Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tai Tong school camp: the second time

Another year of camp snuck up on us again. This year Tori’s class returned to the Tai Tong Holiday Camp for the second year in a row for three days and two nights of adventure. Last year, neither Tori or I knew what to expect but this year it was old hat in a good way. We knew our way around from activity to activity. I knew the “cabins” were actually what I would call dorms with air-conditioning. I knew my cell phone had coverage out there. All in all, this was a more relaxed camp experience this go around.

Tori’s camp was great fun from start to finish. The kids all tie-dye class t-shirts and come up with cabin banners. There is a lot of dividing the kids up and encouraging them to make new friends at camp. There is a lot of fostering independence at the dining halls and in the cabins. As our kids go to a religious school, there are prayers before meals. Tori sang on the “praise team,” singing and dancing to religious songs in front of the entire camp. Independence in the dining hall typically found me sitting at a different table than Tori at many meals.

For the activities, we biked and hiked. On our hike, we worked our way up a steep trail with jungle like vegetation on all sides. At the top of the hill, we looked out not on more wilderness but on Shenzen, China’s large industrial city on the border with Hong Kong. The huge buildings were right there. Green space here is all around but literally squeezed in between the many many buildings.

Due to Phil’s travel, I needed to come home from camp one night early to be with the twins. Tori was very grown up at camp and was definitely fine with this change in the plans. Other kids got sad when their parents were leaving but Tori was solid. Right when I was leaving, she asked how long the rest of camp was. She asked me a couple of times if the rest of camp would be like a sleep over and a school day and then she would see us again? It wasn’t much but it was the only glimpse I had of little girl. Sixth grade camp at our school is a week in Beijing with no parents allowed. It seemed impossible last year when Tori was in third grade but already highly probably now that she is a fourth grader.


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