Day 8 - View from the Cabin
By Sandy Schenck
A counselor’s day
I frequently take song requests the night before then gently wake my campers to another day of camp with my charmingly off key renditions. Its funny, at camp I have no problem getting up on time and launching 6 young minds into the day, while at home the snooze button is often used. Things are different at GRP, better even.
Breakfast is under way and it’s French Toast Day. “Even the toast is better at Camp!”, my camper Grainger says. “That’s great man! Now, drink a little more water before your hike.” I love my job. I like to have fun with my campers, but I enjoy taking care of them too.
Each day breakfast ends with three skits, in fact, most GRP meals are followed by a skit of some kind. Personally, I work on coming up with a “Word of the Day” skit each morning. After learning a new word, a new bird, and “Ben” of the day, the kids hit the ground running.
By mid morning our campers are far into their mentor hikes. Counselors go on these as well and today I am going with a group to the farm. They did this hike when I was a camper and it has just been added back this year. In this first year on the farm we are already producing great vegetables to bring back to the dining room. The campers enjoy getting their hands dirty; most have never worked in a large vegetable garden. We harvested 42 lbs of potatoes, some squash and cucumbers. All the campers got to harvest and wash them; they will get the satisfaction of eating them at lunch in a few days.
We are having BBQ Chicken Sandwiches today for lunch, one of my favorites. Mentors stand-up and detail their hikes to the entire camp. Today hike leaders reported sighting a deer, a copperhead, bear tracks, rock faces, salamanders, trout, and more (for those keeping track we are up to 3 out of 4 animals to achieve the Grand Slam). Several campers even bested the climbing tower and started their own fires with just flint and a piece of steel- they are all encouraged by ceaseless rounds of applause. After the tables are wiped down I am up in front again with another skit. We have to announce the cleanest cabins for the morning. The cleanest were Big Laurel II and Whippoorwill I; we sometimes have a dirtiest cabin as well.
Rest Hour follows lunch, and the campers have earned it. For what seems like just a few minutes we all get to slow down in our bunks. This is when most of my campers get their reading time in, both books from home and fresh letters.
After rest hour Activity Periods start, each of our staff members have something to bring to the table and it really shows during these periods. My first period is spent teaching a small group Creative Writing. It’s a really fun class for me to teach- after all- it is my major. For my 2nd period I am assisting Fencing. The Counselor teaching it is ranked 3rd in her state. Naturally, I don’t mind letting her take the lead. Then I hear the challenge I was hoping wouldn’t arise- “Joe, why don’t you fence Alexis?” To the entertainment of half my cabin I spent the next 5 minutes getting beat pretty soundly by a younger co-worker.
After the two activity periods our campers have some free time. I go to the lake to watch a few of my campers jump off the zip line (I promised I would). Then I buzz up to the office to write this very blog entry (the counselors rotate through stations with the campers and taking a short break). So that’s my day so far. In 6 minutes Free Time will be up and I will run back to my cabin to turn my group of campers into a crew of swashbucklers; tonight is Pirate Night after all. Then I will don camo and face paint to hide in the woods for Staff Hunt. If campers find me they get to throw me in the lake. Trust me, I’ll hide well.
Have a Great Day, I did!
Counselor- Little Tree
Slide Show Day 8
Don’t miss yesterday – we added a few more photos to yesterday’s album this morning.