I hadn’t slept all night, not because of packing (that had taken ages though) not because of a nightmare nope, it was because of excitement the whole night I couldn’t stop thinking about camp. All the activities and food were going to be great. I thought about that for so long I forgot to sleep, that’s how I earned the black rings around my eyes. The morning felt like it would never come, but it did. Before I knew it, I had made it to school. I had to make sure today was the day, I checked the date. It was 9.8.23. Yes, we were about to start our journey to Mapleton QCCC for Year 5 camp, 2023. As I looked around, I saw a combination of parents excited kids and the odd black rings, like me. I claimed the seat next to my friend and we were off. The parents waving frantically, the students grinning. 

It was a super long bus ride to Australia Zoo but totally worth it.We were given our zoo activity and cabin groups. The bus erupted into a cacophony of happy conversations, our poor teachers. I was tired and knew I'd need energy for the day so I tried using my friend as a pillow. I had mixed success. 

One hundred and eight chopstick games later and arrived at Australia Zoo and were let off the bus. We were sorted into groups and our group went wild on the bouncy pillow. After burning some energy off on the bouncy pillow, we checked out all the animals tigers, elephants, meerkats, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, tortoises, komodo’s, kangaroos, snakes and we finished the day at the Crocoseum with the Wildlife Warrior Show. As we were going back to the bus I was tempted to sneak off and live with the animals. Mum and Dad could visit – maybe they could get annual passes?

The moment had arrived, I stretched my legs and placed my feet down on the campground. We had made it! Mapletone QCCC.  

I have to admit I took the moment for granted. I was too hungry to care. Everyone was grateful for afternoon tea, sponge cake. We played some games, ate some dinner, sausages and mash, and we made a jungle of our rooms. The night finished as we watched Zootopia with popcorn in an outdoor cinema. 

We all woke up super early and were saved by a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and cereal. The meal filled us up as we embarked  on our first activity, canoeing. Next, we did the giant swing, which was three-meters ‘gianter’ than last year. Fortunately, nobody died when I participated in archery. At the Team initiative activities we met ‘Mubba the rubber chicken’ (he goes by many names).  

That evening, we filled our tummies with an incredible butter chicken. Kerry shared a traditional Aboriginal Dreamtime story at Tribal Link. He shared the story of Coolum and Maroochy and it was a roller coaster of comedy, romance, drama and action. Afterwards, we enjoyed lemon myrtle tea and marshmallows baked over an open fire. We were well and truly ready for bed. 

On Friday morning we woke up and started shoving everything into our bags - clothes, books, toothpaste, shoes – and we continued until the room was spotless. Then we headed out for a well-earned omelet. We did rock climbing that morning and we belayed each other. We had no choice but to trust each other with our lives. Gratefully, we all made it safely down again. Finally, we were ready to hop on the bus to go home. We made it home exhausted, but thankful to all the wonderful teachers and camp staff. A special thanks to Mrs Nugent for her meticulous organisation. 

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