Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Scorching Out There!

Hello again!

I hope summer is treating you all well. Has anyone died from heat exhaustion yet? Gosh, I'm surprised I haven't. The temperatures are ridiculous!! Heat indicies in the upwards of 112*F range, much less regular temperatures ranging from 92-97 on a consistent basis has just been absolutely miserable! I can't believe it's been this consistently hot for almost a month straight, with absolutely no end in sight! It's crazzzy.

A lot has transpired since I last wrote, so I guess it's time for my monthly update right about now. During my final days in Louisiana, I did make a concerted effort to hound out some work on my thesis. In fact, I put together my first official draft of Chapter 1 (of 5) and sent it off for revisions to my Major Professor. She's been too busy to get anything back yet, so I'm not sure how it looks. I'm hoping to hear something by the end of next week, since I'll have a week off of camp to maybe get some more work done on it.

Oh, I also got to see the babies a few more times before I left. They were just growing SO fast; I can't imagine how big they'll be when I see them again in August!! Maybe their mother and uncle will send me some updated pictures soon enough. *Hint, hint. Wink, wink!*

Now, I'm here in Arkansas for the remainder of the summer, though I did jet away for a week. Backing up, though, I should say that I arrived in Arkansas on Saturday, June 5th; Staff Training at camp started the following morning (Sunday) and went through Friday of that week. As always, training week was a lot of fun. It's the one week where us counselors get to play at camp without any real responsibilities. The training sessions are very informative, and we spend a lot of time bonding with one another. One cool thing about training this year was that a guy from the National Inclusion Project (based in RTP!) came out and did a 6 hour training for us. His program was awesome—it was interactive, fun, and interesting. I really want to learn more about their organization whenever I get some time to aimlessly browse the

The following week, June 13-18th, was Muscular Dystrophy week here at camp. MD week was once again a great week. In fact, it's generally my second favorite week of the whole summer (next to Spina). The kids are always awesome, and we're way overstaffed. To illustrate, we had 6 counselors, 5 volunteers, and 7 campers in my cabin. We had the oldest girls, who were super sweet and fun. Oh—I was selected as Quawpaw Tribe Chief for both Staff Training and MD week, which was interesting. I'm sooo not Tribe Chief material, but I made the best of it and tried to represent the Quawpaws as well as I could.

Unfortunately, I had to leave camp early that week, because of other engagements. Right after finishing up at the archery range (Oh yeah, guess I didn't mention that I'm working there again this summer—yay!) on Thursday, Matt Eckess (former camper/counselor), picked me up at camp and brought me to the airport. I arrived in Baton Rouge later that evening, and spent both Thursday and Friday nights at Dawn's house in Brusly. Friday morning, she and I went to one of her younger sister's (Joy) swim meets at LSU. We ran errands around the city and then took a brief nap before getting ready for the wedding that evening.

Friday night, we went to Donaldsonville for Joey and Kim's wedding. The wedding was sooooo much fun!!! I had a GREAT time seeing everyone, dancing, etc. Annie and Jen, my college roommates, came to the wedding too; I hadn't seen Jen since we graduated a year and a half ago, and I'd only seen Annie a few times since then. It was just incredible to see everyone and really have time to enjoy each other. Among the Idaho folks were Jesse, Stew, Jason, Brin (all Joey's roommates), Juan, Jeff, and Derek. Other out-of-town visitors included Jess (PA/NC/ID), Bri (ID/GA), Nathan (ID/WA), two people from Montreal, and a guy from England. Needless to say it was definitely an intercultural experience!

Saturday, I crashed a going-away party for Dawn's college roommate who is moving to Virginia to work as an engineer for the Navy or something like that. That afternoon, we went to Luling to spend time with Annie for her 23rd birthday. Annie's parents made a yummy dinner and tasty ice cream cake; we had a good time visiting with her family and playing games, as game-playing is a Stewart Family staple. Although we planned to meet the Idaho group in New Orleans, Dawn and I ended up staying in Luling that night, instead.

Earlyyyy Sunday morning, Dawn brought me to the airport in New Orleans, where I met Jess, Jeff, and Derek. Because I hadn't gotten a chance to hang out with the group the night before, Stew and Nathan agreed to drag their butts out of bed in order to come see me at the airport before I sweet. Jess and I flew to Milwaukee (through Chicago) from there to meet our professor and two other graduate students for the Association of Leadership Educators Conference.

ALE was held June 20th-24th at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. While there, NC State established their presence with several poster, research, round table, etc. presentations. By the end of it, pretty much everyone knew who we were and what our involvement was. (I will say, it didn't hurt to have your professor as Conference Chair and incoming President of the organization, lol.) While in Milwaukee, we toured the Miller Brewery and went on a progressive dinner (having each course at a different restaurant) in the downtown area, finishing with custard at a little kiosque on Lake Michigan. It was really cool to experience the German culture, and to see a brand new state. I'm almost half way, now!

Yesterday, I arrived back in Little Rock. Amber (twin of this weekend's bride-to-be) picked me up and we spent the afternoon running some errands to prepare for tomorrow's wedding. [Yes, I was invited to 3 weddings, in 3 states, over the course of just two weeks!] I was able to see both the afternoon and evening crew of counselors during their break time, and really got a lot of things done here around the apartment. Just last night, I did three loads of laundry (two of which were for Kyle), picked up around the apartment, and cleaned Blain's bathroom. I guess I have got to earn my keep somehow, haha!

Today, I went to the closing ceremony for Spina Bifida camp. I'm so glad I got the chance to see my girls, even if it was just for a few minutes. I hear camp was pretty insane this week (ask if you care to know the intense details). We also got paid today--yay--so I stayed after the cereony for the counselor meeting and picked up both mine and Amber's checks. Can't do with out those “megga bucks”........right? ;-)

Now, I'm sitting in the apartment, blogging (duh) and waiting for the crew to get back from lunch. I think everyone went to eat at Damgoode Pies (pizza) and predict they'll all be home soon for an afternoon of napping. Maybe we'll grill out or do something interesting tonight, who knows.

As I said before, tomorrow's Ashley's wedding. I hope I can find someone from Little Rock to carpool with me, as I don't want to drive all the way to Morrilton alone; me and unfamiliar driving territory is just a tad nervewracking.

This next week at camp is Kota I (I'll define that next time), and then we have a week off for July 4th. To date, I have no real plans for break week; unless the guys say I can't, I figure I'll just stay here at the apartment and bum around Little Rock. It'll be nice to be here without rushing around all the time, for once. Maybe I'll even get some of the thesis writing out of the can only hope, right?

For now though, I think this third installment of your summer reading is about done.

Oh—calling all letter writers: send me some mail! Lendy and Kara have done a wonderful job of sending fun letters and cards, who's next? My goal is to fill the wall next to my camp bed by the end of the summer, so send some goodies my way! My address is posted below. Thanks in advance!

Stay cool!

2000 Aldersgate Road
Little Rock, AR 72205