Two weekends ago I went on a social camp to Malmsbury with a whole lot of other people on the spectrum. I’ve been on a camp like this last year but I have to admit it’s improved a lot from the food and the balance between speeches and activities. There were still a few dramas like last year but everyone seemed to cope a lot better this time than last year.
It started as a massive rush for me since I had TAFE before and didn’t bother packing my bag the night beforehand. When I arrived from a 1 hour and a half driving trip, it was interesting to see a closed gate and I had no idea how to get it open until a convoy of cars came and got it opened for me. I seriously had no idea where they were all going. So I got out of their way and drove further down looking for someone that I already knew. And there was cheerful Penny from the I CAN Network waiting to greet me on. From there I knew I was at the right place. The only thing that sucked was that she had to take my mobile off me, but in the end it was probably for the better as technology seems to take over people’s real social lives these days. So I handed the phone over and dropped my bags on the floor inside. Later I found out that the convoy was to get all the other participants of the camp as their bus never showed up at Keyneton station to bring them to the camp. When they arrived we had supper and started playing a games. However I was so tired from the driving trip and TAFE, I didn’t really have the motivation to participate in them.
The next day we listened to some I CAN speeches in the morning and reflected on what they meant to us. Then we separated into groups to undertake activities that were suited to us to explain what I CAN means to us. I decided to join the drawing group as I like drawing and started drawing a portrait of Kim but never ended up completing it as I ran out of time. After lunch we conquered our fears in rock climbing with the majority of people reaching the top except me. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere to put my hands after halfway up the wall. I kept trying but every time I did, I kept slipping and falling with a harness attached to me. Straight after my rock climbing experience we were treated to a slice of carrot cake and a double chocolate & caramel magnum. That gave me heaps of energy to be able to shoot arrows right at the target in archery. That’s when I learnt that it’s not good to let go of a bow when there’s no arrow as it apparently wreaks the bow.
The night came fast and it was the AWEball. We we’re all required to wear a costume so I came in my Yoshi onesie that I wore to a work Christmas party last year. However it got so hot and sweaty from all the dance moves that I pulled off that it had to come off for the rest of the night. We continued to party on and Will was DJing. This was when I thought it was the best time to start writing warm & fuzzies to people I met on the camp. Suddenly we heard Lady GaGa on the play list and knew it was one of Penny’s favourite artists so we decided to boom the sound up and then Damien appeared to tell us to turn it down. In the end it was an AWEsome night and I wouldn’t mind having another one of them.
Sadly it was Sunday already and a lot of people wanted to stay for longer. We started the day off by completing a number of obstacles. Out of all of them, my favourite was the spider web. Basically in the spider web you had to get all of your team mates (mine being yellow) through gaps in a spider’s web without touching it. As you went through the opening, it would close behind you leaving your team mates having to go through another gap in the web. After AWEsome team work, all of us managed to get through the web in time!
As last time we started writing letters to ourselves to read over in 6 months time to reflect on how much we’ve changed and by the time we finished that it was sausage sizzle time under the pergola. Being me I ended up eating 3 sausages as I love eating. After that we sat down in our colour groups reflecting on the camp and gathered in a massive circle to share a piece of string among us to remember each other and the I CAN attitude.
In the end I want to say the camp was AWEsome and wouldn’t mind going on the next one. A huge shout out to Chris, Gabbi and the I CAN team for organising it. It was great getting to meet new people and I hope to stay great friends with these people in the future.