The last couple days have been a total blur... I just got back from Debate Camp in Muskoka (it sounds nerdy but it wasn’t all that bad), a one week stay-over experience. Well, here I go:
About one week ago, Kevin and I both took a three hour-or-so drive up north to Rosseau Lake, Muskoka. I didn’t get a wink of sleep on the way up but that’s ok... I got to see a lot of those Inuit statue things by the highway whereas Kevin didn’t see anything except the inside of his eyelids. Anyways, I arrived at Debate Camp (which was actually being held on the campus of Rosseau Lake College, a private boarding school) and was led to my dorm (I say dorm because that’s what the RLC students live in). Kevin and I were both in Clarkson House. There were actually three dorms, these being Clarkson, Brock, and Bricks. Brock held all of the older guys, mostly grade ten and up and Bricks held the older s, again mostly grade ten and up. Clarkson was the only - dorm (teehee) which held guys and s from grade seven to nine. The s were situated on the main floor and the guys were placed in the basement. I got a corner room in the basement, the farthest from the stairs, but that’s ok because that also meant we got one of the largest room in the whole dorm. I picked a bed close to the window and unpacked all of my crap, stuffing my suitcases under my bed. It’s kind of ironic because our room consisted of four beds and three occupants (Kevin, myself and this Korean dude name Duke, heh) and the room beside us consisted of three beds and four occupants ¬_¬. Because of this, they ended up stealing one of our mattresses and taking it to their room. Also in our dorm, there were the two camp directors, Teddy in the basement and Tracey on the main floor, as well as Sasha, the grade twelve lifeguard hired by Nick Shemannis. After all of us unpacked, we headed back to the dining hall for icebreakers and announcements. The dining hall was the main building where we would have all our meals and get announcements and directions for the day. After that the early arrivers took a swim test which was ridiculously easy (all we had to do was swim a distance roughly equivalent to one quarter the length of a swimming pool). The water was surprisingly warm (by lake standards) and I yearned to swim some more, but unfortunately I’d have to wait until the next day. Again, we headed back to our dorms for some free time where a whole bunch of us sat down in the Clarkson common room to watch some good ol’ cable TV. Yeah, there was a decent sized TV with DVD player and surround sound system, although we weren’t actually allowed to watch TV. Later, we got a big surprise when we saw Khalid! We found out that he too had been conned into coming here by his parents. He was in the room next to us, along with Bobby, Colin, and Ali. We also got to know a lot of the other people in our dorm, such as Aiden, Brandon, Sammy, Emma, Alex, Kelly, Sarah, and Duke’s overly annoying sister, Daisy. After free time, we were called back to the dining hall for our first meal. I generally have a low opinion of camp food but the food here was pretty good. We had a Swiss-Chalet-esque chicken dinner for the first night which brightened my evening. Also, they had a cold bar with fruits of all kinds, bread, bagels, lunch meats, cold cuts and soup, for every meal. That’s not even the best part. They had – get this – UNLIMITED FRENCH VANILLA!!! W00T! Yeah, it was pretty sick. They had a French vanilla/English Toffee/Hot Chocolate machine where you could get unlimited drinks anytime you wanted. It was awesome. Unbeknownst to us, where we sat for that first meal would determine our groups for pretty much the rest of the week. Nicola was the counselor that sat at our table. She was pretty cool and so she ended up being our group leader for the week. Throughout the rest of the week I would meet the rest of the counselors; James, Jason, Adrienne, Emma, Alexa and Jo. Immediately after dinner we were given a quick tour of the campus (although I had already toured the place myself), which included three dormitories, a central library/lab complex, computer hut, staff quarters and the waterfront (and a beach volleyball court, except that the ball was badly waterlogged and the sand was as hard as rock). After this all fifty-eight of us campers met on the black tarmac in the center of the campus to make banners for our group. It was here that I realized that it wasn’t only UTS students who learned Latin, but almost all other private school students at some time in their school career.
Our table group, including Nicola decided to make our group the “emo group” *cough*, aptly named “Sadmasemo” (after S&M + emo). So it was that we made our banner into a big shield with a bloody hand, scissors and a picture of a long haired emo dude. Spattered across our banner was an abundance of red paint *cough* and if you looked closely enough you would see subliminal messages like “why am I not dead” and *cough* “the pain is good”. Later we had to present our banner to the rest of the camp and we came up with an emo chant that had the words “pain”, “die” and “scissors” (I think). Some of the other groups came up with names such as Burnbury, Pengu, Eggos, Fort Flemingtonshire, Salt n’ Peppa, and Shamrock House. We were also introduced to the table groups point system, a contest that would span the time of the whole week. The groups were given points based on certain criteria and special events during the week and the banners and presentations would represent our first points. Not surprisingly, we got the least amount of points out of all the groups *ahem* but that’s ok because we came back later in the week. Moving on *cough*, we were returned to our dorms for our first and only night of good sleep (our curfew being at eleven PM, the first night was the only night that we slept when we were supposed to). The days following would follow a loosely set routine which I will now proceed to outline:
8:00 AM : Morning rounds are made by counselors to wake us up, in our case Teddy
8:30 AM : Breakfast
9:30 AM : Announcements, then released to clean up our rooms
We figured out that there was a thing called “inspection” everyday during our first workshop... It’s funny, bribes were encouraged and it was nearly impossible to get a perfect score out of sixty without a bribe. Our bribes included fruits, Chinese cracker munchies, Ritz bits, and money.
9:45 AM : Morning workshop
The workshops would include stuff like debating skills and public speaking. I learned some new stuff like Parliamentary Style, British Parliamentary Style, Cross Examination, and Point-Counterpoint, as well as Persuasive speaking, After Dinner speaking, and Dramatic Monologues.
11:00 AM : Waterfront / Free Time
During free time, we were allowed to do anything we want... you could swim, chill in the common rooms, or maybe play a game of soccer up on the field... This was generally the best part of my day.
12:00 PM : Lunch
1:00 PM : After-lunch activities
These would include things such as Debate Feud, Bend your Head (where groups could earn points) and sometimes show debates.
1:30 PM :Afternoon workshop
3:30 PM : Waterfront / Free Time
6:00 PM: Dinner
7:00 PM : Individual Events
We were given the choice of Persuasive Speech, Drama or After-Dinner speaking.
9:00 PM : Campfire / Evening Activities
We would have a fire by the rocks, by the lake in the evening. This was actually pretty crappy because there were like, fifty people there, no marshmallows and too many mosquitoes. Every night there would be an impromptu speaking contest called “Debate Idol” and some singing.
10:30 PM : Free Time
11:00 PM : Lights out
So there you go. That was how my week went. Of course, it was a lot more interesting than just that. There was a game of "Assassins"... I had to kill Sammy, the uber-gamer but I got seduced by Erin before I got a chance to kill him. I gotta admit, I was kind of disappointed when she led me outside and whispered "you're dead"... I was almost totally convinced she was already dead and was half expecting something else ;). I met so many cool people from different places like Emma from Halifax, Colin from Vancouver and somewhat nearer, Tamar from Thorn Hill. I thought there might be some sort of chemistry between Emma and I, but no. There were a lot of stupid people I met as well, such as this really, really fat guy named Kevin Weiner who just could not shut up (he wound up winning the “Most Likely To Be Heard From The Moon” Award) and also had the biggest of anyone at Debate Camp, and I’m hardly exaggerating. I also met this incredible named Sarah. She was like, the weirdest person I’ve ever met, but not necessarily in a bad way. She’s fifteen, a gamer, bisexual and dating a in university. Yeah it was pretty weird. Then there was Lance this long haired azn dude who was the Sadmasemo mascot, and Ramy, this wicked guy from Lebanon with crazy messed up hair and great music on his iPod mini. Anyways, we played truth or dare on that one night where there was a really bad power outage... we didn’t have any lights except for the emergency ones and I guess that sort of added to the effect. I got to know a lot of people better. On the last night we had a banquet with candles and sparkling white tablecloths, it wasn’t so formal because Emma and Colin kept poking at the flames with their knives. Whatever, we’re still kids. Then there was a “surprise” dance except we all already knew about it so yeah, there were lots of Debate Camp couples (yeah, it’s like the lamest thing I’ve ever heard in my life). Can you believe it, Sammy played Socom: Fire Team Bravo on PSP during the whole dance, heh. The DJing was really bad... in essence just James manning ten-or-so iPods and taking song requests (I don’t think he liked me much because he never played “Ridin’” even though I reminded him twice T_T). But yeah, it was pretty fun, considering I had only known the people for like, a week. It was also weird that the s from the camp acted differently than the ones from UTS... not in a good or bad way... but I’ll refrain from going into detail anyways. Yup... I dare say it was the best part of the week. The next morning we had continental breakfast and then... it was time to say goodbye. I got down lots of email addresses and hope be chatting with them soon. The bus ride back to Pearson was two and a half hours long, but I was sleeping most of the way with Jenifer, Anastacia and Coldplay blaring the whole way. We arrived at the airport where a whole bunch of campers were ushered to their respective terminals... flying off back to where they came from. I had to admire how Colin handled his relationship with Alex (I’d hardly call it a stand... I think there was really something there), it was pretty sad. And then there was us, Duke, Daisy, Kevin, Alex, Sarah, Tim and myself left in the Sheraton hotel lobby. I was happy to finally say good riddance to Daisy... holy f*ck man, she was like killing me the whole week. Then my parents came to pick me up, and it was over. I’d go back next year, for sure, but only to see the people I’d met there. And that was the end.
Looking forward, I’ve got two barbeques coming up... I’m excited to be able to see everyone again... and I’m sort of (?) looking forward to school... and snowboarding. Time to bounce!
Yeah, I'm too damn lazy to paragraph my .