My Second Half Aides. Sweet Girls!
I had a super, proud mommy moment this week with Cookie#3. You see, #3 is my geography kid. Last year as a "for fun" project, he made a book of all of the flags of the world. He drew them by hand and labeled each one with it's country. So, how does this have anything to do with camp? Well, the large dining hall (the hearth) is adored with about 30 different flags from around the world. These flags actually represent the countries where past campers have come from. So, #3 and his Irish counselor came to the center of the dining hall full of singing campers and quieted the room with the raise of their hands. The counselor announced (in his thick Irish accent) that his "lad" would be naming all the flags. Cookie proceeded to spit out the names of those countries like they were the ABCs! Everybody was amazed, including me. He didn't tell me he was going to do this! You could hear a pin drop in that place. He hesitated on "Vatican City" and one other very obscure country but he named them all (in record time). When he finished, the place erupted! The kids went crazy. They burst into one of my favorite songs of praise, kinda like "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." They say nobody has been able to do that for 7 years! You should have seen his face. Talk about a confidence booster! From then on, everybody's been talking about how smart he is. What a great moment for my young son (and his proud mom)!
The last 8 weeks have been an extreme challenge for me. I know my blog posts have focused mostly on the positives but believe me, there have been plenty of "uncomfortable moments". And by uncomfortable, I mean, moments where I've been pushed out of my comfort zone. I feel like my stomach has been in constant knots. It's been exhausting in every sense of the word: physically, spiritually, socially, and mentally. A lot is riding on this experience and this major decision. At various times of my life I have struggled with anxiety; I'm not what you call an easy going person. So, this whole experience has definitely put me outside of my comfort zone. And, boy, have I grown! I have learned about other countries, other religions, and another region of this great country. I have practiced patience, kindness, hard work, restraint, golf (he...he)...just to name a few. I have met some really wonderful adults and some outstanding young people! There is so much good that is going on here. I see a special kind of confidence in the faces of these children. They are very blessed to have this experience. There are little life lessons learned around every corner.
Last night was a special night. It's a night the kids look forward to all summer. The entire camp plays an "all night" man hunt type game (8pm-12am and 6am-8am). Let's just say it involves bad guys, good guys, buried cans, spies, jail...and lots of rules. I swear, at times I felt like I was in the Hunger Games (with out the blood and killing, of course). The kids get really into it and it was a blast. I was the leader of the youngest campers. We went tromping through the woods at night searching for cans. I was right with them and the environment was safe, but they experienced that fun kinda scared feeling. We would hide behind a tree and stay quiet to see who was passing by. Then we would run to the giant bonfire, take a break and eat a s'more. The kids all pretty much took turns being scared for a moment (a little "uncomfortable") but they did it. They did not give up; they succeeded and they helped their team. I know they came away from that experience a little braver; more willing to take risks and try new things. They did not give up. A pretty good life lesson if you ask me. It sounds a bit like the same life lesson I myself have learned while being here at camp.
I wish you could tell how massive this fire was. Marshmallow roasting was a challenge.