Monday, July 6, 2009

First 1/2 Camp = Done

It’s 5:24 p.m. on Friday, July 3, 2009 and I am sitting in the Memphis International Airport waiting for my 7:45 p.m. flight home to Lafayette. My first flight of the day left Little Rock at 4 p.m. and consisted of less than 30 minutes of in-air flight time. With nearly 3 hours to wait, I decided to spend some time attempting to blog about my previous two weeks at camp.

Hopefully I’m not out of my mind when I think back to my last blog and remember that I didn’t put much effort into writing about camp week two. Following MD Week, a group of children attended “Kota I” Camp. “Kota” is the Quapaw (Arkansas Native American tribe) word for “friend,” which is quite fitting for this week’s group of campers. Some campers had diagnoses ranging from Autism, Asperger’s, and Down Syndrome, to Cerebral Palsy, and various behavior disorders. In addition to those with diagnoses, some bring along siblings, cousins, or friends, which means that there are many “typical” campers, or those without diagnoses. I am sure you can imagine what sort of environment this can make for…lol.

Basically, Kota Camp is nutssssss. Kids are everywhere, activities are chaotic, and counselors just take it all in stride. That is what we’re there for, afterall. Last year, I worked with boys for both MD and Kota I Camp, so having the opportunity to work with girls for both of these weeks this year was pretty special. Even though I’m a little biased, I’m pretty sure that we had the absolute best cabin of all during Kota I. Only two of our seven campers had diagnoses and the girls were just really great overall. Everyone was friendly with each other, and we were always on time for activities—those of you who work at camp know that this is incredibly rare. (I’m pretty sure this had a lot to do with my wonderful Senior Counselor, Miss Amber Malik, hehehe. Love you, AHM-bUh!)

As for Spina Bifida Week (this past week), once again it was my favorite, though I knowww that most of it has to do with the fact that I absolutelyyy love my Spina girls. Four of my seven campers were in my cabin last year and it was great to already know their needs, personalities, and interests. It was a huge bummer that I was the only one of our five counselors from last year to be able to work with the girls again this year, but thankfully the wonderful Ashley Malik and Ali Miller (who are now supervisors) were able to at least be at camp with us and hang out from time to time. We love those girls with our whole entire hearts and were very sad to see them go. If I come back to Aldersgate in future summers, it’ll be for those girls, no doubt.

(Thank you Ashley and Ali for being so amazing. We missed you this week but know you were there with us in spirit and our bonds will never be broken! To all the 2009 Spina co-counselors, I had a great time working with you all for the first time, and Amber—it was especially fun to have you as my SC two weeks in a row. Thanks for everything!)

I must also note that we had an especially unique cabin this week, as we were the EggLime Cabin! EggLime, you say? Isn’t there an Eggplant Cabin and a Lime Cabin, but, EggLime? Why yes, yes you are correct…lol. On Saturday night, I received a call from Amber saying that she’d gone to move into the Lime Cabin and that it was especially hot; it appeared as though the air conditioner was turned off or broken. She decided to sleep in the Khaki Cabin with a few other counselors, and I chose to stay in Orange with Morgan, since we’d both lived there the previous week and were planning to move to Lime together the following morning. On Sunday, we reported the problem and steps were taken to fix the A/C. Unfortunately, something was wrong with the unit’s installation, and it couldn’t be fixed in time for check-in, so we were relocated to the Eggplant cabin, as it was set to be used as an overflow cabin for those who couldn’t fit into their assigned cabins (a counselor and a few volunteers). Thus, those who were assigned to Eggplant were relocated to the McOffice (supervisors’ living quarters) and extra rooms in the Health Care Center.

When campers began to arrive, it was a bit confusing because all paperwork, schedules, and luggage labels listed our cabin as “Lime” even though we’d been relocated to Eggplant. That evening, someone in the cabin suggested that we rename ourselves as the “EggLime Cabin,” and from that point on, insisted that we be referred to with that name. We were very pleased to find that everyone respected our request and it became our name for the week. Even the slideshow and future schedules/paperwork was labeled with the “EggLime” name. It sucked to walk all the way to the end of cabin row every day, but it’s also super cool that we were and will be (hopefully) the only EggLime Cabin in the history of Camp Aldersgate. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.

When it all boils down, each camp week has its own personality, just as each cabin within those weeks is uniquely different. Some weeks are more physically exhausting (such as MD and Spina weeks), while others are more mentally challenging (Kotas). I’m sure that as the summer goes on, I’ll develop more categories of camp weeks such as emotionally-challenging and sleep-deprived ones. This is why I love Camp Aldersgate…er, one of the many, many reasons.

Now, I’m going home tonight for a two-week break from camp. Aldersgate is closed for “break week” until next Saturday, July 11th, when it will reopen for Diabetes Staff Training and Camp. Unfortunately, neither Allie nor I were hired to work Diabetes, so we get an extra week off. Allie will be finishing up at Camp Bon Coeur and then going on vacation to Branson, MO, with her family. I was invited along but decided to stay home and spend time with my family instead. In my time at home, I’ve got lots to accomplish and hope to spend quite a bit of time relaxing too. My family even has plans to spend a few days at the beach in Perdido Key, FL. As much as I love “my home away from home,” I am very much looking forward to this break. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ll be super excited about my return flight to Little Rock on the 18th. I’ll try my best to continue updating, but be patient with me. My next priority is photo-positing on Facebook, as I am more than a month behind on that task.

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!!

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