Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Youth Camp and Growing Pains

Shabu-shabu at home
A whirlwind snowed-in-at-some-European-airport-type week at youth camp, bookended by fortifying good beef shabu-shabu and lovely handmade tofu, and photog duties at a fun wedding where the newly-weds were their own emcees and reviews from friends were warm and glowing. Camp recovery was also aided by champagne and chardonnay on one night on the occasion of Christmas and birthdays and retro sing-a-longs, and jugs of honey beers by a river on another on occasion of it being too early to go to bed when there were new friends to chat with.

Stewed Beef, Stewed Pork Fantastic Mustard Chicken
Nonya Food The Most Delicious Babi Assam in the World
Greatly glad for the opportunity to do some work at camp and be partnered and encouraged by the hard work of others - the without-fanfare kitchen slog that produced delicious pots of picky-camper-approved spag bog, curries, mustard chicken, babi assam..., the determination with which campers were served by leaders bearing food, water, good cheer.

The holiday camp menu may have lacked the medieval culinary delights of roast swan and pig on spit, but the knights of 1395 were tearing up Project Run-Away with spaghetti pot helmets complete with the latest in wireless pink remote-controlled water guns, vital-parts-endangering bubble-wrap armour, insectile gold 4G antennae for communication with headquarters and Saturday Night Fever dance moves.

Jousting Tournament - Lances
During the day, even without skateboard steeds and horseys to pull them, knights made short work of each other at the jousting tournament with pool noodles chalked with plain flour. The presence of a style judge ensured there was neighing and grunting before the joust, with one horse deciding to buck and run away altogether.

Defend the Castle Against the Dastardly Dragons
Defending the Castle against the Dastardly Dragons was a tower defence game with flour and water catapults clearing their columns of the jumping fire-breathing overgrown lizards who sometimes managed to retrieve the medieval explosive devices and fling them back at the catapults. Loads of work to be done on gameplay but glad the boys were immensely happy to be throwing flour and water around.

Wide Game Cake Cards Wide Game Cake Defence Cards
Wide Game - Deadly Dulce de Luche Delight Card Wide Game - Innocent Looking Squire Cards
Wide Game - Weapon Cards Wide Game - Anti-Weapon Cards
Wide Game - Imbibe Cards
Later, the dragons decided they had enough of all that white powdery stuff and made off with a princess from each of the four kingdoms. Kingdoms were to retrieve their princesses by collecting power cards hidden in locations around Changi Point during the wide game. Since only one princess could be rescued, the kingdoms then fought each other by attacking with weapon cards or weighing down a gluttonous enemy princess with cake cards so she'd be too heavy to be saved. The smack talk was hilarious.

Wide Game - Grow Your Own Giant/ess Kit Card
One of the most powerful weapon cards was a Grow Your Own Giant kit which had to be used together with a Plain Water card. Before receiving a kit, Giant Protection Laws required kingdoms to demonstrate the ability to care for their giant by identifying flavours of jelly beans (a Giant's staple food). All teams managed the 70% pass rate but all failed to distract attacking enemy giants with the requested jelly bean flavour at the Final Battle.

Green Jelly Belly Beans Red and Black Jelly Belly Beans
Orange and Yellow Jelly Belly Beans Pink and White Jelly Belly Beans
The next day, we held a jelly bean tasting session for the remaining half-kg of gunk made from artificial additives, chemicals, preservatives and flavours held together by a strong binding agent. (Candylicious at Resorts World Sentosa supplied flavours not found in Cocoa Tree stores. Who can resist the ironic simulacra-referencing-simulacra of Jelly Belly jelly beans!)

Pants and Lions around the Fairy Point Chalet were ace, though nothing more than a variation of hide-and-seek, and so brought to mind a chapter in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters that we were speeding through for book club, in which Lewis describes the sincere enjoyment of things as almost a matter of virtue/godliness. Lewis Carroll too, in his Easter Greeting in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, praised the simple joyful reading of his literary nonsense which like the merry voices of children as they roll among the hay, as pleasing to God as "the grandest anthem that ever rolled up from the dim religious light of some solemn cathedral".

The romantic childhood of happy innocence is neither corroborated by experience nor by Scripture: the selfishness of toddlers is apparent as soon as they are able to articulate their thoughts, though any damage to others is limited to the toddlers' inexperience in being cunningly charming and relative powerlessness; and Jesus' injunction in Matthew 18 to become like little children seems to have more to do with their utter dependence on others rather than their innocence.

As we see repeat campers grow up and chaff at additional responsibilities and turn all emo about the lack of a boyfriend or girlfriend, we wish, not for them to return to a time when all they cared about was playing their favourite card games while drinking Ribena. We wish for them to grow to maturity, that is, to find true joy and satisfaction within an intimate relationship with God our Father and Jesus our Saviour and Brother and Judge and King.

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Thanks to a worldwide fascination with the Middle Ages, on-theme board games were easy to find:
- The Hobbit
- Lord of the Rings (Reiner Knizia's)
- Settlers of Catan
- Citadels
- Carcasonne
- Kingdoms
- Sleeping Queens? (requested by a camper for nostalgic reasons)
- Saboteur?

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Naturally, we had an appropriate camp song ("with warfare toms") to go along:

(ignore the visuals)

O Church Arise

O Church Arise and put your armour on
Hear the call of Christ our Captain
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We'll stand against the devil's lies
An army bold whose battle-cry is Love
Reaching out to those in darkness

Our call to war to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valour
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure
And Christ will have the prize for which He died
An inheritance of nations

Come see the cross where love and mercy meet
As the Son of God is stricken
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet
For the Conqueror has risen
And as the stone is rolled away
And Christ emerges from the grave
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him

So Spirit come put strength in every stride
Give grace for every hurdle
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful
As saints of old still line the way
Retelling triumphs of His grace
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory

by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend (a delightful pairing)
© 2005 Thankyou Music


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