A Day in the Life - A Counselor Perspective (Sessions 3 & 4, July 7)

By Sandy Schenck

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

7:15 The first bell has just rung.

7:30 We have to set for Breakfast! I’m singing my boys awake. I take requests; this morning it’s “Oh, what a Beautiful Morning”

7:50 We are ringing the bell ourselves this time. To urge the rest of camp out of warm beds and into a warm lodge. On chillier mornings there is a crackling fire to greet us.

8:03 We are singing our morning greeting to the sun. I’m thinking about biscuits.

8:08 My campers vaporize the breakfast formerly before us. They are 13- this happens every meal.

9:02 Breakfast wraps-up with the ORT report and the lodge erupts when we find that we are once again in Coolesville. (very little food waste) If this keeps up, Director Paul won’t get out of the session without going in the lake.

9:15 The bell rings alerting campers to meet in the east field for their hikes. My campers leave reluctantly— this will be the last mentor hike that some of them get to go on.

9:30 Buses depart and hiking groups are sprinkled throughout the preserve. I’m going from Lower Bald to Upper Bald. We stuff ourselves with the (finally!) ripe blueberries while enjoying the best view in camp.

12:45 We gather in the lodge again for lunch and these kids have earned it! It’s chicken sandwiches. One of my campers actually jumped with joy.

1:55 Lunch is concluding and the cleanest cabins are announced. Hemlock Hut 2 and Spirit Winds 1 took the prize today, but my boys are hungry for it (that, and more chicken).

2:36 We are nap deep into rest hour and although the entirety of Fireside 1 pleaded to play cards because they were “Anything but tired” — they are all asleep; two passed out with letters from home still in their hands.

3:02 All tiredness is erased as the camp springs to life and out the door. Activities 7 and 8 are to be completed today. I’m teaching Creative Writing and then Painting. My Writing students never fail to be hilarious. Stories with monkeys bounce around the table as we share our free writing. The painters have a much calmer demeanour. The Craft Lodge is silent as they paint— drawing from National Geographic’s or what’s just off the porch.

4:58 I clean up paint as the campers anxiously await free time.

5:00 The bell rings and they fly out of the Craft Lodge like birds from a cage; off to the zipline, I’m guessing, but I’ll see them there too.

5:07 I have the zipline set up and the afternoon’s first customer is ready to go whizzing across the lake. She wants me to scream “Trailing Cedars Rocks!” to her when she needs to drop. I oblige.

6:15 It’s Cabin Time— our little “brush-up” period before dinner. The boys finally got the card game they were after and all 7 sit on the floor in a circle.  I remind them it is pirate night and the game is forgotten. They all begin painting on tattoos and long caterpillar-like scars. After 3 years of being on staff, I can draw a perfect skull and crossbones.

6:35 My cabin is forming a perfect line in front of the lodge as we teach pirate lingo. The lesson isn’t long— as grunting is pretty easy. We eat dinner to dimmed lights and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” soundtrack playing in the background. The staff have mock sword fights. It’s dinner theater, really.

7:37 The most dramatic move of the meal occurs as Pirate Night shifts into Staff Hunt. A whistle blows and previously selected staff members (now, wanted pirate criminals) tear out of the lodge to hide themselves around the preserve. Once the campers are released they search with their cabin group to find a few members of the surly bunch.

8:28 My cabin finds someone and we correctly guess their name. (Staff members hide with their faces concealed.) My boys are thrilled because this means we get to push him in the lake.

8:29 Another GRP staff member is now soaking wet. “Justice!”, my campers cry.

9:05 Shower time. To many a camper’s dismay, they have to shower every day of the session.

9:37 The newly straightened cabin smells like soap. We all sit in a circle talking about our day. We each share a rose (the highlight), thorn (something we wish had gone differently) and our bud (the biggest expectation for tomorrow). Once again- there were no thorns.

10:34 I read to my guys each night and finally wrap up the last chapter— all I hear from them are snores and to me that sounds like a pretty good idea. I roll into bed, ready to do it all again at the sound of the next bell.

-Joe Wadlington

*Many thanks to Joe for being our guest blogger—you can find pictures from July 8 here!