Not-So-Happy Campers

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Today’s Gallery Theme: ‘On the Bar…’

Maybe that should read ‘raising the bar’. That wouldn’t be difficult, here at  our second summer camp, where we are running circus skills.

It is not understaffed. In fact, I would say it is overstaffed, but with people who seem to feel that their role is to bark orders at the unhappy campers and exert their authority. The contrast with summer camp no 1 is incredible. As a result, the campers are disgruntled, prevented from having fun in various ways, and the result is trouble in the dorms, bullying and goodness knows what else.

Example 1. Jaymee and Karla decided to go for a swim in our after-lunch free time. Firstly, as they approach the pool: ‘Pool’s closed until you’ve digested your lunch. Go away.’ Actually that thing about not swimming after eating is rubbish anyway. So they wander around a bit, and hear sobbing. A girl, about 12 or 13 I would say, bullied and lonely, is sitting behind a bush. All she wants is to be at home. So our girls gather her up, bring her back to the bus, give her a drink, chat and try to cheer her up before suggesting she tries a few simple ‘tricks’ with them. She’s no-end more cheerful – why can’t the staff pick up on these things…?

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(Well, that’s one way of spending your time on the bars…)

Example 2. Leo and Chris go for a wander. As ever, they are shirtless and barefoot. It is hot, but a little overcast, so even sensitive skins shouldn’t get burnt today. ‘You two should get your shirts on. And why aren’t you wearing shoes?’. To which they quite reasonably responded ‘Actually, we’re not campers, we’re on the acrobatics team.’ ‘Oh, well why aren’t you wearing your ID? And anyway, you’ll still burn in the sun…’

They carry on, a little pissed off. There is a group of trees, with a small clearing in the middle. A group of coloured lads, with the usual ‘hoody’ gear (in this temperature and humidity??) is sitting in a huddle, passing around their ciggies. ‘You better not tell on us…’. Before Leo and Chris could respond, one of the other lads said ‘No, they’re OK. They were doing that acrobatics…’

One of the lads, who obviously fancied himself as a fit guy, looked at them critically. ‘You got plenty muscle, you two. You wrestle?’ ‘Yeah, OK,’ says Chris, always up for a challenge. The guy rolled up his shirt to reveal a formidable six-pack. ‘I’ll take you then,’ he said to Chris, pulling the shirt over his head. ‘Who wants a crack at the other guy?’

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Well, it turned out, despite the ciggies, they were all quite fit, spending time training on ‘street furniture’ – railings, bus stands, whatever. City kids, feeling utterly out of place  in the countryside. It also turned out that their fighting style was more like MMA than wrestling, with forearm smashes to the gut and a few roundhouse kicks thrown in. But our lads put up a good defense, and clearly won what these street lads refer to as ‘respec..’ It ended with a kind of free-for-all, everyone pitching in, but reasonably friendly. Chris is wearing a cut over his eye now, but I think he’s slightly proud of it, and Leo seems undamaged by a few gut punches. Perhaps a useful experience!

viewpoint

Gotta admire the city street workouts. All the lads had their shirts off by the end of the rumble, apparently, although they seemed to want to fight with their trainers on. Three of them walked back to our camping bus with Leo and Chris and they got the weights out, making benches for each other in our usual way. One of these lads was benching over 200 lb for ten repetitions with ease (90kg) which shows what a street workout can do for the upper body! New, if slightly unexpected friends. At least the Stasi keep away from our camping bus, so the lads could get on with it undisturbed.

added weight

(That lad is doing  ‘dipping presses’ with about 88lb added, indicating some formidable shoulder power!)

Aside from the horrible atmosphere in this camp, and the oddly authoritarian approach, our own contribution has gone reasonably well but we shall leave tonight after doing our ‘finale’ show, and get home in the early hours. One more new camp to go, starting next Saturday up in Pennsylvania – that one has a high reputation, we hear. And then, at the end of July, we’re going back to camp number 1 with one of the boys’ British friends in tow. We’ll definitely enjoy that one again.

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Dave and I, along with Zach and Gary, have made the best of it by spending a lot of private time together, doing what gay lads do behind our bunk curtains. This morning, I was woken with a kiss by Dave slipping out of our bunk saying ‘Gary wants a friend!’ and he was quickly replaced by Zach. The four of us, as you must know by now, form part of a select and safe group where sexual favours can be exchanged without fear… so Zach’s chest landing on mine and being hugged close skin to sweaty skin (with several deep kisses) whilst our manhood grew side by side between our abdomens… wait, you can fill in the rest for yourselves…

bar pike

If you can’t fill in the bit after the dots, then there are some books you should maybe take a look at:

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

They could have been subtitled ‘Dave and Tone, the early years’…! e-books available too:

bar b&w

Just ‘bar’ pictures for the rest of this post – hope you enjoy:

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p bars

bar stretch up

effort

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opem air p bars

A couple of one-arm holds now…

one arm

one arm pike yung

He’s quite young. We’re all in favour of starting them ‘young’, as this final pic for today shows:

like father like son

 

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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