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Camp of the Sunburnt River

To tell the story of the Camp of the Sun Burnt River, the 2022 Summer Camp, we have to travel all the way back to the before times of 2020, when things were innocent and you wouldn’t think twice about cramming a bunch of Goons into a bunk room. After nearly two years of on and off lockdowns, club meetings via Zoom, and other shit, we thought we weathered the storm and were ready for the Camp of the Misty Mountains in October 2021. But alas, thanks to all of us learning another letter in the Greek alphabet, the Camp of the Misty Mountains was postponed for a year, and we needed something to hold us over until then. And with that, Camp of the Sun Burnt River was born!

This camp was advertised as being a smaller, more relaxed version of camp. A couple of beers, chilling by a river, maybe a hike or two. The “real” camp would return later on. This was supposed to be a quick and dirty camp to get us through.

The camp committee lied.

For those who wanted to sit by a river and relax, they were welcome to do that, but for other Goons, we were given an exceptionally well organised camp with more activities than you could dream of.

First, let’s talk night time entertainment. Friday night was an Aussie rock cover band that had all the Goons singing along, and surprisingly, that wasn’t even the highlight. We were then escorted to the gym area to be met with a large wrestling ring and professional wrestlers laying the smackdown on each other.

During the wrestling, all 80 of us were just ripe enough to cheer, yell, and scream as we saw some top notch professional wrestling. Most of us hadn’t watched wrestling of this style since we were 12 years old, and we were all fondly taken back to many a Saturday morning in our parents’ lounge room. Except now we were old enough for booze and had a larger variety of swear words at our disposal. Needless to say the wrestlers put on a great show and, even though this stuff is staged, they still took some pretty gnarly hits as professional stunt people.

And the weekend was just getting started…

What followed were a couple beers with mates and tons of manly activities that, while being done by novices, probably shouldn’t have. Axe throwing? Yep. Knife sharpening? We had it. Roman sling shot making. That was there too. Giant slip and slide. We’re still surprised no one got hurt.

And that’s not to mention the second band on the Saturday night, some dips in the river, traditional camp games like tug-of-war, dodgeball, raft building (and battle), camp fires, sing-a-longs, huge Dungeons and Dragons sessions, and of course a few drinks and a laugh around the camp fire. We even figured out how to make crossword puzzles into a contact sport. Oh, and of course there was a game of Liar’s Dice.

Yeah, this was a relaxed camp with minimal activities…

Should we expand on how some of these activities went down or leave them a mystery; a secret known only to those who attended camp? Let’s elaborate on the Weird, the Wonderful, and the Traditional.

The Weird: Contact Crossword Puzzles.

The rules are simple. Break into teams of about five. One Goon does all the writing. Beyond that, we’re still not quite sure how it evolved into contact, but the aim seemed to be around sabotage; whether it be preventing the writing Goon from writing, or finally handing in his completed puzzle. No one was hurt (too seriously).

The Wonderful: Camp Singalong

This was possibly the longest single activity, as Goons came and went and just relaxed. We had about six guitars that were passed around with a few Goons also playing harmonica. The less musically inclined were encouraged to play drums on a nearby bin or just hit a beer bottle with a spoon. All were welcome. It’s amazing how many songs a collective group of guys know. Friends were made.

The Traditional: Liar’s Dice

It’s a long standing rule that if you haven’t been to camp before, you need to play Liar’s Dice. The rules are simple: everyone rolls some dice and keeps their results secret. You then need to guess how many of a given number is on the table (combined of all players) - this number goes up and up until someone calls bullshit. If you’re wrong, you lose. After a few rounds you realise that Book Club is just a long con to force men to play Liar’s Dice.

Want to know more about the ins and outs of camp activities? There’s only one way to find out:

Come. To. Fucking. Camp.

We’ll end this camp wrap up with two final things.

Firstly, thank you to Licola Wilderness Village, you were wonderful. The staff there were kind, helpful, and kept us well fed and comfortable.

And lastly, we’ll end with a quote from a Goon at camp:

“Camp does a lot, but there’s one thing it doesn’t do. It doesn’t suck.”

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