go to work driving a taxi last night, Gavin had called a couple of days before saying they were desperately short and could I drive on Saturday night. I needn't have bothered, it was the deadest night I've ever had in the cab and bearly worth the effort for the 8 hours of my time it took up.

Sport Boy has gone to Perth with Graeme and some kids to watch Perth Glory play tonight.
The Hair has returned to Corrigin to work on the wheat bin.
Favourite Daughter is in Perth and will shortly be followed by The Heir, they have found a house to share together and will both be looking for work.
The English crew have all departed for home, leaving behind cards and gifts of thanks and many mutually shared wonderful memories of their time in Australia.
The only down point of the Festival was the urgent departure of Mum and Walter half way through. They had to go to Perth to look after Walter's daughter Wendy's family because she is seriously ill in hospital, first having had her gall bladder removed and then learning that part of her pancreas had died and may require further surgery.
Mrs Holt Press is unpacking and creating some order and cleanliness in the house after various Holt Press offspring have left a trail of mess and disorder in their wake in transit.
Tonight, if we're awake, we are going to see "Australia" at the cinema.

1 comment:

Jamie Dawn said...

I have Sport Boy's cross necklace ready to mail.
I sent your dad an email, and I hope he forwarded it to you. I chose the closest match to the copper color you requested from the crosses I had with me. I think he will like it. I do not want any payment for it; it is a gift. I plan to mail it this week as soon as I can get use of a car. I'm at my brother's house for a visit and both cars seem to always be taken during the daytime hours when I want to get to the post office. Oh well, you will receive the necklace before too long.
Happy New Year to you and your family!!!!!