Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Whew, now that the Silent Weekend retreat is over...

Some of us met up at a restaurant near the retreat so we all could just hang out for the last time. The retreat each year keeps us so busy that we really don't get to do much together. That's okay - what we gain each year is the new memories and the bonds developed.

The theme this year was murder mystery, done in the style of the board game Clue. Sounds like fun, right? It sure was!

Knowing how massive the locale is, I brought my bike (third year in a row now) and so did another counselor. A third one had his bike on his mind but he forgot and wasn't happy about it. Despite the weekend forecast in the 30's overnight, we used our bikes all over the place. A few campers were very curious about my Trek 7300 bike and asked to use it. Of course, they had to ask me for sign language. ;)

After getting everything set up and decorated, everyone gathered in the mess hall to kick the weekend off. The staffer in charge explained, through voicing and signing, what the theme was and how it would go down. Each cabin would get a clue to get started on the game and everyone had to work for extra clues to help solve the mystery.

The winning cabin with the most points scored in the Dutch Auction game at the rec hall (after dinner) would get a clue. Admittedly, I had never heard of Dutch Auction and I had to listen to the rules. You had to put things in a bag that you thought would be called out by the emcee and you'd get points for that. Sorta like a reverse scavenger hunt, where you don't KNOW what you'd need in order to win.

Then with an added twist, the staffer said few minutes before she had secretly placed a mascot in each cabin (not related to the theme) and the cabins were charged with protecting their mascots from abduction at all times. This had never happened before. New territory. Hm.

I headed back to my cabin with the co-counselor so we could change into our characters for the night's main event where we would interact with the campers. Right as I was aboout to finish dressing up, the co-counselor left our room to wash up. He rushed back in and excitedly told me to, "come look now".

I followed him into the center of the cabin and I was amazed to discover that two male campers of my cabin had stolen ALL of the other cabins' mascots (see pic below; our mascot is the tan dog). I felt my chest swell up with pride when I realized that I would've liked to have thought of this first. These two campers had illegally abducted the mascots - they were supposed to wait until after the main event. I knew I would get heat for what they did...and I didn't mind that. Not one bit at all.

Faces blacked out to protect the guilty ones ;)

Not seen clearly is the fabric hen, between large blue

dog & pink pig - which will be visible in the next post

The other members came in and saw what had occurred. They loved it...suddenly we had that instant bonding. The younger thief signed to me, "What if mascots on list? We can 8x points!" Irrefutable logic. I signed back, "Me fine, put mascots in my sleeping bag...mine biggest." Let me explain the weird wording when we speak in sign language...we are signing and there is no need to sign each and every word since we mentally "fill in the blanks".

We went to the rec hall and one counselor approached me in an agitated manner, "Mascot gone! Don't know what mascot look like!" and another chimed in with "My mascot gone too!". I feigned my surprise at that. Hehe. When other campers and counselors saw the looted mascots on display, some of them went after me. After some accusations and arguing, I shrugged at them and signed, "Wish I thought that. "

The counselors went to the lead staffer to protest and she signed, "Sorry, game starts now." Ohh, I could feel the heat/glare from the counselors. I stuck to my guns...hey, I was (and still am) proud of those sneaky buggers! LOL

The first item called out was a toothbrush, which every cabin easily produced. The emcee signed, "Toothbrush, one point. RED toothbrush, two points". I knew I'd like the game and I stayed in the background so the campers would be more involved. The emcee was funny and creative with his "calls".

At one point, he signed "10 points, any 'I Love You' sign or symbol" and I watched my campers search frantically in vain for anything that resembled the famous "ILY" icon. As time dwindled down on that item, I suddenly remembered something. I rushed out to the emcee and I showed him my ILY tattoo. He signed, "Real tattoo? Not pen?" and I signed "Yes, real" and I showed him my other tattoo. He was so impressed by that he gave my cabin 20 points. A counselor saw what I did and ran over to show him her tattoo of a cartoonish hand in the "ILY" pose, holding a heart (on the right side of her lower back). He promptly rewarded her 25 points. LOL

Then...the emcee signed "5 points, cabin mascot". I grinned at that call and looked at the thieves. They looked at me with a mischievious look in their eyes. Other cabins protested "loudly" and the emcee signed, "30 seconds left!" Instant stampede to our spot for the looted mascots. Bedlam. Chaos. I saw both thieves were refusing to give up their preferred mascot, feeding the frenzy. I ordered both to give theirs up in order to restore the peace.

Then the game ended and the scores were tallied up secretly to determine the winning cabin to reward another clue. Meanwhile, the counselors were ordered to take their posts at their assigned tables and play games like blackjack (campers had to sign numbers), mirror relay (fingerspell a word back to a counselor), tactile fingerspell (campers had to put their hands inside a box and "feel" a counselor spell a word), etc.

That...was...just...Friday. LOL I'll publish part two (about Saturday and Sunday) tomorrow. :)


nitebyrd said...

Sounds like this was just a fantastic weekend!

DCHY said...

Nitebyrd - it was! Despite the grief I got over the whole mascot thing, everything was worth it! :)

Copyboy said...

Now that is a fun time. It's weird that we wrote about "dutch" stuff on the same day. Though yours was a lot more rewarding than mine. You must feel so much pride helping with these weekend retreats. BTW...did you do any cool tricks on the bike trek?

DCHY said...

Copyboy - I do feel a lot of things after each retreat. The pain, mostly. LOL I never learned how to do any trick on my bike and...I love my Trek too much to risk damaging it. ;)

Katie Hahs said...

thats awesome :) i miss this stuff. LOL

DCHY said...

Katie - you know my answer. ;)