Hey so my names Ben (Harness – there’s a few of us) and I’m going to take you on a visual journey through who I am, what I’m about and what I’m excited to share with you all at camp! I love photography and figure it’s a good way to introduce myself though if I’m honest I’m nervous to share myself and this is my first summer so am eager to become part of the community! I’d imagine some of you can empathise with feeling nervous and excited – so let’s first agree that we’ll all go easy on one another and embrace who we each are 🙂
So there’s my family – Mummy Hilary, Poppa Nige and Sister Snail (Abi) and now Johnny her inspiring fiance – a new member of our family Brother Johnny or J-man as I know him. Last but by no means least, who could forget my childhood sweetheart and partner in mischief Ruthie Rufio or Rufus…(but don’t call her that :P).
Then there’s these two lovely wiggly-waggly folk my doggy brothers Maynard and Barlen, there was also Elliot but we’ll come to hear more about these fellas a little later. I’ve also got funny hair – it’s all my own and I’ve been growing it 8/9 years now – I always say I had to commit to something (hair just so happened to be what I chose). And I’m from England in case you were interested. I’ve made some beautiful family from around the world on my travels thus far and I’m excited to add y’all to that category with the adventures we’re set to have this Summer and for many to come!
I love music. I love language. I love playing and messing around. I love sharing all of these things and collaborating/creating with others – that’s where you are all going to come in. I’ve never worked with so many young people and I’m crazy excited to be able to share this experience with you and hopefully guide and help out along the way – embracing fun (I love to laugh), adventure (let’s climb that mountain/tree), mindfulness (let’s move in our bodies and embrace our breath and minds) and compassion and balance through our dealings together (working together to create a beautiful environment of possibilities and experiences).
I’m excited to use my body – movement is brilliant fun and I’m psyched to explore new ways we can use our bodies differently, more creatively and more freely. I enjoy flow sports, fire, outdoor activities, the wilderness and just general tomfoolery and madness.
So my dogs. Maynard is my best friend and his portable spirit lives in my teddy bear Spugsy who has been all over the world with me. Maynard is now 13 so 91 in doggy years and Barlen is nearer 7 so maturing into his adult years. I did also grow up with a beautiful gentleman of a dog Elliot – he was my guardian for the years you are likely experiencing now – what a dude!
So incase you hadn’t guessed – I also love animals – do you? I find it hard to truly think of anyone who doesn’t like animals but maybe you’re one of those people – if so I’d love to convince you of their awesomeness – check out these relationships I’ve had with animal kin. From lambs that I’ve helped grow up, to doggy friends the world over, brief encounters with cats and crocodiles, hooved friends, long necked lads, the underwater world and even some human animals that are my bros – Boris has been my longest standing friend – he’s also called Ben really and has been my best friend since the first day of high school – now 10 years ago. We hardly see one another but when we do it’s just like old times. Animals are my friends alongside my longstanding friends. I’m excited to be friends with you and hopefully help you have the best summer ever – meeting the animals and the nature with excitement and enthusiasm.
I guess the animals go hand in hand with their environment and it’s that habitat of us all that I love most. Nature enthralls me. Inspires me. Is me. Is us. I swim in it, run and jump in it, explore it’s cavities, go high above it, look out afar from it, climbs it’s limbs, dive into it’s waters, interact with it. Star to tree. I’m so excited to explore nature with you and experience living in a wild environment among mother nature herself. I’m excited to see what you know about nature and just whether you realize how incredible it is and vital to us all.
But you might not like all the creepy crawlies but I love ‘em. Sticky, spiney, strange critters are my favourite. Spiders therefore gets a prime rank in my ratings of cool parts of nature – they’re just so strange and spindley – creepy crawling. Living in the rainforest in Australia for a while gave me a renewed appreciation of the planet’s diversity – wow! I’m interested in how we can protect and ensure we appreciate our surroundings – the creepy and the crawly alike.
Like I said I love outdoor activities and pursuits and travelling this last 3-4 years around Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia has given me a beautiful range of opportunities to pursue different things. I’ve sky dived, bungeed, caved, climbed, run, camped, kayaked, canoed, surfed, wild swam and loved challenging my fear of heights and using my body to embrace wild experiences. What fears might we face at camp? What awesome opportunities can we explore together – I love and loathe heights in equal measure and water as these dreadies get pretty heavy when their soaking.
As you’ve now gathered I’ve enjoyed travelling and working around the Southern Hemisphere for the most part this last 4 years. Prior to that I also worked in a leadership charity for some years and it really enabled me to follow my dream and see and meet an astounding array of beautiful people. It’s also given me lots of hands on experience driving vehicles, creating spaces, observing cultures, visiting hobbits, having plenty of time for play, fun and photographing some stunning spectacles along the way.
Mostly I’m called to the mountains and often wheels in their various forms: I guess I also have a healthy love for speed – be it on a bicycle down an alp, on a board down a wave, on skis through the snow, down a road on a board or through a 4×4 track into the outback – I love experiencing speed and my environment. Like I say the mountains – they call me – do they call you? What calls you? I once cycled from Lands End in the South of England to John O’Groats in the North of Scotland. I then joined a cycle club and some years later biked from London to Monte Carlo. Phwoar – I love a good bicycle tour. And this Land Rover Defender was the first four wheel drive car I owned and repaired to run. I like cars and vehicles – I drove a 12 tonne truck in Australia and got my Heavy Rigid license while there – what a buzz!
I also LOVE creatures of the mysterious realm – DRAGONS, GOBLINS and even ZOMBIES now and then! Check out my selection and it’s worth noting that Dragonheart is one of my favourite movies…along with The Goonies so I guess PIRATES too! I’m excited to try out some of my impressions and see what a bit of improv might create in the moment.
Which brings me to ART – I love to create and find art so boundless, so freeing and it can pretty much be anything you want – from a painting that hangs in a gallery to a pile of rocks and sticks you intentionally organised in some way…who’s to say? What do you think of art? What art do you like to create? A beautiful building, a photograph, a cartoon, graffiti on a wall, a sculpture in your park, a story, a poem, a song…what shall we create together this summer?
Creation and collaboration are central to my enthusiasm for my first Summer at Camp Augusta – it strikes me that I’m entering into another dimension – a world beyond our world – a place free and open to opportunities…I am so excited to see what special wakeups I can create with the community, cabin activities we can do together and celebrations we can develop in community with everyone at camp.
It’s worth noting that I’ve got a fellow travel companion – you might even meet her but check us out on our adventures thus far…and our next adventure together is California with you guys – I cannot wait to grow and experience with all of you – let’s make this an unforgettable summer – eeeeek I’m SOO EXCITEEEDDDDD! WAHOOOOOOO!
*Dances off enthusiastically with the goblins and pixies…
Call me Ben, but let’s come up with a better nickname – I’m open to suggestions.