The Simply Complicated Obstacle Course

It was my job to set it up that day.  It had to be bigger and better than all the other ones because it was the last week.  They had to enjoy it; they had to laugh.  All I could come up with were wimpy ideas.  It was not going to go well and it would be on my shoulders.  The obstacle course would be too easy for the counselors to run through.  What a pitiful last beginning to Barn Night?

Since my plans for the obstacle course were not as nice as I hoped, I asked for help Marshall was in the arena watering the dirt, so I asked her for help.  She always seemed to have good ideas, or at least encouraging words.  After about 15 minutes of discussion, we decided on a simple course.  The counselors would start at a cone at one end of the arena, run to climb over a pyramid made of three or four hay bales.  Then they would jump over a jump and come back to the starting cone.

I started by moving the hay bales myself.  There would be two pyramids next each other so that more people could climb at the same time.  Each hay bale would be made of 6 hay bales, so I had to move a total of 12.  I had dollies so I could move three at a time.  I had moved 6 bales and had finished the first pyramid when Ace had showed up.  He was trying to figure out why the pyramid was so small I explained I did not think I could move a lot and build a big pyramid in the short amount of time I had.  He said he would make one big pyramid if I brought the bales to him.

Just when I was starting to get worn out, Ireland and Jamaica showed.  I was extremely happy two more strong guys had come to help me move them.  The job of moving the bales became rather easy with their help.  I would pull down the bales and start to stack them in piles of three; then they would push their dolly underneath it and pull the stack into Ace.  After throwing and stacking I-don’t-know-how-many bales of hay, I was told that Ace was done and he did not need any more bales.

The finished pyramid was at least 10 feet tall and over ten feet wide.  Facing it, it looks like a wall of hay.  On the counselor climbs the hay wall, they find a hay bale slide down the other side.  Then they have to run to the end of the arena, touch the top of the cone then turn around, jump over a vaulting barrel.  The vaulting barrel is a barrel lying on its side supported off the ground so the top is 5 feet tall.  After clearing the barrel, they had to run the rest of the distance of the arena to where I stood at the Start/ Finish line with a red octagon “WHOA” sign.

Then it came.  Barn Night had arrived.  The kids were outside the sliding barn doors singing camp songs until we gave the signal.

“ARE YOU READY FOR BARN NIGHT?!”  Jamaica in his prime, he can be loud without the microphone, but he likes it.  “5… 4… 3… 2… 1…”  The doors slide open and the wave of children flows in.  There is some loud country music playing in the background, I think it was Alan Jackson that night, and the kids are extremely excited especially when they saw the hay.  We had to direct to the side of the arena free of obstacles, roped off by some lunge lines lying on the ground, and they lined up behind their counselor.

Jamaica and Marshall explained the course and I demonstrated.  I climbed the hay wall easily, I had made sure to practice, and then ran to the cone and back to the vaulting barrel.  I over shot it a little and almost completely jumped over it headfirst, but I caught myself grabbing on the handles on the front wrapped in pink duct tape.  I frightened me a little when it tipped, but thankfully it didn’t go all the way over.

Once I was done demonstrating it was the counselors turn, and of course…

“Ladies First!”  Marshall trilled in a singsong voice.

Since there were six female counselors, we had three run the first round, the second three run the second round, then the two winners raced each other to see who the best of each gender was.  Rohan won the girls races, and then Java beat the other six guys that he raced.  We didn’t really call who won the overall reaches because a couple of the guy counselors blocked Java from running the race so that Rohan would make it back to me first, so he had a couple extra obstacles.

The campers absolutely adored seeing their counselors succeed or fail dramatically at the obstacle course.  Even the counselors seemed to enjoy participating.  The Simply Complicated Obstacle Course ended up being a resounding success even though I originally thought it would be a complete failure.