These past two weeks were extremely special for me! I had a new experience every week, and I was finally out of the youngest bale! I was able to work with middle and then oldest girls. Being with the youngest campers is super fun and many of them have never been to camp before. It is really amazing being able to shape how their camp experience is and having a direct impact on that. There is no comparing this year to a year before, it is all new. With the youngest, sometimes there is a lack in meaningfulness for them, camp is really fun and creates bonds but they aren’t old enough to really get all of camps meaning. Being super silly and weird with the youngest is tons of fun but it is a different experience than having oldest campers.
Week four was rheumatic diseases, juvenile arthritis, and lupus. I was working with the middle girls and it was a total blast! These girls bonded really closely with each other and became sisters. The counselors planned this really fun secret mission where we snuck to the dining hall and got snacks! We were snacking the in the dining hall and really played it up with the campers that they had to be quiet and that we couldn’t be seen! When we were done with our snacks, we headed back up to the cabin where we saw lots of counselors going to and from cabin row. Here the camp director was biking by and stopped to see the commotion as all the girls ran into the cabin. She came back five minutes later to check on the girls and went into their side of the room, she really played it up and made sure that no one left the cabin and that all was well! The girls really believed her and it truly made the night special. We have a fantastic support staff who really go above and beyond the call of duty. We had a camper this week who never danced, and she wouldn’t participate in one single dance at camp. For those who know me, I am not a dancer one bit, I have never done it nor do I enjoy it. That pretty much all changed when I got here, the camp dances are super fun and dancing with the campers is a total blast. So in order to get this camper to dance, one of my co-counselors told her that if she participated in one dance, that the camper could cut her hair! It was so cool and so much fun, she participated in a dance and that night, cut the counselors hair, this camper really enjoyed doing it and got a huge confidence boost from doing so.
Working with middle girls was awesome, I think in teaching I would really enjoy working at the middle school level. I really like how you can still be silly and weird and they won’t look at you like you have three heads. They also don’t get the too cool for camp mentality which can be very difficult to work with.
Week five was Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America week–Crohn’s and Ulcerated Colitis. I worked with oldest girls this week and that was a totally new experience! I don’t think I had been around and more boy crazy group of campers. They were always wanting to go near the boy cabins and talk to them. We really had to use redirection skills and get them to focus on something else. We had a camper in our cabin who is 15 years old and had never met anyone else with the same disease as her. Her mom was super excited and happy for her to get to know some people who know exactly what she is going with and can share experiences with. At the end of the week they were all sharing contact information and were going to connect with each other out of camp. We worked with some volunteers this week in our cabin who had either Crohn’s or UC and they were really able to connect with the campers. I think the campers really looked up to them and can really see how they can do anything they want and that their disease does not define or limit them in many ways.
Coming up this next week is hemophilia–back with youngest boys! Hemophilia is a disease that primarily affects the male population. Therefore, we only have two girl cabins on camp and the rest are boys. This is going to be a very high energy week to say the least. In my cabin it is all female counselors and one male counselor. We are trying to brainstorm ways to get us to join the brotherhood so the boys can feel comfortable around us all for the week.