Day 8 – Wonders of Food

Song – Roxette, Milk and Toast and Honey

Today’s special treat for the kids was roller-blading.  Some of them took to it like a duck to water, one or two looked more like giraffes on ice.  I did a lot of hand-holding and supporting, and a little bit of picking up and dusting down, but we got through it without any real injuries.  The boys preferred to play football on the big field which was just opposite the administration building which housed the sports room.

After that, before lunch we had some team activities on the theme of food, just a couple of games and a quiz.  The evening performance was a continuation of the story of the Gingerbread Man on the basis that he didn’t get eaten by the fox.  Confusingly in the programme he is referred to as “The Bun” – perhaps a bit of Google translation there?

The kids of course came up with their own inventive stories, the Seals had Gingerbread Man who, for some reason, spoke like a California surfer being friends (“bros”) with the fox and being surprised when his family found out he was still alive and kicking him out leaving him with nowhere to stay.  Some other animal friends (rabbit, owl, bear) offered to let him stay at their place.  The skit ended with a complex goodbye handshake between the Gingerbread Man and the Fox.

The Pumpkins came up with an entirely different solution after most of their team decided the idea was too boring to get involved with.  The boys in the team (badly) drew little cartoon drawings on small scraps of paper of a the Gingerbread Man getting helped by the fox and both of them being attacked by other animals (I forget the details) and presented it from behind a screen like a puppet show while one of them improvised the story.  It was so amateurish that it was genius!


Between performances we played games, including passing the empty matchbox nose to nose game – this turned out to be impossible, with a small matchbox and some big noses.  I hastily improvised an alternative, passing a balloon using only elbows.  This worked well.   We used balloons again for a game where partners had to dance with a balloon between them without dropping it or touching it with their hands – at the end of the game they had to burst it without using their hands.

The next game involved everyone dancing then dropping to the ground when the music stopped – the last one had to do a dance like an animal I selected.  This turned out to be very popular, so much that the kids were deliberately staying standing so they could do the animal dances!  Finally we played a game called “Cabbage” which basically involved covering one of the children from each team with as much junk lying around the room as they could find.


Day 9 – Wonders of the Movies

Song – Marilyn Monroe, Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend

Today the kids had swimming and answered a challenge from the Fourth Team to play them at Pioneerball, a variant of volleyball.  This was the first time we went onto the new sports pitch which had a Pioneerball court and a five-a-side football pitch, surrounded by a large wire fence.  The whole squad came to cheer on the six who had been picked to play.

A couple of our team were quite good but we had a couple of weak links too, while the Fourth Squad were all pretty competent players.  We led for a while in the first set but eventually lost the match 2-0.


In the evening we were going to take part in another camp concert, with the theme of circus.  Our performance, as drawn by Lyena from the available options, would be Training Birds.  Of course the kids decided to flip it around and have the birds training a human (for no obvious reason other than to get the song Despacito into the show, a Spanish man called Don Juan played by one of the girls).  We had a flamingo showing how to dance, an owl showing how to sleep, a peacock (with beautiful painted tail feathers) showing how to strut like a model, an ostrich showing how to hide, a penguin how to walk, a parrot how to talk, and a chicken and a cockerel on how to squawk.  Oh, and a woodpecker how to be a headbanger.   We also had a sign held up throughout the show saying (in Russian script approximating the English words) “Russian Circus.”

Rashon Syorkus

They rehearsed tirelessly, they had specialised beaks for all the birds and make up and costumes, it was a great little act.  We still came fourth out of four again, but in fairness the other squads had some pretty good shows too.  The Fourth Squad had a boy with a central Asian weightlifter physique, he made a perfect strong-man in their show.


Day 10 – Wonders of the Theatre

Song – Queen, The Show Must Go On

Another sports competition, this time it was Tug of War with all the camp involved.  I missed the beginning and by the time I got there I was told that the team had already beaten 2 other squads and only had to face the older teenagers of the First Squad to win the tournament!

Of course we had a mix of ages and only two older, stronger boys, so while it looked close for a few seconds, the older squad won easily.  But we still got 2nd place in a camp competition, better than all those 4th places!  At the end of the competition all the camp leaders came up to face the First Squad, and I was pushed forward to join them.  The First Squad beat us easily too (some of them really are very big!).  We then faced the winners from the younger teams, and they too won (although it’s fair to say we might have not put the same level of performance into that second tug!).

Evening Performance was reinterpreting a famous theatrical performance.  The Seals took on Romeo and Juliet, controversially casting one of the older boys as Juliet.  The Pumpkins, not to be outdone, had a 12-year old girl playing Jesus Christ.  They didn’t really have a performance as such, just costumes and a short (probably improvised) story that their leader read out.

The games were more interesting, we played charades which combined animals and everyday activities (eg a hippopotamus mowing the lawn).  The kids wouldn’t let me stop until they’d done every single one I had (there were about 30 in the materials).  We also had monologues, four of the kids were given a text to read out in the most emotional and dramatic way they could.  We definitely have some budding actors in our squad!

I kept the little girls entertained by giving them a picture drawing task, they randomly picked some elements they had to draw in a picture (eg a rainbow, a fairy, a castle) and they drew some beautiful drawings, so I was able to give an award for Best Picture.


Day 9 – Wonders of Music

Song – Bon Jovi, It’s My Life


There were more camp sports competitions today, involving relay running with various hoops, poles, footballs and cones.  We had a mix of older and younger children, boys and girls, while our competitors were all about the same age as our oldest ones, so unsurprisingly we came last in most of the races, but the kids had fun.  At the end the teams had to line up and do a bit of dancing.  One of the older boys really does not like dancing and was doing the minimum possible to avoid looking out of place while everyone else was doing the Go… Stop… Drop dance moves.

Meanwhile one of the girls was using the school camera to take pictures of the action, I was trying to encourage her to get closer and move round to get front shots instead of just the backs of people’s heads, although for this blog, the back-of-head shots are turning out to be quite useful!


In the evening we were back on the camp stage again for a competitive dance – six of our girls had been working on the performance during Move Your Body club.  You can guess where we placed!


Day 12 – Wonders of Dance

Song – Justin Timberlake, Can’t Stop the Feeling

Team Activities involved a dance quiz – identify the dance from the pictures, and from the music, and then a dance competition trying to follow the dance moves in a video.

In the evening performance the teams had to reinvent the origin of a popular dance.  The Seals told the story of a man (a girl with a drawn-on moustache) with a (cardboard) balalaika who, rejected by the women he loved, invented a new dance so that everyone would fall in love with him, before turning down the woman who had shunned him.

The Pumpkins blew everyone away with a hot tango.  It had everything, steamy looks, hair flicks, a super-cool sunglasses-wearing Latino guy (actually our 12-year-old Jesus again) and a sultry sensual chica on his arm (one of the girls that usually isn’t very involved in the performances, but brought it all tonight).  Everyone agreed it was Hotttt.


Day 13 – Wonders of Technology

Song – Frank Sinatra, Fly Me To The Moon

We had lessons and clubs as usual but no evening performance because we wanted to go to the camp show and collect our certificate for second place in the tug-of-war.  We didn’t have a performance for the show this time, the other squads put on performances around the theme of sports.

We had to deal with a headlice scare, one of the students from another camp had gone home with nits so the doctor had to check every child in every team.  Two of our young girls were held back for treatment, and a third – the one with long, beautiful braids, had to have her hair unwound and brushed so they could check it properly.  The leaders weren’t checked but I’m wondering if maybe I should get all my hair cut off just to be safe!


Day 14 – Wonders of Sport

Song – K’Naan, Waving Flag

For Team Activities we had a sports quiz (very hard!), mimes, a crossword and a competition where the teams had to transfer water from one end of the hall to the other using only one spoon for the whole team.  The Pumpkins won but it was by less than a millimetre of water in the cup!

In the evening the teams had to showcase their own new sports.  The Pumpkins went with obstacle-pillow-fights (just an excuse to hit each other with pillows), while the Seals had a genuinely funny sketch involving an 8-hour stare-out marathon (cleverly deploying a dummy card explaining “2 hours later” to signify the passing of time.

There was another sports quiz and a task involving different professions saying “goodbye” in appropriate ways.  There were some strange convoluted handshakes resulting from that!


In the evening was a special treat that had been rescheduled from Friday when it had been raining – a Foam Party Disco!  We didn’t want to get the school camera wet so I took my little flash camera and got some fun pictures of the night – the kids absolutely loved it, all except for the three who had to watch from a distance because of their hair treatment.

It was the last day with us for Nata, the replacement leader, and we also said goodbye to a couple of our team members – a third, who had gone to his grandmothers for the weekend, took ill and in the event also didn’t come back.  So we were down to 22.

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