Friday, June 26, 2015

Top 5 in my first 2 weeks

Top 5 things I've learned in my first two weeks of camp:

1. It's very nice to show up at meal time and have the meal cooked, served, and cleaned up for you. I could get used to that!

I've been working with the kitchen crew to plan menus, work out schedules, and get organized. We passed health inspection with flying colors! I didn't do anything to help with that but it was exciting none-the-less. #SoManyLawsInNYState

2.  I still remember how to swim!

This week we had to take a swim assessment. I was kinda freaking out about swimming in the freezing cold lake. Okay...I was definitely freaking out. It was so cold that it took my breath away when I jumped in (like Lake Cd'A in June). Anyway, by the time I got in and started swimming I realized how much fun I was having. It's been a long time. Maybe I'll do a polar bear plunge with my campers this year. #FunToBeAKid

3. I will sleep a lot better when there aren't two escaped murdered on the loose somewhere nearby.

I didn't really let this get to me too much. Although I did pretty much walk into every cabin expecting to see two scary guys in there. I did find a little comfort in the fact that we hired security guards to walk through camp all night with big dogs. Well, now that one guy has been shot and killed (just 18 miles down the road) and they are in hot pursuit of the other, I think I'll sleep a little more comfortably tonight. #OneDownOneToGo

4. LICE is real

So, I have learned over the past couple of days that we should totally expect to see lice at camp this summer, and every summer. I thought it was just one of those things that happened every once in a while but...NO! They say kids come to camp with lice! What? seriously! I had no idea. I guess it has to come from somewhere. Today when I was making beds I had to alternate which end of the bed that the pillows go on so that the lice don't jump from one to the other. YUCK! Needless to say, my hair will be up a lot this summer. Oh, and lice don't like greasy hair, so you're not supposed to wash. Wow, where am I??? #NoSharing

UPDATE: We just completed lice check. 1 case of lice! And I helped clean the girls head. No fun. She now has to be brushed out everyday for 2 weeks. What a pain! I'm going to be itching all night long.

5. You can find good people everywhere

This has been such an amazing social experiment for me. It's pretty wild to step into a situation where you leave your life and family and go live and work with people you don't know. At first it's lonely and intimidating but people are really great. I was having a sad moment and one of the young adults came up to me out of the blue and said, "You're going to be the best aid mom. They are so lucky to have you." Wow, that was so nice! It made my night! You can definitely find good people everywhere.

I miss my family. I try not to think too hard about them. When I see pictures they look so big. How can they really have grown that much in 2 weeks! I hope they made cookies today. It's Friday, after all. Thank goodness my amazing mother is home helping to take care of the kids. What an angel! I love her. And I know the kids are having a great time. Only a month until I get to see my boys. I can do it!
Mom and Cookie#4

I was asked to be the aid mom. The aids are 15-17 years old. I went flower picking for the bouquets. I'm looking forward to being their "camp mom."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Camp, Week 1

Last night I slept with my window opened to the sound of the poring rain. It wasn't as cold as it has been; I slept without my sweatshirt and my socks.  I'm still sleeping with 3 blankets on my bed though. They say this is typical of a early summer in the northeast. It will warm up, they say. For now I wear my rain boots for half the day (everyday) because the rain or the thick dew would leave any other shoes soaked. Good thing I followed the packing list! The cold hasn't bothered me much, especially because of the nice, warm indoor fires we have enjoyed.

My roommate is a sweetheart. She's quite a bit younger than me but we get along well. I was anxious to make a genuine connection with somebody, and I did with her. We stay up late and share about our lives. We have our own small room which is part of a larger cabin; it's nice. She's a world traveler with lots of interesting stories to tell. We have about 5 other international counselors, which adds a really nice dynamic and most definitely supports the original camp vision of promoting peace and understanding throughout the world.

One of my main responsibilities here at camp is working with the kitchen staff to make sure all runs smoothly and efficiently. I don't have a ton of kitchen experience but I do know how to troubleshoot and problem solve. You know I've started many spreadsheets collecting data about quantities, waste, expenses,etc. I'm kind of really enjoying the challenge. I 'm doing some office work as well. It's one more week until the campers arrive and things will get crazy. I'm looking forward to that. For now the staff and counselors are getting certified in CPR, RTE, and some in Life Guarding, to be ready for the children to arrive.

There is a lot to this! I've had to talk myself down from a few anxiety ridden thoughts. I know, I'm an adult but that doesn't mean it's easy to leave your home and your family, make friends, start a new job, and everything in between. I think I'll be able to relate well to the first time campers : ) I miss my family but so far so good. We Face Timed last night and it was great to see their loving faces. It helps that I have a rock solid husband who can handle just about everything. He's the best. I miss his hugs.

My mom arrives this week to stay with the kids. I'm so thankful. I'm hoping they have a wonderful time together. Today is CookieFriday. I'm pretty sure that the kids will be baking cookies back at home. If they've forgotten everything else I have ever taught them like table manners, how to make their beds, cleaning up their messes; I'm pretty sure they haven't forgotten how to make cookies.

A beautiful day at camp

Friday, June 12, 2015

You're Doing What!?! Mom's Summer Camp Adventure

Today is the first day of the most adventurous thing I've ever done. I guess a few other thing make the list (like getting married and having kids), but this is right up there at the top. Wanna guess?...No, not skydiving; no, not free climbing; no, not sailing around the world...I'm going to summer camp! For 9 weeks!  But that's not the whole of it. You see, for about 2 years now my family and I have been researching the opportunity of owning and running a summer camp. You know...Parent Trap style with cabins and fishing and swimming, etc. In fact, we have gone beyond the research phase and have jumped in with both feet! We sold the house (which we redesigned and remodeled a few years ago) and downsized, big time. We've simplified our lives in order to be prepared financially for when the perfect opportunity presents itself; these things can happen quickly. We decided our final "homework assignment" would be to actually try the role on for size. Although I have been a girls camp director for the past 6 summers, that was only a week long camp. I really haven't had the chance to experience the entire summer. So, I'm off!

I'm heading to a girls camp in Upstate New York. This is the part of the country where camping begin here in the US.  We visited this particular camp last fall and it was absolutely gorgeous! A dream, really. This camp is on the lake, so the girls get to spend the summer swimming, water skiing, sailing, fishing; along with all the other traditional camp activities. It's an international camp, attracting girls and counselors from all over the world. At almost 100 years old, this camp's history is rich and steeped in tradition. I love the priceless photographs of the girls in their bathing suits in the 1920's! And it all began with a young camp leader and her vision for what the world might be if we could all get to know one another. She believed that if girls from all over the could come together and become friends, the world might catch on. What a visionary woman!

I have something in common with this inspired camp leader; I, too, believe that children can change the world. She is a perfect example; she did! In starting her camp, she has changed the lives of countless numbers of youth. She has provided opportunities for learning, trying, failing, leading, playing, helping, meeting, loving, exploring, accepting, discovering, and on and on. In reality, it's bigger than even that. It's much more than just one life being changed. I agree with a wise woman who once said, "When you save a girl, you save generations." Think of the possibilities!

So, my journey begins. I'm excited, mostly. I'm nervous. I'm sad to leave my family (although my husband and boys will join me the last 3 weeks). But mostly I'm ready to begin this ultimate adventure and see if this camp lifestyle is for me and my family. I will plan to post updates on Fridays, if you care to join my journey. Let the camping begin!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Finding Your Passion!

 My mad scientist dissecting a lightbulb. Cookie#4, 2015

Did you know that Thomas Edison took naps on a table in the middle of his laboratory using books for pillows? Seriously! He wouldn't eat or sleep until he absolutely had to. He would awake in the middle of the night with an idea and get right to work. He was madly passionate about his experiments and as a result was one of the most prolific inventors of his time; holding over 1000 patents (singly or jointly). Amazing! Something inside of me stirs when I encounter a passionate person like Thomas Edison.

I find myself attracted to passionate people. I love their energy. There is something special about someone who finds that something that they CAN NOT NOT DO! You know the type- those who are incredibly busy running carpool, managing meal time, kissing scraped knees, coaching little league, proof-reading homework, putting up pony tails, and on and on; but still have time to compose, write, design, photograph, build, invent, sell, dream. That is so inspiring to me!

What makes people so different? Why don't we all have that passionate "Thomas Edison Trait?" Well, I think we do! We may have set it aside, lost it, or perhaps we have been discouraged and have given up but that doesn't mean it's not there. Our challenge: To find it! Not that we're all going to quit our day job (although I'm thinking about it) but we can at least inject an added burst of joy into our lives. Our passions, hobbies, and talents make us interesting. They make us different. And pursuing them gives us energy. There is a reason why those carpool running, meal making, proof-reading moms, can do it all AND persue their passion- they are energized by their creations. Now, please do not misunderstand, we all love our children and are passionate about taking care of them first, but we need to have a creative outlet to keep us charged up.

So, let's do it! Start a club. Host a party. Create a business. Join a team. Start a blog. Choose a hashtag. Purchase supplies. Draw up plans. Eliminate distractions. Let's find that certain something we can't live without. Go!