Oppidan Camps 2019 - A Mentor’s View

As the warm weather fades away with the browning leaves and rainy afternoons, summer nostalgia really sets in. I'm reminded of long, warm evenings, campfires under the stars and still, dewy mornings. This was my first year working on Oppidan camps and will definitely not be my last. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to spend time in the walled garden, so to accommodate that here are 4 things you always wanted to know about Oppidan camp: 

1. How does everyone become friends? 

I have three words: Slip n Slide. During this thrilling ride of soapy suds all bets are off. This is the moment when boys become men, girls become women, all become champions as they shoot for the stars (or more specifically the end of the tarpaulin), and most importantly, all become friends. 

2. Do the children of different ages integrate? 

Camp is about laughing, letting go and adventures, but nestled between the fun and games are some truly tender moments. After a particularly messy Marines workshop where the campers had slathered camouflage paint anywhere they could, they began the arduous task of scrubbing it all off. I walked towards the sinks, saw the younger children sitting on the ledge whilst the older campers helped them remove the paint and smiled. 

3. Can you see the campers’ progression in just one week? 

On the last night of camp, we host the much anticipated Oppidan’s Got Talent. This summer I witnessed the most wonderful range of talents and shows put on by the campers. Choreographed glow-stick shows, original murder mystery theatre, stand up, raps and angelic singing are just a few of the talents of the Oppidan campers. Not all campers arrive for the week with the confidence for the talent show, but all of them leave with it. 

4. What is the best moment? 

Amidst all the hullaballoo of Dragon’s Den and drone-flying workshops, the shining star of the week is always the surroundings of the walled garden. One night on the final camp of the summer, the sky was particularly clear, so we set up the evening fire under the stars. Sitting back on the beanbags, listening to the crackle of the fire we all leaned back and watched shooting stars.