Each year my church puts on a weeklong camp. You can read about it here. and you can read about my first thoughts as I joined this Unitarian Universalist church here in Austin, Texas.
I have not written a memoir piece or a good news piece in a month or two - that is not due to a lack of good news or interesting stories - rather I wanted to wait until I had a really good story to share.
Seeing as I've been full of anecdotes, high spirits and wearing a wizard's cloak for much of the last few days I decided to create this article.
I'll write this as a series of anecdotes and, as the week goes on, I will add to this.
I wanted to help with this last year but other commitments prevented me from doing so. I was dying to see how exactly they taught quidditch.
This year I was available and excited to participate. I thought it a nice coincidence that there was a New York Times story - which I seeded here - about camps set up around make believe stories be it Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.
My first two challenges were choosing my name and figuring out a costume.
A Facebook post from me from about a week ago: "Scott is trying to think of who he should be for Harry Potter camp. Each participant creates their own fictional name. I'm open - pleading actually - for suggestions."
Then I later posted this, "Heard one great suggestion for my name: Caledonius Glutroot
I've been told it can be broken down this way:
The weekend before the camp I went wizard costume shopping and this was my report via Facebook:
"I now own a wizard's cloak for my Harry Potter outfit. But I still need to find a wizard beard and possibly hat. For some reason stores don't seem to have costumes in July. I mean, whats up with expecting people to only buy costumes in certain months? That's practically monthism or something."
People have been complimenting all week how I look in this wizard cloak so I no longer feel inadequate without a hat or beard. Bonus: I have a killer Halloween costume.
Sunday night I helped set up camp while a little nervous about how my first day would go. I am the duelling instructor which is one of those jobs you accept and then wonder how you're going to teach since it is, after all, doing instructions related to fictional things. Long story short, I pulled it off. To find out how, read on.
My favorite question asked by kids and teens during the set up of Harry Potter camp: "Is it defense of the dark arts or defense of the dark hearts?" One adult was heard asking if the two aren't related.
I posted at Facebook Monday:
"I have taught 60 kids at Harry Potter Camp rules about when to use their wands and wand etiquette, helped them (with the aid of the house elf) create a mini book of spells and then got them started on a wand duelling exercise that's similar to rock paper scissors.
And I keep getting compliments on my wizard cloak." When I'd mention to the campers that the game was similiar to Rock, Paper, Scissors at least one in each group would complain "but that's a muggle game," as if they're not all muggles but I did my best not to break character.
I tested the kids: is it ok to do spells in anger? No, they said.
Do you ever do things when mad - like at your parents - when mad that you later regret? Almost unanimously they said yes. So what would it be like if you had a wand? "Really bad?" they say. Yup.
I got wacky at times, being me, asking "Is it ok to take the wand in to the shower? Toss it in the laundry? Give it to the dog as a chew toy? Break it in two so you can have two wands?"... etc.
I think all parents with kids in the camp owe me because i stuck a few "ask your parent before you do spells at home" and don't use spells on your siblings/parents messages in there.
Those were not on the lesson plans but when one asked if they can immobilize their siblings when they next became annoying i decided to do the parents a favor and say "ask your parents first," ok? They nodded because, hey, if this guy from Hogwarts faculty says something you need to listen to him, right?
Hey i help where i can:)
I posted Tuesday morning:
"Caledonius Glutroot (aka me) just sat at the head table while our 60 attendees at Harry Potter Camp watched with anticipation and excitement the sorting hat sorting them into various schools. This is pretty fun to watch.
Today they each get their own personalized wands (including me) and i'm looking forward to watching them play Quidditch though probably later in the week due to the weather."
There were a lot of memorable moments which I'll write up as time allows.
Favorite moment of the day at Harry Potter camp was a girl taking the book of spells we all made together Monday and crossing out the unforgiveable curses, explaining, "That way I won't accidently do one." She also circled one spell "which may be good to remember": the one that mends broken bones. And THIS was one of the youngest girls in camps.
I taught each group two games and the one they were most excited by was Giants, Wizards, Elves, which is a fun one because they have to work together in teams.
I also taught them another game that I like mostly because it is of the form where the students can take turns leading the game, sort of a game version of "the student becomes the teacher."
Posted at Facebook:
"Just witnessed kids playing human chess. One kid yelled at his coach one of the teenage prefects: "Put me in, coach." I think they're getting their sports mixed up. The coach later announced: "Pieces can't and don't tell their player what to do."
And that, in a nutshell, is Harry Potter camp week so far.
It ends, as many of the movies do, with a feast in the great hall.