This year our theme was The Hobbit, “An Unexpected Journey”. I can definitely confirm that it was indeed “an unexpected journey”. On Thursday evening just under 50 campers, 20 odd leaders, seven directors and their families, two cooks and our speaker and his lovely wife all made the journey, some from the other side of Auckland and some from just 20 minutes away all arrived full of excitement and high expectations for the weekend to come. We did last minute checks that we had everything, kissed our mummies and daddies goodbye, set up our cabins and gathered in the hall to met our new community for the weekend. After plenty of ice breaker/ get to know each other games and with hot chocolate in our tummies we trotted off to bed to dream of the exciting adventures that lie before us.
The next morning the campsite was buzzing by 6:30 … AM … a bit early for my liking. After we filled ourselves with a hearty cooked breakfast we were ready for our first full day of Hunua Easter Camp 2014. The morning started off with a chapel session run by our speaker Tom Mepham and our Music director Daniel Smart. After chapel each of the teams broke into boy-girl groups and had morning tea together while discussing all the things that they had thought about during the chapel session. We then had our first camp activity. A photo challenge. All five teams ran around using their creative talents to tick off each photo on the list. We had one team cramming their entire group into a Mitsubishi Colt and another doing upside down, duck faced selfies. When all the groups had finished we returned for a well earned lunch and then off for Elf Olympics. Each of the groups went through a rotation of silly hobbit themed games until we had a winner. Then after free time we had our first themed dinner for 2014. Pyjama party. I have never seen so many onesies in one room at once before. There were appearances from a zebra, a giraffe, dinosaurs, a frog, a panda, a minion, a unicorn, iron man, pikachu, darth vader and more slippers and dressing gowns than you can imagine. We then finished the evening with another chapel session and a good old game of “Find the Ring”. Followed quickly by bedtime stories with our camp parents and bedtime.
Saturday morning came round the corner and it was back to the early morning buzz. We again started the day with breakfast and chapel and soon enough were ready for our day filled of an Unexpected amazing race, Battle for Mordor and inside games due to unexpected weather. Soon enough it was that time again. Time for themed dinner. Tonights theme, rather appropriately was The Hobbit. Yup, that means its time for pointy dwarf ears, fake beards, capes, more dressing gowns and for the final touch a long wise stick. And most importantly a feast of roast rump, potatoes, veges and cheesecake. Happily full we then had a short camp concert with some talented campers and *cough* interesting leaders performances before we started our Quiz night. With each group been given a buzz controller and our special guest host all set to go we started the Quiz night to end all quiz nights. Half the time the groups didn’t even want to hear the question before they had their turn at answering it. With our new found knowledge we settled down for more bedtime stories and Hot chocolate before scrambling off to bed.
EASTER SUNDAY!!! Today was the day we had all been waiting for, the noise of joyful songs coming from the chapel, the taste of well earned chocolate in our mouths from our Easter egg hunt and the sight of happy faces bounding around the campsite. Nothing could damper the mood, not even the ever changing weather that messed around our timetable. After many inside games such as the biggest ever game of ladders it was time to get ready for our final themed dinner. This was a tricky one. Alice in Wonderland, but just like every night our beautifully decorated hall filled up with keen campers and leaders dressed for a party. There were playing cards, bunnies, little girls in frilly dresses, over sized hats and one rather over sized sumo wrestler by the name of Tweddle Dee (or dumb depending on how nice your feeling). Having filled up on food fit for a party we all dribbled into our evening chapel service. The chapel team had set up the chapel with pretty lights and given it a special feeling. We started with songs from the band and then Tom got started on his message for the night. During this session a majority of both campers and leaders put their hands up for wanting to commit or re-commit themselves to God or wanting to make a change in their lives. As part of the team that provided Pastor Care to those who felt they needed it, I am always amazed at how God had been touching many of the young people during the session and throughout the camp. Having sung our lungs out and cried our tears we soon all joined together to watch a movie and have our nightly routine before heading to bed.
Not so surprisingly Monday morning we started a little bit later. With spirits still high it soon became obvious that the end was nearing of this particular journey. We cleaned the toilets, swept the hall, and packed up our cabin in time for our final meal together. Over this meal we had a prize giving in which the leaders got to give a certificate to each of the campers expressing some of the awesome things that they noticed in them. We thanked our fabulous cooks, dedicated leaders and amazing speaker before heading out for a final whole camp photo. Having taken many photos, exchanged numbers with our new friends and collected “some” of our lost property it was time to say goodbye.
This year we had people that have been going to Hunua each Easter since they can remember and people to which 2014 was there first time. And like every year Easter camp was a blast fill of laughter and tears, memories we will never forget and friendships new and old and another chance to connect with our amazing God. Until the next chapter…