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Venterskroon 2018

3 October , 2018

These past few days we had the opportunity to attend our third Venterskroon camp with the Voortrekkers. This is our thing, really the one camp we make sure we never miss!

It was fun and sad at the same time for many reasons. Fun…because duh! Venterskroon! And sad for us personally because we missed Andy. He was supposed to come with but couldn’t due to work that had to be done. Bittersweet in general for many of the campers as one of the main organisers who everyone had camped with for many many years passed away shortly after last year’s camp. Whenever you saw someone looking a bit glum off to the side, it was usually one of those moments where they remembered what he would have done or said in this particular case. Lots of hugs were given, the kids seemed more or less oblivious to the undertone and just got on with enjoying their camp as they always do.

It was incredibly hot, dry and dusty. If you see that in the photos…imagine it at least 3 times hotter and drier and dustier than that! On the way there we almost thought we’d end up having a wet camp, since we drove through two storms on the way there…wet camping is not for the feint hearted, I’ll take the dusty over the muddy any day of the week.

Anyhoo, the photos tell the story much better than I can – so let’s jump straight in.

Nicola and bestie L at the start of the camp. You can tell because they’re still more or less spotless and their hair is brushed.

I lent my tent to Nicola and two of her friends to sleep in and set up in her tent instead. It’s just for sleeping in after all. I dubbed it the Barbie-dream-house tent and I’m sure I would have been perfectly fine in it, but Silezia took pity on me and insisted that I bunk with her instead in a more grown up tent, hahaha!

Estelle and I. Let the selfie fest begin! We helped out at registration and had a little catch up. Estelle was our course leader last year, and we have shared loads of laughs!

Tents, tents and more tents! This works fine. When I was a kid we usually camped in those massive army tents and the groups got mingled. I sometimes think that that might have been a better way to get to know other kids. (And to keep tents tidy)

Nicola and pals…

First assembly in the making. Look how clean everyone was!

Nicola and L in the queue for dinner. I love taking un-posed photos like these.

Marietjie and I – selfie. Marieks was in my team when we were in school. We’ve known each other FOREVER! Lots of great chats during the camp. Dankie Marietjie!

This is what about 500 hungry kids look like waiting for dinner.

Pretty sunset over the mountain.

Everyone is colour co-ordinated with hats so that it’s easy to spot someone who’s not where they’re supposed to be. Also somewhat helpful to keep the sun off your face. 😉

Nicola’s team did the Spoorkennis badge this camp. Sort of like intro to tracking, and the course leader gave each of us a camo buff. Too cute, although it makes us look a bit dodgy. This thing is incredibly handy, let me tell you! It’s my first one so I was a bit oblivious to all it’s many uses, but I’m on it now and I don’t think I will ever camp without one again.

Firstly, you can use it as a scarf or mask – which is kind of obvious. If it’s super windy and cold, like it was on one or two evenings, you can pull it up under your cap to keep your ears and head warm too. You can also use it like ear muffs for when 500 kids are screaming team chants at each other, or when you go to sleep so that you don’t hear the wind howling round the tents. Apparently you can also soak it in water and keep yourself cool on hot days with it round your neck. I haven’t tried that yet, only cottoned on to that use on the last day – thanks Andries, it never even occurred to me!

Morning has broken. This was after my guard duty, just before the kids started stirring. You don’t actually guard, it’s more like being on the lookout for kids who sleepwalk, or cry or cough so that you can help them. Everyone gets a turn and it usually turns in to an interesting chat with people from other groups in the same shift as you.

Cutie pies…

My cutie pie…

K, L and Nicola – tent mates. Those girls don’t keep a tidy tent at all, hahaha! I actually made a decision not to go look after the first morning. It just made me twitch, and I didn’t want to deprive them of the opportunity to experience the big clean up on the last day.

Me, Nicola and Silezia…

Campers getting ready for the day ahead.

Elize, who was our course leader – doing morning Bible reading and chat with the kids.

Nicola doesn’t do cereal or bread or eggs, so camp breakfast food is usually a challenge for her. She won’t eat it. And then by 10:00 she’ll turn into captain cranky pants. So for everyone’s safety I pack her a little sandwich bag of biltong per day.

Elize and Willem, the two course leaders for our group. The group was soooo big they had to split it into two more manageable groups – 78 in total! And then within our group we further divided them into four smaller groups for when you need to follow tracks or spot animals.

Yummy breakfast one morning.

Learning about camo.

The kids got to paint themselves with shoe polish. Nicola went for the minimalist approach.

Wild things…

L with her camo face on…

N with the least amount of face polish on…

When in Rome and so on…

Off to go find animals in the ostrich camp.

We went in with the female, who left us to our own devices. The male is a bit more territorial as I understand it.

I think you can see how dry and hot it was there.

I just liked the look of this branch. So now you have to look at it too. 😉

Taking a short break to drink water and catch our breaths.

Salt lick, thoroughly enjoyed by the animals in this camp. Imagine how much licking this thing sees to make the dents in that crystal.

I also just liked the look of this telephone pole. You’re welcome. Oh, obviously hardly any cellphone coverage in Venterskroon. If you’re on Vodacom you can get about three bars in two or three spots on the camp, but anyone on any other network had no chance whatsoever.

L-bestie nursing a knee graze.

Hungry kids ready for lunch. I felt like we were more or less eating all day, but we certainly burnt off all that energy. Very very busy!

Other L in camo. She went all out!

The sign for Go Home. I was very ready to head back to camp at this point. The other parent who was helping out at our sub-sub-group was very knowledgeable about all sorts of things and the kids learnt plenty – which is awesome – but I usually drive a desk in mild temperatures so the extra miles we walked in the blistering heat in search of this knowledge had my tongue on the floor with exhaustion.

As hot as it is there in general, the exact opposite is true of this pool. It’s very cold, and a great place to cool down after a never ending walk chasing springbok and blesbok around an ostrich camp.

Nicola and I at the pool…

You know I love these hand shots. Whenever I get the chance, I take it.

Silezia and a few of our girls…

Important to drink lots and lots of water! I think I drank about 3 liters or more a day myself. And I walked round watering anyone who looked a bit wilted too.

Bordesakkies…nothing says camping with the Voortrekkers like rows and rows of these bags. Everyone brings their own plate, bowl, mug and cutlery and this rack of pegs is where they live between meal times.

Oops, I’ve been spotted taking photos…

Isn’t it pretty?

And this…also pretty! Aren’t we lucky that we get to spend time in these wide open spaces? I love it!

Selfie with Nicola that she decorated to send to Andy…so sweet. Andy says we look like cute little terrorists with our buffs on. 😆

Giggles with tannie Maryna.

Another gorgeous sunrise…

Maryna’s hubby Chris, who is a tent master. I suggested that he present a course on how to put up and take down tents, because he is the only person who can get mine to fit in it’s bag like the manufacturers do. Actually he folds it so neatly, you could probably fit two tents in there!

Frikkie, Anna and Ex-Frikkie. Neither of the Frikkies are actually named Frikkie. It’s like a mix between a camp mascot and the ring master. Frikkies have to keep the program moving along smoothly and resolve any discipline problem between the kids. Anna is almost like the Frikkie of the grown ups, not so much the running of the program but resolving any disputes and keeping morale high.

She also keeps up a steady supply of hat decorations. Hoed foefies is what I’ve decided to call them. Everyone loves them and those who have been camping for many years look like Christmas trees!

Nicola and I. It was the 40th birthday of this camp, and there were many celebrations held. every camper also received a purple camp T-shirt as a gift.

The bus. I love riding the bus, it’s hilarious!

After morning parades the officers get on the bus and march up and down and do odd things in a very disciplined manner. It’s hard to explain, you need to ride the bus to fully understand its magic.

A sea of purple shirts…

Maryna and Maryna, at it again.

Oh my goodness, we had such a laughing fit during the course!

Elize was taking questions from the kids and one girl asked what should you do if someone gets bitten by a snake? Elize said that it’s very important to find out what kind of snake because the doctors needed to know what anti-venom to give the patient. Then she went on a bit about snakes in general, and I must have temporarily checked out a bit in my head from heat exhaustion. What caught my ear next was when she said, “How will you get him calm?” And I thought, the snake? Why does it matter what he feels like? She said, “First thing, get him to lie down…” and in my head I’m seeing a snake and thinking lying down shouldn’t be a problem since it doesn’t have legs. “And put him in the shade…” Oh no no no…this is very reckless, we shouldn’t be telling kids to move snakes. “So that his heart can beat as slow as possible…” aaaah, okay – I think she’s talking about the patient and not the snake.

I look at my fellow Maryna and I see she’s looking just as confused as I was, so I tell her it’s the patient and not the snake. She says, “Oh riiiight!” and we burst out into a fit of giggles imagining someone trying to calm down a snake by making it lie down in the shade. We could NOT stop laughing. I still giggle when I think about it actually.

French toast breakfast – yumm!

The girls…

Selfie with Elize…

On the Sunday they got this very high energy dominee in to do the service. This guy was amazing and so funny! I tried to take a video but something went a bit pear shaped with my phone just then (I think I ran out of space and it got flustered and flushed the video).

Seriously so good! If he was closer I would definitely go to that church.

Our course head quarters.

Frikkie came to have a friendly anti-bullying chat with the youngens.

More watering…soooo hot!

This kid was taking no chances with sunblock. Go big or go home, right?

Nicola and L…in the background you can see the inflatables that they got for the kids to play on as part of the camp birthday celebrations.

Anything can be a chair if you’re tired enough…

Maryna, literally hugging a tree for shade…

One of the other courses made these bird feeders. I just liked the look of it, so you get to see it too.

Love this T-shirt!

Maryna, me and Silezia…

My friend Ina, who spends most of her camp in one of the outside rough it groups.

She congratulated me on raising Nicola right, haha! Apparently she wanted Nicola to come give her a hug, and Nicola just told her “I don’t know you.” She thought maybe Nicola didn’t recognise her with the hat so she took it off. Nicola looked her up and down and said, “I still don’t know you.” 😆

To be fair, Nicola has met her…but doesn’t exactly KNOW her, hahaha!

Very peculiar, but very practical hiking shoes of M – she led our walk up the mountain and she’s as nimble as a goat!

Chris and Maryna…

Me, Mariska and Maryna…getting ready for our turn to dish up.

Andries leads the kitchen on this camp and the food is always amazing!

The girls, telling me about the wind that squished their tents during the night…

Mieliepap for 550 people in the making…

Me and Tanya. This woman is like an energiser bunny! And I don’t think I have ever seen her in a bad mood. If you could bottle this kind of spirit and sell it, you’d make a fortune!

The kids are woken up by horn in the mornings…

Maryna and Maryna, this machine runs on coffee and plenty of it. Although I had a lot less than last year!

Pap-worm! What a genius way to carry many pots with few hands! 😆

Poor Attie…the best signal was to be found in the smoking area away from the kids of course. He had work to do, so joined us for some second hand smoke.

Estelle, Maryna and Maryna…

Another yummy breakfast…

Our mountain hike…holey macaroni I’m unfit!

Ian and myself…

Ian and his baby L…

Venterskroon gifted L with this very special rock…so cute!

Mariska, Tanya and Silezia…

Myself and Anna…

Tanya and Liana…they are both energiser bunnies!

The kids prepping to make hand prints on the volleyball court…

Yumm…home, or errr camp-made ginger beer (no kick variety). This was really delicious!

Pretty evening star over the washing line…

Campfire concert on the last night…

The lighting ceremony…

Love this photo where you can see the sparks flying…

All the kids by fire light…that fire was HUGE!

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Mmmm, coffeeeeee…

At this point I was really super grateful that I didn’t end up in the Barbie dream house tent, since my legs were pretty useless after following the “she-goat” up a mountain. I couldn’t crawl into anything if my life depended on it!

A last night party for the grown ups to celebrate the camp’s 40 years and this particular camp.

Our last sunrise at Venterskroon for this year…

Last morning Bible session with the course…

Cutie pies at breakfast…you can now clearly see what hair looks like that hasn’t been brushed for 5 days. 😆

I liked this marshmallow tree they made…Estelle laughed at me when I said, it’s a little bit like life. Jy moet die soet saam met die steek vat. 😉

A sea of purple…

Nicola’s hand print. Freshly liberated from the volleyball court.

Packing up time…

Camp closing ceremony…

I have a little bit of pebble envy for L’s heart shaped pebble, but I feel like I got a good one too. Strongly suspect this one might be a piece of meteorite, but even if it’s not then I still love it for the jaunty little stripe thing it has going on.

Nicola and I started a tradition a while ago, where we always pick one rock to take home for our bookshelf when we go somewhere on a vacation or an adventure. So this is our Venterskroon 2018 rock.

Thank you everyone! It was another fantastic camp and we’ll definitely be back next year for our annual top up of dust, fun, laughs and love…

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2 comments

  1. Lekker gelag nou. Klink of dit vet pret was. Mieka het dit net so geniet. Duime op vir Nicola wat nie sommer vreemdes druk nie 🤣. Dis reg!


    • Dit was vreeslik lekker gewees, ek is bly jou prinses het dit ook geniet!



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