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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 2

I'm starting to wonder if there will ever be a week that seems easier than the rest. The campers definitley make it worth it, though.

I feel bad that I thought this, but before I came, I expected the campers to be really annoying, but they're no more annoying than anyone else. I haven't had a camper yet that I didn't love.

One thing about last week is that I wasn't scheduled for one of my breaks. I thought it was just because we only had 5 people instead of 6, but my leader told me this week that it was wrong. So it was nice to have more breaks this week. :)

However, this week still had it's difficulties. It was not a fun time of the month for me, so I felt grouchy & constantly hungry & my back hurt, which was bad because we had 3 campers that we had to push in wheelchairs & help in the bathroom. Besides that, I almost had a heart attack when I witnessed a camper back himself off of a 2 foot ledge while in his wheel chair. He wasn't one of my campers, so I didn't feel so responsible, & later I  had a blast dancing with him. :)

Some highlights are:

When a camper said, "Megan, I want you to get wet." They were supposed to choose a counselor to throw water on, so I said, "Why me?" to which she replied, "Because...it's not fair for Ebony to get wet...she's nice." Hahaha! Love it!

When I got to teach campers from other cabins how to juggle.

When campers wanted my address & a picture taken with me...& when one of them even said I was her favorite. :D

When we were at the cookout all busy making dinner & all of a sudden we hear a loud, deep automated voice from a camper who is like a grandpa that said, "You better keep an eye on Jason; you never know when he might run off." We all stopped & looked at each other like, "Where did that come from & did that really just happen? If so, then that's now my favorite moment of camp." :)

When a camper with hair like a lion's mane was so crazy in the morning that only a gallon of water would tame it. That night when the nurse came in to give their meds, the nurse's hair was down. It's usually up in a ponytail, so we were all like, "It looks so good." The camper agreed & said, "Yeah, you should wear it like that every day; it looks like mine in the mornings."

When another grandfatherly camper was so glad I danced with him & then said, "Where have you been all my life?"

When "My Wish" was played at the dance & it reminded me of my high school slideshow, so I felt like my family & friends from back home were singing it to me & saying, "My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to. I hope your dreams stay big, your worries stay small. You never need  to carry more than you can hold, & while you're out there gettin' where you're  gettin' to, I hope you know somebody loves you & wants the same things, too." At graduation, I never thought I'd be in Texas!

When campers were sad to hear that I won't be back next summer.

When I tried Starbucks Coffee for the first time because our secret cabin gave it to us at breakfast one morning.

Going to Walmart by myself during my evening off & discovering a little courtyard with a humongous & beautiful pecan tree.

Listening to a CD that Kevin sent me in the mail & feeling my soul revive from the exhaustion by seeing the bigger picture for a while. Another difficulty was saying goodbye to one of the counselors in our cabin who accepted a different job & will no longer be here. :( But that reminds me: we get a new counselor in our cabin tomorrow!

Getting so much mail that other counselors are starting to want more mail. Keep it coming, though! I don't want my reputation of being popular & getting fan mail to go away. :) Plus, I like knowing what's going on outside of camp.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Camp Week 1

Well, my group had a horse fall with a camper on it. She was fine, but it was heart-sinking to watch. We also had a camper throw up in the middle of the night & then again in the daytime (at horses actually) later in the week. I  was with her when it happened at horses. Thankfully, the only  clean-up I had to do was hose off the bench & the ground. We only got about 10 minutes in the pool, which reminds me that we were late to almost everything. We had a couple of slow walkers. :)

But despite everything, I had a blast! It was exhausting but so fulfilling. Some personal accomplishments were helping a camper shower for the first time (We had women from the age of 30 to 60.), lifting those in wheelchairs to help them onto the toilet (All of this was less awkward, but more draining, than I'd anticipated. The ladies were really sweet & patient & thankful.), & helping hoist a camper up the rock wall.

These women were also hilarious!!! They have the cutest grins. Aww, I miss them. At our cookout, 3 of them sat around me with their heads on my lap. Then one of them led us in the best rendition of "Silent Night" that I've ever heard. :) It was so fun & sweet, so then we all sang "Jinglle Bells." I asked one of them to put her socks on, & she saluted me & said, "Aie, aie, Captain" One of them wore a big baby outfit to the dance & even had a giant baby bottle that she drank her water from.

Through the week, we also had secret pals between the counselors. Mine bought me a strawberry limeade from Sonic, gave me a glittery note, & had other counselors & campers give me high fives during lunch. For mine, I wrote him a bedtime story & a descriptive acronym using his name. Then I sent him a text from someone else's phone. I also had counselors tell him their best cheesy pickup lines. One of my  campers found out that someone didn't get a secret pal, so she made him a really cute card. He made one for her, too. She was soooo excited.

Thanks for the letters you've sent me. I miss home, but I'm having fun. Oh, & I got my first paycheck today. :)

Sorry for the typos, I'm doing this on my phone

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finally a Whole Day Off

Today I've written 5 letters. I think I'm caught up now. I didn't wake up until 9:30 (typically it's been between 7 & 8). I drank some chamomile/lavendar tea that Reina sent me.

Some highlights from the past week and a half have been:

crossing the Mississippi for the first time in my life
learning new songs especially the ones we sing for grace before meals
having campers for a weekend
learning to pull someone off a horse & catch them
playing a pregnant person in a skit of what not to do during time off
getting a package from Reina
passing the swim test so I can take campers to the deep end
being the "lost camper" in the training drill
watching the last half of the Matrix
watching part of an episode of I Love Lucy as part of training not to gossip
not quitting
not messing anything up for the campers
surprising everyone by being able to juggle under my legs
answering get-to-know-you questions & hearing other people's answers
helping solve tweny-minute murder mysteries
building a fort out of beds as practice in case of a tornado
learning how to pick someone up with one or two other people
filling out a journal for my partner as practice for when we write camper's journals
realizing that I'm getting paid to journal for the next 3 months :)
sharing my fear & hope, & hearing everyone else share theirs
reading the list of 80 encouraging things to say & choosing a random number to encourage a few of the other staff members
thinking that one of the 101 stress relievers was "tell someone you love them as a joke" (It was actually "tell someone you love them/a joke")
realizing how much I have in common with the campers
hearing campers laugh/seeing them smile
getting to know each camper as an individual
being in Texas on the day that tied them for the summer with the most days that had a high of at least 100 & also for the day that broke that record
being barefoot during time off

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11 Ten Years Ago

This is the journal entry that my friend (Reina) wrote in her journal on the day of 9/11/01.
She was about 11, and you can see that some of her details are wrong
because she was still unsure of what had happened.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Favorite Love Story

Learning to Breathe Again has been my favorite book for years, and today marks the 10 year mark of the story told in it. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend doing so. I'm pretty sure I read it in a day. I think it's appropriate for me to write about it on this blog because not only is it a true story, but it also gives details about some of the notes her husband wrote her.

Here is one of my favorite poems, which also goes along with Tammy Trent's book:

I envy not in any moods
         The captive void of noble rage,
         The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
         His license in the field of time,
         Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
         The heart that never plighted troth
         But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
         I feel it, when I sorrow most;
         'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
             -Lord Tennyson

What's your favorite love story?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Texas, Here I Come!

Monday I'll be driving to my sister's house in Alabama followed by a 15 or so hour drive to a place just above Dallas, TX on Tuesday.

This time last week, I was still hoping for a job at Subway or Piggly Wiggly & especially as a substitute teacher at a school in walking distance. I was living with my sister, babysitting/homeschooling her 5 kids while she went to college twice a week. This I will miss very much, but at least I had the pleasure for a month.

Then, realizing that the experience I have that I've loved most has been being involved in summer camps. I searched year-round camps in AL & found about three. They had already begun camp or at least had their employees. Next, I found one in NC...also no longer in need of anyone until maybe January or February.

It was pretty discouraging because they were jobs it seemed like I'd love to do. I would have been teaching children and youth about nature and how to appreciate it, use it, and enjoy it. All on a beautiful campus.

If it hadn't happened this way, I'm certain I never would have ended up working at Camp Summit in Texas. I've never really been drawn to Texas or working with people with disabilities. The way it all happened really makes me think it's what God wants me to do. Knowing that helps me deal with all the fears I have. I know that I can do it if it's what He wants. Some songs that have already helped me are: "You Know Where to Find Me" by Matthew West & "Someday" by Nichole Nordeman. The first was one that seemed as if God would need to sing it over me in the middle of an exhausting, frustrating week of camp. The second is like a song a friend would reassure me of when I'm wondering why people even have disabilities & thinking of how unfair it is. I've already begun to consider how the roles could have been reversed and I could be in a wheel chair unable to do so many things I love or in a mental state that didn't allow me to graduate from college or write letters. One big thing it's teaching me is to appreciate what I have & can do even more. I'm even more thankful for the health of my family & friends, but I'm also more aware that it could change in a moment.

Anyway, the worst part of the job is that I have to wear close toed shoes except when I'm on break. My feet are gonna become sissies. Pale sissies. However, something cool that I found out yesterday is that this will be the first fall of camp. They've had years of summer camp but never a fall one, which should be exciting. :)

Some other details are:

They'll give me room & board as well as payment for each week.
It ends Dec. 11, & I get a week off for Thanksgiving.
They have 170 acres & will have horseback riding!
The two women I talked to on the phone seemed really sweet, fun, & excited.
I'll be helping feed, bathe, & assist campers in going to the bathroom.

So please keep me in your prayers. It will be a lot of new stuff for me, but I'm really excited. I actually had interview over the phone with Nikki, the assistant director, before I'd even finished my application because we needed to get everything done quickly. She gave me some scenarios of situations that could occur and asked how I would handle them. She made me feel a lot more confident when she informed me that she had no experience her first summer of camp and was really unsure of whether or not she could do it. Then she said it actually sounded like I'd be good at it. This is news to me even though family & friends seem to agree. I know that I can do it, too, but I feel like I'll be living the next 3 months emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. I think I'll always feel behind on keeping up with relationships back home, taking care of myself, and drawing closer to God. But maybe I'll be able to balance these better than I expect. One way that you could help is by sending me letters that include your prayers for me at this time, news from your own life, & Bible verses that could keep me going back to the Bible.

It would make my day to hear from you, & you can start sending mail today because I'll be there September 6 in preparation for training which begins Sept. 7 & goes through the 15.

Megan Starbuck
C/O Camp Summit
921 A Copper Canyon Rd.
Argyle, TX 76226

And since I won't have much internet access, I'm gonna have to put a pause on my blog posts. I'll probably still do some updates similar to this each week. I'm grateful to be able to pay off my student loans once they start really becoming due.