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OSCA Annual Weekend Camp 2013

By Natasha Wong

Friday 30 August to Sunday 1 September, 2013

(Kids at Camp, click here)

The OSCA 2013 Camp, held Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September, was a great success. It was the perfect opportunity to step out of comfort zones, meet new people, pig out on Chinese food we don’t often get the luxuries of in our flats/hostels, and just have an all-round good time.

The adventure started on a sunny Friday afternoon when our designated drivers picked us up and drove us to Berwick camp. Although both Carrington cars left at a similar time, Tara’s excellent navigation skills resulted in Richie’s car arriving at Berwick a few hours after Eric’s… Thus Tara had earned herself the title of the first Bonehead; which is an award for, well, being a bonehead.

When hearing the words “camp food” one may be tempted to think of items such as hamburgers or baked beans, however with Aunty Jean being in charge of the kitchen we were served scrumptious chicken and potato curry, stir fried vegetables, and rice (which was cooked in the biggest rice cooker I’ve ever come across) followed by apple and berry crumble with custard or yoghurt for dessert. We. Ate. So. Much. After the feast there was a “Deal or no deal” game run by Brits and Kendall. Each group completed challenges in exchange for fake money. The challenges ranged from blindfolded human pyramids to eating a French stick with no hands and swallowing raw egg. At the end of the game, teams used their fake money to bid for prizes. Waterproof ponchos and shower caps seemed like a booby prize at the time, however little did we know that in 24 hours those items would become treasured and sought-after. The game was followed by a dodgeball competition in the gym where Lydia’s one throw lead her team to victory.

By the time “Deal or no deal” and the dodgeball competition were over, the outside temperature had dropped significantly and a layer of frost covered the grass. But that didn’t stop us heading outdoors to play capture the flag where Ritchie twisted his ankle (before the game had even begun), Eddie ran into a table (he was the second to receive the bonehead award), and Colin wrestled Cam all the way into the ditch. It’s all fun and games, even after people got hurt (not badly though!). And the night didn’t stop there. Back in the warmth of the main kitchen/lounge area, delicious char siu and custard baos were on the menu for supper, along with Samantha’s chocolate cake, brownies, and a range of biscuits. We chomped away while watching a movie from Dan’s extensive collection of DVD movies before some of us headed off to bed.

Saturday morning consisted of a group kayaking challenge, the flying fox, and a well-deserved sauna. Nicolle and Tim ran the kayaking challenge where 4 teams raced to collect puzzle pieces from around the lake and complete a tangram. It was a hair-raising challenge with a competitive start, groups kayaking in opposite directions, kayaks colliding and plenty of tactical splashing. Although my group was one of the first to collect all puzzle pieces and make it out of the water, our rusty problem-solving brains resulted in us coming in last place and getting last pick for end of camp cleaning chores.

While walking from the lake to our next activity at the flying fox, we passed Aunty Jean on the confidence course where she set a challenge to be the first girl and boy to complete a section of the course, giving the surprised winners $10 each!! (not that there were any shops nearby, maybe it will go towards their student loans). The flying fox, while not as big as expected, still gave us the “lose your stomach” feeling. The path leading up to the platform was muddy and girls needed a bit of a hand to drag the flying fox back up. Michael looked like a gentleman as he jumped the gun and walked down to help me pull it back up to the platform (or so we all thought), only to earn himself the bonehead award when he walked straight past me and back to his room, leaving me to try haul it up myself. Thanks Michael.

 Sauna time was next on the agenda, and boy did it feel good! Some of the guys even tried to do a workout in the sauna room while the majority of us rested up, preparing our bodies for the upcoming lip sync challenge.

Lunch was a barbeque with beef patties, sausages, bread, coleslaw and potato salad. After lunch was quiz time run by Uncle Colin. He tested our general knowledge by giving us some tough questions on a wide range of topics including Asian knowledge and heroes and villains. Saturday afternoon also consisted of lip sync rehearsals, card games, and intense rounds of mafia before it was time for more food. The younger OSCA kids and other OSCA members travelled out to Berwick camp to join us for dinner where there were many delicacies such as roast chicken and pork, roast vegetables, salad; along with hazelnut torte, pavlova, ice cream and jelly for dessert.
 Despite being too full to move, we all put on our smiling faces and battled in the lip sync competition. The category for this year’s competition was decades. Each of the 3 groups were given either the 80’s 90’s or 2000’s and had been practicing for the past few days in preparation for the competition. All 3 groups did an outstanding job performing to judges and camp participants as well as to younger OSCA kids and their families. Although it was a close battle, Regan ripping his shirt off contributed to the 80’s group taking out the competition. Brittany, Tara, Hoyoun, Regan, Mikey and Michael won the OSCA performance trophy and each walked away with $10 Wok Fusion vouchers.

The next event for the night was a blindfolded outdoor activity run by members of the OSCA Youth Committee – Colin, Regan, Boris, Eddie, Mikey .  The aim was to work in 4 teams to complete challenges in order to receive clues and determine who the 2 OSCA villains were. The challenges were an egg and spoon navigation, food tasting, a piggyback water transfer, and paper ball catching; all completed while blindfolded and having water bombs, eggs, tomato sauce and other strange concoctions thrown at us (hence the waterproof ponchos and shower caps becoming valuable assets). Clues such as “single and ready to mingle” and “taking chances can be risky; especially when there is money involved” lead to  2 of the teams correctly identifying the OSCA villains as being Dan and Ritchie. A few hours of being wet and outside in the cold caused for a race to the hot showers to defrost our feet and hands before huddling near the fire with food and hot chocolates.

Although breakfast was scheduled to be between 9 and 9.30am on Sunday, the kitchen was still silent at 9.35. Aunty Lee and Aunty Jean soon solved this problem by inventing an alarm clock with banging pots and pans to wake the sleepyheads up.

Aunty Jean’s Sunday challenge was a race to the top of the hill to be the first to collect the flag; however Colin cheated by retrieving the flag before the competition had even started. His punishment: completing the nutcracker section of the confidence course 3 times. And it wouldn’t be a true punishment without some kind of twist; we saw this as the perfect opportunity to get rid of the leftover water bombs, with Cam firing them at full throttle. After watching Colin test it out for us, we all gave the confidence course a go. The obstacles ranged in difficulty and some proved to be quite challenging, however everyone was supportive of one another which enabled us all to successfully complete the majority of the course. Even Aunty Lee gave part of the course a go; it was great to see everyone getting involved!

Lunch, delicious as always, was chicken jook and beef chow mein. It was a quick refuel before packing up our cabins, picking up egg shells, doing our group chores and then heading home to do 5 loads of washing each and catching up on sleep.

Overall, the weekend was thoroughly enjoyed by all. It was fantastic to strengthen connections with others in the Otago Chinese community, which to me was especially important as it is my first year living in Dunedin. A huge thanks to Aunty Frances, Uncle Colin, Aunty Lee, Uncle Linus, Aunty Jean, Uncle David and all the other helpers for organising, cooking, and putting up with us over the fun-filled weekend. Special thanks must be given to Delvin & Lisa Chin for sponsoring the Wok Fusion vouchers for the lip sinc competition and donating the chicken roasters . We also appreciate the foods donated from Lindsay Kaan from Kaans Catering.

My first OSCA camp experience was filled with many great memories to take away and I can’t wait for camp in 2014! My tip to others would be to wear 2 pairs of socks to bed, arrive with an empty stomach (good food was definitely one of the highlights) and to take every opportunity given. I hope all 2013 camp goers have now caught up on sleep and are back into the swing of things. Thanks for the memorable weekend!