Sõrve is always the best week of the year in my calendar, and I am looking forward to it months in advance. My suitcase is always ready to go days before, leaving time to gather the many things I'm likely to have forgotten. This year the anticipation before camp was different, as it was my first year (out of 18 years) of no longer being a kid (or elanik) and being welcomed into the leadership group (juhtkond) as a junior leader (abijuht). On one hand I felt excited to finally be able to help make camp what it is, and be a positive influence to the younger kids at camp. On the other hand I was somewhat sad that my time as an elanik myself was over and sceptical that I might not be able to enjoy camp the same way I had in the past.
Being an abijuht for the first time was such a fun and energetic (but also sleep depriving) experience! You are constantly on the move, whether it be keeping your hut (tare) in line, organising an activity, on a treasure hunt with C-group or helping during skit preparation, there is never a quiet moment.
Before Sõrve began, I was worried about the change from elanik to abijuht and how I would deal with all the new challenges and be able to cope with the hard work of helping to run camp. Even though there were new challenges, there were a few small areas of camp life that were slightly better as a leader than as a kid... Firstly with no inspection to prepare for, the daily worry of attempting to make soft sheets as rigid as possible and have perfectly angled hospital corners and to frantically tidy the tare in the last few minutes was no longer present. As well as this, it was refreshing to compete in the A-Group vs. Juhid rahvastepall match on the far superior team, and be crowned winners of the match. Contrary to my expectations I was still able to participate in all of my favourite activities during the week such as volleyball (võrkpall), kingball/dodgeball (rahvastepall), four wicket cricket (laptuu) and first night games. In many ways, it turns out that being an abijuht was just as much fun as an elanik!
About half way through the week we had Omavalitsuspäev, a morning in which the older kids of camp took over and ran activities for everyone. This was great as for once we could take a step back, and have the kids blowing the whistles for a change. It allowed the juhid and abijuhid to revert back to participating as elanikud for the morning and play alongside younger kids, which was a lot of fun.
It's always difficult to sum up the many reasons why I love Sõrve and keep coming back, but I think what most accurately describes it is family. Sõrve has an indescribable atmosphere - every year at the beginning of camp, many of us haven't seen each other in a whole year know that as soon as you arrive through those welcoming Sport and Rec gates you're always greeted with open arms as if nothing has changed. Simply being in the Sõrve environment with all the familiar faces reminds me why Sõrve is so special to me. Its such a rewarding experience being an abijuht and especially being able to see camp from a different perspective seeing all the kids bond and create new friendships over the week. The friends you make at Sõrve are a second family and the memories will stay with you forever! I hope everyone had a fantastic time at Sõrve this year and hope to see you all again (as well as some new faces) next year!