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OSCA Camp 2014

By Kim Low

Berwick, 22-24 August 2014

There is only one place, one time, and with one group of people each year that it’s completely acceptable and even encouraged, to eat cake and baos after midnight, be blindfolded and water gunned while saving princesses at 3am, and wear one quarter of a four-way pair of stockings on your head. Excitedly anticipated, awesome fun, and hilariously ridiculous in all the best ways, it’s the annual OSCA camp.

With near record numbers, 8 cars and 35 OSCA campers arrived at Berwick camp grounds on Friday, mid-semester break -faced and holiday mode on high ready for a weekend of awesomeness.  A crowd of new and familiar faces soon to become friends as the evening kicked off with ice breaker games. Name learning was made novelty in a test of literacy and articulation in “bumpity bump bump bump”, and the silent age line-up marked the only time on camp when lips were sealed. Trust, team spirit and friendships set the mood for the weekend as we spelt with body parts, popped balloons and fought with stockings on our heads. Friday night’s chicken curry dinner and Chinese doughnut dessert was merely a taste of the delicious menu that we were treated so frequently and abundantly with over the weekend. Stomachs and taste buds very much satisfied, we geared up for Brit and Kendall’s night activity. Racing from the lounge to the aid of a screaming captive Kendall, teams foraged through porridge, visited cabins with spooky inhabitants, followed the cackle of “do you want to play a game?” to persistently chase down Jigsaw and battle it out with paper, scissors, rock, and braved it out to the lake in the cold, muddy darkness to collect 6 pieces of a coded clue. Piecing together the clues and mind melding to solve the puzzle led us to the kitchen where we saved Brits to complete the mission. Awaiting us alongside her was hot milo and char siu and custard baos to warm up and revive us spooked but triumphant campers. The night wound down with “Captain America”, unexpectedly violent card games and napkin origami.

Four hours of sleep later, we were awoken by the bangs and clangs of Aunties with pots and pans at cabin doors, rising and shining ready to take on Saturday. The morning had a kayaking competition lined up for us down at the lake. Stakes was high as placing determined the order of selection of camp clean up duties. New teams raced kayaks around the lake while other team members scoured the lake side forestry to collect 10 question clues. Life jackets off and brains on, teams put their heads together to answer the questions and decode the mystery clue. Successful code cracking led to chuckle-worthy singing and choreography to Rick Astley’s “Never gonna give you up”.

It was great to see the Miniball group and their families  visiting  the camp and playing several games with the university students.   We all had a delicious lunch with creamy pumpkin soup, beef patties and sausage sizzles and coleslaw.  After lunch, an OSCA Kitchen rules competition was held and Auntie Lee , Auntie Frances and Auntie Jean decided on the winning team who made the best Chinese Dumplings!  The final practices and dress rehearsals then began for the eagerly awaited lip sync competition. Dinner was a semi-costumed affair as groups fuelled-up on roast pork, chicken and roast veges topped off with cake and ice cream in preparation of fast nearing performance. Competition host Garrett introduced the three judges Konrad, Lisa and Sov Te before the competition fired up. The bar was high and entertainment was impressive as we were taken back to the old school days of disco and retro, entertained by gender-confused pop icons, taken on a witty journey of romance, reminisced childhood in the world of Disney and animation, and saw big screen movies turn stage performance. Always a highlight and tough competition, the judges had a critical and very difficult task to decide the victors, but scores added and all considered Movies came out the champions and were presented with generous trophies of Sichuan vouchers. Songs, dance moves and laughs continuing, old shoes and ponchos were on as we prepared for Colin, Eddie, Regan and Lisa’s night activity. Blindfolded and hands linked, all team trust was in our new un-blindfolded team leaders who gallantly led us through a treacherous fairy tale journey. Once upon a time began with the three bears’ flying porridge as we blindly tried to catapult porridge into a pot using a ladle by the guide of our team leader. Each page of the story presented a new task and revealed a new clue to bring us a step closer to rescuing our princess. Teams braved Snow White’s poison apple bobbing challenge and taste-testing of her questionable baking, mud and human-pyramid building to collect Hansel and Gretel’s trail of m&ms, piggy-backing Sleeping Beauty, filling Jack and Jill’s rather shot-out pail with water, and solving Robin Hood’s geometry puzzles to save our beautiful, distressed princesses from the middle of the lake, top of the flying fox and other dungeons of the campground kingdom. Blindfolds off, our eyes meet the darkness of the early hours of Sunday morning whe  re one last mystery remained to be solved. Fingers pointing and more porridge flying, teams had to guess which member was purposefully trying to create obstacles and slow the team down- the team troll. Proving a challenging task, most team trolls were guessed correctly and punished with the leftovers from the three bears’ breakfast, with only Cam managing to successfully fool his team, turning porridge punishment onto them. Warm and showered, roast pork, sausages and more baking and hot milo were gratefully greeted as the violent card games resumed.

Even less hours of sleep later, muscles struggled but enthusiasm remained as our last wind of energy tackled the confidence course. New teams and new spouts of encouragement, we spent the morning out in the sun log balancing, net rolling, tire climbing, rope walking, and envying our past enjoyed primary school monkey-bars skills. With our newly acquired bruises, scratches and other impressive looking battle scars we headed back to camp where jook and noodles awaited us for lunch. Plates and bowls empty, it was time for Aunty Jean’s annual OSCA camp challenge. A line up of boys and a brave Bjana opting in, competitors raced down the gravel path and up a distant hill to search for the prize as us other campers watched and speculated over the winner. Ironically, it was Colin who claimed victory, but humbly declined  Auntie Jean’s special prize , opening the competition up again for round two. Back at the confidence course, those somehow with enough energy and wit to tackle it again raced each other around the course with Cam taking out the prize. With the unwelcomed end to camp almost upon us, bags were packed, cars were loaded and kayaking teams reunited for clean-up duties before it was goodbye Berwick and farewell to camp for another year.

A particularly huge thank you must go out to Aunty Frances, Aunty Lee, Aunty Jean, Uncle Linus, Lisa, Konrad and the rest of the Aunties and Uncles team for all their commitment, time and effort in organising and running the camp, for being the working wheels behind the scenes and for all the delicious food! Camp was made possible, enjoyable and problem-free thanks to them, Thank You!

We also appreciate the generous sponsorship of the prize for the Lip Sync Competition from Sichuan 88.

As JK Rowling wrote, “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other” and like knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll, the stories, events, and laughs of OSCA camp are some of these very things. Bonded by the memories and experiences from one of the best weekends of the year, we’ll be sending and accepting facebook friend requests and reminiscing lip syncs, team competitions, and all those “weeeeooow” moments as we await the countdown to next year!
Subpages (1): Kids at Camp 2014