Brighton and Crawley Downs first Summer Camp
    1st - 3rd August 2003
    by Kate Clark

The weekend of 1st - 3rd August 2003 saw the dawn of what looks set to become a B&CD; Taekwon Do tradition…Summer Camp!! Horam Manor Camping and Caravan Park played host to nearly 30 members from the clubs on what proved to be a hot and humorous weekend!

While some club members had to work on Friday and keep the wheels of industry turning (yeah right!), others set off early from a meeting point in Crawley Down to get a head start putting up tents and unpacking. The weather was not being kind at this stage with strong winds and cloudy skies, but our brave adventurers struggled and managed to put up tents and, as the sun broke through, even managed a game of football.

As the evening closed in, more intrepid campers arrived to the smell of BBQ food. Everyone was in the mood for a good meal and the food disappeared in no time at all. After a mass wash-up (the rest of the campsite must have thought we were taking over the wash block!) it was time to relax and enjoy an evening of talking, laughing and eating strawberry boot laces…yum. The kids were sent off to bed at around 10 and most of the adults weren't far behind. It seemed the excitement of the camp, putting up tents and the large meal had put everyone in a sleepy mood.

In the morning we were all thankful of the early night as Mr Clark did us the honour of waking us at 7 am for a run. Most people got up with little resistance, but Matthew, Patrick and Ben were "reluctant" to get up. Even the presentation of the Summer Camp T-Shirts didn't seem to be enough to get them out of bed. However after much shouting, cajoling and a small amount of manhandling, they made the wise decision to leave their sleeping bags and join the land of the living.

With this final pocket of resistance dealt with, it was time for the run. We set off into the fresh morning air with heads held high. The rest of the camp site seemed a little bemused by the site of 20+ individuals in matching T-shirts running through the camp at 7.30 in the morning…but still we pushed on. At this point however we lost a few of our numbers, they claimed to get lost and somehow ended up back at camp and relaxing after only a few minutes…very odd!! The rest of us soldiered on, through woodland and fields and up a steep hill that amazingly Mr Clark had forgotten we didn't need to run after all (grrrrr!). Although many were suffering from cramp, stitches and exhaustion, we all made it back to the entrance to the campsite where Mr Clark held us back sending us one at a time to sprint to catch the person in front. The incentive? We got to eat their breakfast if we caught them! Not surprisingly, we found the last bit of energy we needed to make it back to camp and returned to find a fantastic cooked breakfast, and lots of refreshing drinks waiting for us.

After breakfast and a bit of time to chill-out, it was training time. We all walked up to the village hall and got changed into our doboks for the 2 and a half hour session, which included the children's favourite, blindfold sparring!! Although tiring, especially after the earlier run, the session was fun and enjoyed by all, although many of us ladies are still bearing the bruises from our battles! After showers and some re-hydration it was time for lunch, and a chance for most of us to relax and enjoy the sunshine while the black belts used the hall for some patterns practice.

Around 4 o'clock the sun was raging above us and there only seemed one way to cool down…WATER FIGHT!! The kids were provided with water pistols (that strangely didn't seem to work too well) and the adults armed themselves with pump action guns as war raged! Soon everyone was drenched from head to toe, nobody was safe from attack…especially John who found himself the target for everyone's fire at one point! Revenge for bringing the largest supersoaker he could find…

Once everyone had dried off the evening was drawing in and it was dinnertime. The chefs produced two wonderful chillies, one mild one and a hotter version for those with stronger constitutions. Everyone ate till they were fit to burst before Mr Clark announced it was time for a surprise event. So the journey to the village hall was made again where everyone waited as the final preparations were completed. The doors opened and the kids streamed in to be faced with an inflatable ring and some HUGE boxing gloves. It was Bouncy Boxing time!!!

Everyone fought like champions with only one or two dirty matches (not mentioning any names Greg Smith and Mal Procter!) and no casualties. The victory of the evening though has to go to Alexander Procter. Despite Mr Clark's height, weight and reach advantage he was unable to get through Alexander's defences and proved to be no match for the group's youngest fighter.

Exhausted and having worked up an appetite again, everyone returned to camp for seconds of chilli and a few well earned beers! The kids went to bed at around 10 after toasting several packets of marshmallows, and the adults stayed up until the early hours chatting and laughing at Patrick's plastic feet and Ben's amazing backwards chair-fall! When everyone had eaten their fill of even more toasted marshmallows and chilli (yes…altogether in some cases, Ben and Carrie!) the adults decided it was time for bed too.

All that remained after breakfast on Sunday was to break camp. Everyone pitched in with washing up, clearing up and packing away and the job was done by the midday deadline. We all said goodbye to the campsite and some enjoyed a picnic in a nearby field before heading home.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. We can't wait to do it all again next year, so book your places early to be part of it. Well done to all those who took part….roll on Summer Camp 2004!! Special Thanks to Paula Smith, Julia Searles, Kate and Carrie for their hard work.