Sunday, July 4, 2010

Kota Krazy.

~Happy Birthday, USA!~

Can you believe I'm back so soon?! I've got a bit of extra time right now so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to sit and write. Before I get ahead of myself, I want to go back and say something I forgot to mention last time.

While I was off trapeezing across the Central Time Zone, there were some big events going on in other friends' lives. First, 4-H University (formerly known as Short Course), the state competition for high schoolers across the state of Louisiana, was held at LSU on June 22-24. As usual, the delegation from Vermilion Parish was very well represented with more than 100 people in attendance (including delegates and chaperones). We brought home more than 70 Ribbons, with 14 State Winners, 15 1st Alternate Winners, and 40+ Blue Ribbon Winners. In case you haven't done the math, that's something like a 78% of our delegates receiving state awards. In the words of a certain friend of mine, "Hollar Baller!"

I also want to do a special shoutout to my brother, Austin, and his teammate, Matt Repp, who were selected as 1st Alternates in the Environmental Threat Resolution competition. Fortunately or unfortunately (however you see it), they lost to Dawn's younger sister Joy. What a shame, haha.

Also that week (same days, I think), the North Carolina State FFA Convention was held in Raleigh. I feel like I should take a few sentences to include this event since it's such a big deal to my counterparts back at school. I had several friends involved with the execution of the convention, and even an acquaintance who was elected to State Office. For that I say, Congratulations, all!

Now, back to my world. Ashley, a friend from camp, got married on June 26th (last Saturday). Several people from camp headed out to Morrilton for the wedding. Jay drove Matt, Wakie, and I, where we met up with Daniel, Ben, Madison, Kika, Cody, and Kyle Bost--all counselors or former counselors at camp. Ali and Bobo, also counselors, and Amber, Ashley's twin sister, were in the wedding. Needless to say, there was a very large showing of camp people which made for a very fun afternoon and evening of dancing at the reception. The wedding was beautiful; Ashley was a gorgeous bride, and everything was put together so nicely. We all had a fun time and I can't wait to catch up with Ashley once things settle down for her and Manvill's new life. Yay for the Allens!

This past week at camp was Kota I. In the Quawpaw Native American language, Kota means "friend." In this way, the Kota sessions at camp are designed for children of all abilities. Many of the children who attend camp this week have diagnoses such as Asperger's/Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrom, or other behavioral disorders. In addition, several campers with diagnoses bring along siblings or friends. With that being said, I'm sure some of you can imagine how insane a week filled with kids who have varying abilities and personalities that are even more diverse than usual, would be an interesting experience.

More specifically, I'll tell you what the week really looked like for me. Originally, I was assigned to work with the middle age group of girls (12-13, 17). However, on Sunday, my boss approached me to ask that I spend the day working with the middle age group of boys (11-13, 15) because one of the counselors was sick and they needed me to fill in for a bit. At first, I was crazy overwhelmed by the insanity that is a boys' cabin during Kota. There were two runners (meaning they would run from the cabin and disappear at the drop of a hat if they weren't under constant watch), a very enthusiastic, happy, artistic, sweet boy, and several other interesting personalities in the group. By Monday morning, I'd become accustomed to the group, and was sad to be reassigned to my original cabin at lunchtime that afternoon. In fact, I felt really disconnected when the cabin lost one of the runners during lunch time and I couldn't be there to help with the situation. (Don't worry, they found him hiding in the Commons building!) In the end, I enjoyed the opportunity to make friends with two cabins, and the girls really were a sweet group.

In any case, we were all thrilled when camp ended on Friday afternoon--not only because most of us were exhausted from several weeks at camp, but also because we're now "half-way" through the summer! This means...wait for it...WE'VE GOT A WEEK OFF!! Yay! To celebrate, a bunch of us went to the new 5 Guys (!!) that just opened here in Little Rock! I was thrilled to indoctrine everyone, since 5 Guys is a DC chain, and most people had never heard of it, much less eaten there.

Friday night, I met Amber and her friend Jennifer in Conway; together we rode to Morrilton to housesit for Amber's parents who were out of town. We had a nice, chill, girls' night. Amber and Jennifer stayed up pretty late, but by 2 am, I couldn't go anymore and collapsed into Ashley's divinely comfy bed. For the first time in weeks (a month?), I didn't have to set an alarm--it was a-mazing!

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning, but then Amber and I drove back to Little Rock (1 hr.) via Conway (30 min.) to meet her sister, Amy, at the movies to see Eclipse. Just like the book, the third Twilight movie wasn't my favorite, but I'm very much looking forward to the 4th movie, which will be even crazier than the previous three. After the movie, Amber and I went to Mass at Christ the King, then parted ways, as Amber returned home, and I came on over to "the apartment." Blain, Kyle, and I chilled out for a bit. Then Kyle went to meet up with some of his MedSchool friends, and Blain and I ended up watching School of Rock, followed by a bunch of random stuff before hitting they hay around 1 a.m.

Today, Sunday, has been the best day of all. I slept in (til 10 am, when Kyle got home), and then lazied around all day. Kyle brought home donuts, so although it's almost 6 p.m., all I've eaten today is three donuts and the leftovers from a little salad. (Yes, it's a fatty day, haha.) Also, I didn't even get dressed in real clothes until about an hour ago, lol. To add to the laziness, Blain and I watched My Girl this morning, and then he got me started on the LOST series. We made it through the first disc of Season 1 and now I'm hoping to make it at least through the first season before I go back to work next week. If not, I've got til August 1 to get as far into the series as possible. We'll see what I can do.

Tonight, Kyle has already left to hang out with his friends at a barbecue and the festival in downtown Little Rock. Blain went to Conway to visit his parents who are in town for the day, but when he gets back, we're going to go downtown to see the fireworks too. It's kind of a boring Independence Day, but I'm perfectly content. In fact, I'm pretty darn happy about it. :)

With the rest of my week off, I plan(ned) to do some thesis writing, but watching LOST and being lazy sounds way, way better! Plus, a bunch of folks from camp are planning a camping/rafting trip on a river in Missouri for Tuesday through Thursday. I kind of want to go on the trip, so that I can add Missouri to the list of states I've visited, lol. A bit selfish, perhaps. But really, who wants to write during their one and only week of relaxation from 6 weeks of working 125 hours each week? Really now. (This is a cue for you, the reader, to say..."No, Lauren, it's time to start writing! You can do it!")

Anywhoo, just in case I don't write again for a while, I'll look ahead for ya too. Camp is officially closed until next Sunday, when everyone returns for Diabetes Week. However, there is going to be a short day-camp for kids who are ventilator dependent on the Saturday before Diabetes. For that, only a few counselors were asked to work, and as of Friday, I'm one of them! Yay. I'm not really sure what the camp is going to look like (schedule, ages, abilities, needs, etc), but I'm super excited about this opportunity to work with a new group of campers. Staff who are working have to report to camp on Friday at 6 p.m. for an information session, then the camp will take place during the day on Saturday, and Diabetes training and camp begins Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Needless to say, I think it's going to be a long week back at camp, but I'm super excited about it all.

Everything looks like it's shaping up to be a great second half of the summer. Despite the fact that I wrote only about 10 days ago, I seem to have written yet another novella. I hope you all enjoy these entries in your summer reading experience, lol. Now, I am going to leave you with a quote from a letter that I wrote to Lendy last week. It has become my mantra for the summer and my time here in Little Rock...

"I will love every bit of fatigue and unpredictability...take in every laugh, joke, and smile--to cherish and hold, forever and always."


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