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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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 9

Entirely too much happened this week, so I'll have to give the short version of everything. We only had 20 campers, & it was a leaders in  training week. We took turns sleeping in the cabin with 12 girls who did a lot on their own. We also took turns during the day, so whoever wasn't working with the campers did work projects. My first one was to decorate a Christmas tree for a fundraiser. I went with Ebony, my Unit Leader. We had a blast & then ate at the Corner Bakery. It was awesome getting to sleep in  a cabin with no campers for more than just a weekend. The next day, I helped clean the program  room, which was a big job. I also went  with Ebony to get Kelsey from the airport the day before. We also helped plant flowers at camp.  We had a session in which we talked to campers about their disabilities & how they're not alone in their struggles & about programs that can help them get & keep a job  or apartment, etc. They shared a lot of their own information, & I really learned a lot. We got Thursday off because younger campers were arriving for the weekend. There was a going away party for me at Desi's then I got delicious frozen yogurt with some of the girls. Then before campers came, we played Catch Phrase. Someone was describing a word to Ebony, so they said, "Kissing disease," to which Ebony replied with enthusiasm: "Cooties!" She'd never heard of mono. So then they were saying, "What hides under your bed?" Her reply was "troll" rather than "monster." But I also didn't know some of the words. Apparently everyone knows that an attractive older woman is called a cougar. Oh,  & in order to get me to guess a type of run in track, Kelsey had to say, "What did Jesus die on?" Then I was like, "OH...cross country." It  was really fun. We actually played it during rest one day, & even the nurse joined us. We played again the next day  &  Desi joined us. Fun times. Then I went with Eb to take Kels to the airport again  & decided to drive to Lawrence's house to get through Dallas & so I could leave an hour later the next morning AND so I could see him before I left...he had to quit camp because his house flooded. So I met his beautiful, sweet, funny mom, saw boxes stacked all over his house, had artichoke tea on the floor, & heard some of the songs he made up about people at camp. In the morning, he sent me off with a bag of snacks, bottled water, & 8 envelopes...one for each hour I was on the road. I might have to post some of them on here eventually. They were really funny, creative, & meaningful. THEN, I drove through Arkansas for the first time! I ended up at Camp McDowell in Alabama where I hope to work in the spring. A man they called Big Dave gave a talk about birds & snakes. He had an owl & some kind of snake for them to touch. I learned that there are only about 7 poisonous types of snakes out of the 40 that are in the area. Also, Diamondback (makes me miss my girls: bling!) & Copperhead venom have been used in cancer research. Also, I've always been ok with throwing food out the window, but Big Dave had a valid point that it attracts animals to the road, where they then get run over. :( I spent the night there, which reminds me: my night at Lawrence's was the first time I'd slept in a room by myself in at least two & a half months. Anyway, this morning I ate breakfast at the camp & went on a short hike before it started raining. Then I talked to a couple of the girls about what it's like to work there. Then I drove the 3 hours to my sister's where they had a welcome home sign up for me. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week 8

It's crazy to think back on how scared I was & how unsure I was of whether I would like it or end up staying the whole fall. This is my last weekend off in Texas. It makes me super sad to think about that. Now I've already started thinking about trying to come back next fall. I don't think I could work during the summer because it's only 24 hours off rather than 48. Plus I have other camps that I'd like to work at during the summer. Anyway, it's gonna be hard next week knowing that it's my last time with all of these people especially since theymll all get to be together for another couple of weeks.

This week we had 3 campers that we've already had in our cabin at least once this fall. Then one other person didn't show up, so we only had 4 new campers with us. One was the easiest to get along with & she did everything for herself. She was also really funny, & I'm sad that I didn't get to spend more time with her. Another one loved her princess stickers & thought that tooting was hilarious. For the dance, I did face paint for her even though I didn't know what I was doing. She'd been asking for it all week, so I painted a rose on one side & a rainbow on the other. She requested that the rainbow have black in it, too. :) She's really nice but also tough. Another camper was really sweet but had tourettes, so that was kinda funny. She actually didn't do any shouting very frequently, which made it even more surprising when she actually did. She had such a beautiful smile, though, & would often say thank you for little things we did. The funniest moment with her, though, was after I had showered her on my night out. Instead of going out, though, I decided to take a shower myself. One of the girls who was in was going to finish helping her get ready for bed, so I got my clothes & toiletries together, & just when I got my hair all wet, the camper's face pops in & she grins. I peek out the other side & she looks at me with that same smile. So I put my head back in the shower & she pokes her in again. It was about as awkward as having a 2 year old niece do the same thing...the only problem was that I knew how  much she loved the water, so I wasn't sure what I'd do if she came all the way in. So I grabbed my towel & took her to the other counselors who had a good laugh about it. Then we had Mary. Her group home that dropped her off told me she didn't talk. Then when she started talking, they said she just repeats stuff. We have so many good quotes from her. Mainly it was, "You're hungry. You're hungry, Mary. Don't take other people's food. It's not yours, Mary." We had to watch her constantly, & every day we discovered more things that she'd say, like: "Cat says meow," & "Mary, you know you think that guy's cute," & "Mary wants a kiss." She also counted to 13 if you got her started by saying 1. Thankfully we didn't get her to talk as much until the last day...the one where she stayed up til 2am saying she's hungry.  And Mary doesn't have a whisper ever. So I heard her across the room while my headphones were in. I went to sleep at about 1:15 & wakeup was at 7. I'm not sure if this is teaching me that I COULD have & take care of kids of my own or if it's confirming that I shouldn't. I like that I get a break from it every weekend. :)

Also, we had a staff member who worked on the boys' side for a while come to help us for the rest of the year. She's great & fits in well, so even though we're still down one person, it's the best that it's been all season. She's actually worked in a couple of other cabins & said that ours is so relaxed & we get along really well. :)

OH, and we had these amazing volunteers on Wednesday from a Christian discipleship program. They stayed with us from breakfast to dinner & helped & were so much fun. They prayed with us before we left & said they'll continue to pray for us. I loved it! One of them also told me about Christian Camping International because her uncle helps with it, & they help people find jobs at camps around the world. :D It might come in handy since I love it so much that I think I could do it forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 7

One of the counselors in my cabin left on Wed. for good. That left 4 people total where most have 6. Instead of leaving us more stressed, though, it actually left us less stressed. I think she didn't really enjoy being here anyway & it affected everyone.

As for the campers this week, we had one who believed she was married to Elvis. She had about 50 pictures of him with her & would get us to help her choose which one to eat each meal with. It was fantastic. Another one always went into the bathroom to spray Kelsey's  perfume. She also got a hold of a journal & wrote/scribbled all over it. Thankfully, we used that one for her since it was the first day & nothing had been written in it yet. Another lady was deaf which made me really sad that I didn't know sign language & esp. that I didn't know the alphabet very well. I still had fun with her, figuring out what she wanted & laughing together. She could read lips which also helped. She gave me her address at the end. :) Another had been in our cabin before. We also had a girl who cracked up when I spoke in an accent, & she loved my stuffed Larry. Kim was very quiet but beautiful. She'd stay sitting up in bed doing nothing until everyone else was laying down asleep. She had a cute smile, too. Another lady girl couldn't say much besides yeah. She was fully aware of everything, so she laughed a lot & loved socializing. Then we also had a lady who played Old Maid with us which I was excited about. She was scared to ride a horse but finally did it. :) She would also pick up anything from the ground like it was treasure. It could be a penny or a bead or a top to a soda can.

Lawrence's house flooded a couple of weeks ago, so he's been gone to help with that, but he came back this week, which was super fun. Then I went home with Larissa for the weekend. We watched The Music Never Stopped, which we'd never heard of but ended up loving. Shayna was with us, too, so 3 people agreed that it was great which is more impressive. Anyway, then we went to the mall where we met up with Jonathan & his bff Cody. We sampled some yummy tea! :) Also, Larissa's parents took us out to eat. It was great being in a family environment. We cooked supper together the next night & Larissa taught us some yoga moves. Then we watched Pride & Prejudice, but were so tired that we didn't finish it. Now I'm back on camp, so anything I missed will have to wait.