Thursday, July 14, 2005

let the madness begin... again!

oh boy, have things been hectic around here... i say that as if things are calm sometimes which we all know to be hardly true. the first term campers left monday morning after a weekend of recognitions and sad goodbyes. there were so many tears i almost laughed at times. as a campfire counselor i was responsible for planning...

recognition night - all of the programs in the unit (hiking, crafts, backpacking) gave out awards for most miles hiked, etc. i was the MC and lead songs. the parents were able to come and all of the campers were so happy to have both their parents and their counselors present while they were praised for their success.

final campfire - we did an activity called "touch someone..." were the campers had the opportunity to anonymously acknowledge those who played a role in their summers. everyone sat with their eyes closed while i read off a list of "touch someone who made you smile", "touch someone who you want to thank". it was quite a tearful experience and the silences when i wasn't speaking were filled with sobs and sniffles. then we ended with the cheley tradition of friendship candles, where we dripped wax onto our friend's pinecones. then on christmas at midnight and thanksgiving (i think) everyone lights the candles and thinks of one another.


now we have our second termers who are simply fantastic. the energy level so far is through the roof (in a good way) and our introductions last night went really well. i lead everything and all my coworkers told me what a great job i did which felt really good. i'm feeling forcused and excited about being familiar with my role here and the responsibilities i have. this extends into a feeling of confidence which allows me to take more chances with the activities i plan for the girls. instead of being unsure and timid, i am able to be myself with them from the very beginning and i like that a lot.

this week i'll be going back out on program since my knee has healed, for the most part. i'm going on a sketch hike saturday which i'll be leading - a big responsibility that i'm ready for - and will be wearing a knee brace for added support since my knee has given out a few times (one time when i was trying to kick my friend amber and i fell over... oops). tomorrow is my day off and i'll be going into boulder with some friends to swim in a pool - yay! the weather here has gotten hot and dry and is bearable in the mountains but harsh in the cities. i look forward to getting back to my pisces roots and into the water again.

well, i really must be getting back to my job, believe it or not. things are going so well and i really appreciate everyone that has been writing. i got a letter from barbara today and a package from megan last week, which was awesome. i'm actually wearing the shirt she sent me this very moment! of course my parents have been fantastic at keeping me updated on all the exciting things happening on the east coast through letters and phone calls. matthew even wrote me and i bragged to all my friends that my younger brother wasn't too cool to tell me he cares.

so long, lovely ones. take care!

cheers,

rachel

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

apparently accidents happen

well, maybe there was more to be scared of when climbing than i originally realized... oops, i sprained me knee jumping off of the bouldering wall (a horizontal climbing wall) and landing wrong. it actually made a popping noise unlike anything i've ever heard my body make before. it was, and continues to be, painfully stiff but i'm glad to know its only a sprain and nothing more serious. however, it does limit my ability to participate in activities like hiking and biking. so, since "the accident", i've only been able to do crafts and riflery. i try and ice it and elevate it as much as possible so i can recover quickly. however, there is pretty much no way i'll be able to do the things i want for the rest of this term, sadly.

tomorrow i have my day off and i'll be going to denver with my director to spend some down time in her apartment doing laundry and relaxing by her pool. i'm really looking forward to it - we'll come back to estes for dinner and fun time with other counselors. angela, my director, is hilarious and i really like spending time with her so thursday is shaping up to be a lovely day.

we've already begun planning for our final banquet - can you believe it!? the campers will be departing in a week or so. on the one hand, it seems as though we've been here forever... on the other hand i can't believe how much time has passed. i've really gotten to know some of the girls and, honestly, i'm not looking forward to having to work hard connecting with the campers again as the new counselor. while it will be fun to have a fresh batch of girls here, i really appreciate what the current campers have to offer. however, some of them are getting a little testy with one another and the combination of their exhaustion and emotional rollercoasters makes for some trying times. there is always something or someone who seems worth fighting over and its hard to help to girls understand they are at camp for themselves and each other, not some stupid boy from our brother unit who they see a total of 4 times.

my internal memory is full on my camera! i would go get it right now but the idea of walking a mile to and from the office on my knee is painful just to think about. hopefully i can get that done tonight and share all of the fun moments i have captured digitally. last night i finished it up taking shots of counselor makeover night which involved ugly dresses and too much eyeliner, to give a little sneak peak.

well, i'm going to head back to my unit. i'm not scheduled to go on activity today since wednesdays are all-day meetings for campfire counselors. i may go hang out with the crafters since i have nothing else to do... or write letters to a few lucky people. the possibilities are... well, limited, unfortunately, thanks to my knee. its hard feeling incapacitated and slow when so much is going on around you.


hopefully i'll be able to get my photos in order and come back this afternoon to post them.

cheers!

rachel

Saturday, June 25, 2005

who doesn't love a good adventure?

heavens! the last few weeks have been phenomenal. since the arrival of the campers have arrived i have managed to...
- go on an overnight mountain bike ride (which was more exhilarating, frightening, and intense than i ever could have imagined)
- participate in the planning of major camp events, especially All-Camp which happens tomorrow. sundays are always busy but this one takes the cake as we will be leading the entire camp through songs and skits, each unit performing their own and the campfire counselors MCing and doing everything else under the sun. its our show and i am really looking forward to it...

- make a purse out of an old hardback book
- spend a day in boulder and picture myself living there
- play edleveiss on the chimes in chapel
- lead an art gallery tour through estes park with 15 campers (whom i drove in a van down the mountain)
- shoot a gun during riflery (and like it)

- hike and peak estes cone, a 10 mile hike, and sing the song netherlands atop it
- teach my girls white choral bells
- make tons of friends with campers and counselors!

i am loving camp and all of the experiences i have had since i've been here, not to mention the excitement and fun yet to come. i am building relationships and pushing myself past the boundaries with which i was once so accustomed.. its true! next week i will be climbing (both outside and in) and i'm really scared but very much looking forward to it. i think that my fears are very camper-ish in that many of them have similar feelings to my own and that really helps me feel closer to them, which is great. they know they can relate to me. i appreciate the age group so much, i never knew 17 year-old-girls could be so encouraging and sweet to not only one another but the counselors as well. there is a vague line between us and authority and its nice to only feel like i have to bring that out in extreme situations... most of the time we feel much like peers and i like that a lot. i know i can trust the girls to be mature and respinsible... unless boys are involved, of course, because then it all goes out the window.

this weekend i am going to a show at red rocks - string cheese incident and keller williams - which should be fantastically fun.

well, i must rest up before our big day tomorrow. an all-camp schedule goes something like this...
- breakfast 8AM (we get to sleep in for 30 min!)
- choir practice 10AM
- chapel 11AM (we'll be singing the circle game by joni mitchell and lean on me)
- 12 lunch
- as soon as lunch is over we'll decorate the ampitheater for all-camp
- practice skits and songs with units 2PM
- cookout 5PM
- dance party 6PMish
- skits and songs by units and campfire counselors

should be fun, fun, fun!

much love,

rachel

Monday, June 13, 2005

colorado rocky mountain high

you know you're in colorado...
-when you can see snow covered mountains from your front door
-there are four blankets on your bed
-everyone rides horses... cowboys
-the altitude keeps a walk to the bathroom difficult
-there is a song by john denver on every page of the songbook

i have obviously arrived safely and am so excited to be here. after a long week of staff training (lecture on safety, good judgement, child development, etc) the campers will be here wednesday. we have about 50 girls ages 14-17 and i'm really looking forward to their arrival because we'll be able to remain active instead of sitting and listening. the women i am working with are fantastic. we've all gotten to know one another very well already and hopefully our strong bonds will empower us to deal with any situations that may come our way over the next 8 weeks. we had one night of this week and i was able to see the town of estes park. it is lovely, very quaint but slightly tainted by tourism. i had a lot of fun getting to know other cheley staff (since everyone went to the same place) and i am excited about conituing those relationships. there are close to 200 hundered of us, total, but half of us work at another camp 25 minutes away so i won't be seeing much of them this summer.

today the wind is blowing harder than anything i have ever experienced - probably 40 or 50 miles an hour! it has torn off a few screen doors but everything else seems to be able to withstand its violence... however, it sure didn't help me sleep last night. i was sure the cabin would collapse, killing us all. fortunately, nothing of that sort has happened... yet.

some of the highlights from this past week include van training, where everyone over 21 had to learn to drive 15 passanger vans - a four hour classroom session and then some actual driving where we had to practice evasive steering at 10, 20, and 25 mph. it was scary but really fun at the same time. we also had a square dance with a caller and everything you'd expect a square dance to have... no fiddle player, though.

there are a few things i could do without... i am sick (just a cold, really) and so is everyone else. i guess thats what happens when you throw lots of people in together - just like prison! also, there are some sexist undertones which i certainly don't appreciate (women sit down before men... call it tradition if you want, but why can't we all just sit down together?), and there are lots of dead animal heads all over the lodges, including a bear head wearing a bandanna. i swear, its looking at me where ever i go.

well, i must be going. i'll try to update things as much as possible but sometimes the demand for computers is out of control and impossible to handle.

much love!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

mere hours remain between colorado and me

wow, what keeps me writing these entries when i really should be packing?

i was able to buy a backpack, hiking boots, shorts, and some solid sandles so i can trick everyone into thinking i'm sporty and athletic. thanks to everyone who donated to the graduation fund that made all those purchases possible... and thanks to my parents for picking up the rest of the tab. gee, it doesn't get much sweeter than that. i booked my shuttle ride to camp - i'll be arriving in denver at 9:55 and hanging around the airport until 11:30 when the shuttle arrives. i'm sure i'll meet up with a couple other counselors who are waiting for the same ride. we'll have a plenty of time to get to know one another...

its amazing how similar the feelings of anxiety and excitement are. needless to say, i'm experiencing both as i get ready to head off into the completely unfamiliar... wish me luck!

Monday, May 23, 2005

and so it begins...

this is an attempt to keep my friends and family (and anyone else for that matter) posted on the theoretically exciting events of my post-college adventures in colorado while i work at cheley summer camp. having never been further west than ohio, i'm looking forward to taking on the mountains, high altitude and all, and the 15-17 year old girls i will be supervising. i'm attempting to prepare for my departure, however, i have no idea how to organize all of the stuff i have accumulated over the last four years at guilford college. my current room, much the dismay of my parents, remains cluttered as if each drawer spewed clothes vomit everywhere... that should give a good mental picture.

i've got a lot to do before i go and many distractions (including this) make it easy to procrastinate.

wish me luck as i pack up and cram as much arrested development in as i can before i leave the morning of june 3rd.