JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Camette Standley spent a day polishing a ball of mud she collected in her Ferndale backyard.
Hikaru Dorodango is a Japanese art form in which earth and water are molded to create a delicate shiny sphere. It translates to English as “mud dumpling” and was one of the tasks for this year’s Greatest International Scavenger Hunt.
This is Standley’s first year as a GISH team member, but it illustrates her personal philosophy.
“I like to take adventures,” she said.
“I like to try new things. I like to keep learning. I feel that it is important to experience as much as we can because life is short.”
The 32-year-old Portage Area High School graduate is the wife of Owen Standley, who is well-known in local theater and music circles.
Camette Standley supports her husband’s endeavors – even stage-managing for Cresson Lake Playhouse’s next production of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” – and she enjoys adventures of her own, as well.
She was a member of the J-Town Roller Girls shortly after the team organized in 2013, although she never competed in an official match due to what she calls a “career-ending injury” during a scrimmage.
“That was a lot of fun,” Standley said.
“I made a lot of really good friends. I formed lifelong bonds. We still keep in touch and we still hang out.”
Standley’s adventures include traveling to new places.
“I like to find the weird things when I travel,” she said.
“I usually visit some sort of cemetery, especially if it’s historically known or supposedly haunted with urban legends surrounding it.”
Her latest trip illustrates that.
Last month, Standley spent several days in New York in what she calls her “first big girl solo trip” to the city. Stops included the Circus Sideshow in Coney Island, the catacombs at The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, the Lego Store and Green-Wood Cemetery.
“I like to do the off-the-wall stuff,” she said.
“I’m definitely not one for the real touristy things. I know what I like. I like weird, macabre, yet cute, stuff. I tailor my adventures around that.”
Standley said she over-researches her trips ahead of time, even creating spreadsheets with things she wants to see, their general location, hours of operation and address.
“I feel like I’ve taken the trip before I actually take the trip,” she said.
The GISH scavenger hunt is some- thing Standley said she’s wanted to do for several years.
“I never had a group of friends that were willing to get involved in something like this,” she said.
This year’s event was held from July 30-Aug. 6 and included teams of players from around the world. Some of the goals Standley took on included the mud ball and getting pictures of a bride in a playground and a biker in a tutu.
The event has always been a fundraiser for worthy causes.
This year’s hunt benefited the Legacy of War Foundation’s work to support marginalized Ukrainians who have been displaced by the war.
Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.
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