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Camp of the River Lizard

Another year, another great TGBC camp.

While a lot of Goons like to write, more of us are readers, so we figured we’d heavily modify a famous work to get across exactly how awesome camp is:

It was the best of times, it was the worst best of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief fun, it was the epoch of incredulity mateship, it was the season of Light during the day, it was the season of Darkness at night, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair late summer in Gippsland, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us and lots of activities, we were all going direct to Heaven, those who played Liar’s Dice we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only it was a great bloody camp.

If the fact that we’re willing to ruin Dickens doesn’t convey the sheer brilliance of camp, then nothing really will.

But to go into more detail, TGBC had another successful camp.

This was our third camp in just over 12 months since we’re moving the event to be in late Summer rather than late Winter. All in all this is a better format. Plus it allows us to continue to use the wonderful Licola Wilderness Village in North Gippsland.

So this was our second time at Licola and, unsurprisingly, it was as damn good as the first time. Some things changed from the first time, some stayed the same.

What changed?

The weather for one thing. Last year the rain didn’t stop us from having fun, but the Camp of the River Lizard brought nothing but sunshine for (almost) the entire weekend. This allowed for a lot more outdoor activities including archery lessons, more hiking, and even a river regatta with inflatable pool toys.

Words do not do the regatta justice, so we’ll let the pictures in this article tell the story.

What changed a little?

Nicer weather meant more time with what is quickly becoming a camp tradition: the giant slip and slide. Licola Wilderness Village has a small hill leading to their oval which is perfect for a big sheet of plastic covered in soap and water. And that had Goons flying down it at great speeds. Surprisingly, there were no serious injuries this year, other than some temporary blindness from the soap. We all walked away from that one with slightly redder eyes but having had a whole lot of fun.

What stayed the same?

Of course camp always has the same fun aspects of bonding with mates, singalongs, and a couple of beers, but it was good to see a lot of the familiar favourites that Goons have come to expect at camp.

One tradition of camp is Book Club. At the core of everything we are a book club afterall. While we all go to our separate chapters every month, camp is a good time to sit down with Goons you don’t usually sit down with and discuss some writing. Things are a bit different at camp: we read and discuss a short story instead of a full book. This year we read “The Drover’s Wife” by Henry Lawson. We won’t go into the story (read it yourself), but, as predicted, Goons did what they did best and had a good chat about prose.

Another tradition, Liar’s Dice, led to a few sore heads on the last morning of camp. This game involves rolling dice and bluffing on your score (and the unknown score of other players). If you’re caught in your bluff, you drink. If a person calls a bluff but it turns out they’re wrong, they drink. It’s a fun tradition at camp, but one that can be difficult for newcomers.

What also stayed the same is every Goon doing their bit. We appreciate that we take over a wonderful wilderness camp for three days. We spread out with our axe throwing range, giant marquee, a campfire, and more. However, we always lean back on our biggest rule: don’t be a fuckhead. Sure, by the end of the weekend there’s a bit of a clean up, but with everyone pitching in all the garbage is taken out, the marquee taken down, and everything clean very quickly.

And because of that we’ll be back at Licola next year. They do a good job at Licola Wilderness Village, and we look forward to many more camps for years to come.

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