I have been the Commandant since 2006. I attend the whole Camp and sleep in the tent at the top of Main Street. I keep a watchful eye over Camp. We sing a Camp song, “here’s to good old Commie, who takes the place of mommy”, and that, effectively, is my role. However, I have many more assistants than the normal mommy, so my job description includes regular communications with the Adjutant, making sure the Backstreeters do their various jobs energetically, liaising with the Vlei Master (disciplinary officer), convening and presiding at parliament, including the High Court of Parliament (where summary trials are heard and justice is dispensed) ensuring that Cookie has enough ingredients, the Sea Lords enough spare parts for the boats and the Earl of Hampton enough toilet paper, and many more ad hoc duties which crop up. My late father was a Circle member in the 1930s and attended Camp until the year before he died. I was a tent leader in 1973. My son was in the Circle and Back Street. This Camp is in my blood and bones.
I am, and have been, an avid camper and supporter of “Camp” since 1966 which was my first camp. The Rev Wakeling was the Commandant then, and it was a small camp with something like 25 members of the ”Circle”, about 12 Staff Officers, and Main Street varying between 5 and 15. Prior to coming to the camp I had been taken to the “Dimple” site any times and gone to sit on the rocks in the setting sun, to see the boys coming in from their day’s outings, with my father, Alric. The picture of the Camp had been painted for me by the time I was eight or nine years old. The colour of evening with the sun lowering into the west, pink, cobalt, and orange. These pastel colours, all merging into the landscape of water lightly lapping on the shore, the weed-banks and wading birds, all quiet in the lazy movement of evening air.
Being a Simpson meant keeping the responsibility of making sure that I never left a task only half-tackled, and to drink thirstily of the opportunity afforded by proximity to such an unusual, individualistic, strong-hearted group of men. Laughter and blisters went together on any day. Enthusiasm and energy, on each of those long days, was met with the deepest of sleep that a young boy could have achieved. Learning to sail, walk, play, participate, help, think, innovate, and respect others, and also, just to keep going.
I was Adjie for three or four years from the age of about 20, after having spent “Staff Officer” years as the likes of “Earl of Hampton Court”, the “Commander of the Flotilla”, “Boundary Officer”, “Assistant Sub Adjutant”, and since have shouldered the approximate office of “The Marquee Man”.
Countless expeditions to the top of Rocklands (Maanschijnkop) (at least an average of 1.5 per year since about age 14), and to the small docking spot of Stanford, lie deeply among rich memories cast around the unique landscape known in the minds of those still present, as in the legends of those whose souls have gone steadfastly before.
There you have it, my friend. A sketch of Mark Simpson, Family Man, Farmer, Conservationist and “Camp” Enthusiast. Proud father of Robert, Henry, and Ellie Simpson. Robert and Henry have been keen campers, and Ellie, having been a participator in the Girls' Camp.
The thing I value the most about the Hermanus Camp is the invaluable leadership experience that it gives me. The Jan 2018 camp is the 12th camp I have attended, and over the years I've gotten involved in various roles, first as tent leader, then in Backstreet, taking on some responsibilities for the watercraft as Rear Admiral, then Sea Lord (in charge of sailing) for a bit and now in Mainstreet I have been the Quartermaster (gulp!) for three years. The Quartermaster buys all the food for the 70 to 80 -odd people. When I'm not getting food, I lead hikes and skipper boats on expeditions.
Running the camp can be challenging, but I think I learn valuable lessons every time I do it. The important lessons I have learnt (also through other leadership roles elsewhere) is to delegate tasks to other people, and to get a team to help you if you have a big task to do. Those are useful skills!
I also helped create the new song book and for some reason I'm maintaining the website as well.
My role is to support the welfare of all at camp and to lead reflection, prayer and celebration to assist personal growth and good leadership.
Gordon is the father of two campers, was once a keen Boy Scout, and is now an ordained Anglican pastor leading one of the churches in the Parish of St John, Wynberg.
Born in Zambia, he grew up in Durban and Johannesburg, studied law at Rhodes and theology in London and at Durham University. He loves good food, intelligent conversation, beautiful music and peaceful contemplation of the great outdoors - so obviously absolutely suited to the Hermanus camp!
As a native Natalian (now KZN), Richard Ferguson never attended the AHC as a member of the circle, but was introduced to the AHC through the attendance of both his sons who thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted hugely from, attending the camp for a number of years. He was lulled into accepting the position of Treasurer by a silvery tongued member of the AHC committee who “asked if he would look after the bank account for an interim period while they found a Treasurer” which he later discovered was exactly the same fate that befell his predecessor of 40 years standing, Keith Richardson, in 1974. Richard has strived to optimize on Keith’s, minimalist but appropriate and effective style of treasury management, but to date has not been successful in this regard. He notes however that the camp does not appear to have any trouble in maintaining its sound financial position due to the ongoing generosity of its many and varied supporters and benefactors.
I am counsel for the prosecution in the High Court of Parliament where we regularly try guilty backstreeters and dispense justice on the hop. I am also a very keen singer and regale the concert with compositions that would make Cacofonix wince. Bodysurfing is a personal favourite, flippers are advised.
Nigel was deposited at Camp by his wicked uncle at the age of 11 and apart from a year or two overseas has attended every camp since. He has an active life having to juggle his desire for being at camp with the growing needs of the expanding Annual Hermanus Girls Camp, which takes place at Wortelgat, and numerous friends who arrive from overseas. He tends to get involved in arranging centenary banquets and being a past Adjutant, passing sage comments on the running of camp to exhausted incumbents who politely ignore the said advice. His favourite expeditions are the big ones of Rocklands, Stanford and Dangers (although increasingly only half, and certainly not together!). While at camp he can be found at sunset hanging onto his favourite trig-beacon overlooking the wonderful expanse of beach, camp, mountain and vlei.