I went to the second ever boot camp back in 2010 and felt I was the stupidest person there. I don’t think I cried but I’m pretty sure I sulked a bit and someone went home early. Kim was back for his second camp. I’m going to Tresaith next week for my 5th bootcamp and I think it might be my last, not because I’m perfect, by any means, but because I know I can and I know I do speak real Welsh to real Welsh people. My excuse is that I have a Welsh exam in June with 45% of the marks based on an oral exam and I want to remind myself of the complexity of things I can say.
So, at the beginning I felt stupid, and aspired to be like those who ‘appeared’ to be ‘better’ than me, and now I know that some people aspire to be like me. I certainly hope I don’t intimidate anybody, but I know that is sometimes the case even though I don’t mean to.
I’m all for a mix of abilities. Someone to help, someone to be helped by. We all need both sorts of people, in our lives and in our boot camps. At every boot camp I’ve asked the ‘leader/facilitator’ some question or other and they’ve said ‘I don’t know’ and that is all right.
There has been (at least one) bootcamp not led by Iestyn or Aran. In 2011 David and Christine led a camp. How they felt about it I don’t know, but perhaps the work could be shared out a bit more if needed.
After my last bootcamp, June 2014, I stoped calling myself a learner and usualy, unless caught on the hop, call myself a speaker. Sometimes I even say ‘I have learnt Welsh’.
So I’m not quite sure what I want to say in this post except that bootcamp is immensely useful and, for the first time, pretty stressful. That all sorts of people are needed there. That perhaps we get to graduate, eventually.