Monthly Archives: June 2012

Best week!

Dear friends and family,

I am absolutely 100% in love with this week! And it’s only Monday!

This week my job title is lifeline, which means I am with some of the oldest campers. The explorer village houses rising sophomore, junior and senior high school students. They cook their own food and basically decide what to do every day. Essentially, my job is to bring the food they will be cooking out to them from main camp and to be there with them in the afternoons when their counselors are on break. However, these kids are way too cool not to hang out down there more. The other lifeline this week, Frank, and I are free to spend more time out there if we wish and we certainly plan on doing so. We were out there for devotions last night and plan on trying to make all devos for the week. We are not required to eat with them either but we plan on that as well.

Most of the village life is top secret, reserved knowledge for only those who have lived and worked in the vill. It is exciting for Frank and I because we are learning the traditions and stories right along with them. The kids are here for 10 days so their ritual night won’t be until next week. We plan on trying to attend as we cannot participate until we have gone through it ourselves. Crazy fun!

One big part of explorers is not being seen by main camp so it involves a lot of sneaking around. So much, in fact, the kids chose to swim at 7am today. Let me tell you, walking up to the pool at 7:05 and finding out they had already been in for a good 15 minutes made me wake up pretty quick. They’d been in the pool as long as I’d been awake!!

This week I am really looking forward to diving deeper into the faith with the kids and seeing what they teach me. It’s totally different than being with our tiny settlers and I love it.

I should also mention this week I am working on my driving skills. Fun fact, I don’t have my drivers license! The directors of camp had to look it up of I was allowed to drive a golf cart anyway and it turns out that I am! Our golf cart has its own quirks so it takes some practice. Reba, our director, suggested that Frank and I take it out to the athletic field and let me practice. I don’t know who is more nervous/amused by the situation. I drove to the village last night and its not TOO horrible. Who knows, maybe I’ll come home and get my license!

Thank you for all the mail I have been receiving and know I am working on responses and sending extra prayers your way!

Peace, Beth

Regular week

Hi friends and family,

We are starting to get in routine here. It’s been a little rough the past few days but I’m getting the hang of it.

My days are basically the same. My girls start waking up around 6-6:30, we get ready about 7:30, breakfast is at 8, cabin cleanup, morning praise and prayer then I’m on break from 9:50ish-11:50. Staff meeting at noon, lunch, siesta, then I have to do a choice time activity with each age group so we play games or chalk or do fashion shows. During this time I am also covering counselors on their breaks and making sure the kids are all accounted for Then free time, which is controlled fun in the main camp area and dinner. Then the nights get a little fun.

Sunday we do a campfire, Monday is water carnival, Tuesday is cookout and capture the flag, Wednesday is super crazy adventure time and thursday is Cassidy games, which is basically like a field day.

The campfire went well and the water carnival was a big hit due to the weather (I think extra swim time and a chance to hit counselors with water balloons contributed to that!) CTF was a tough loss as it was in overtime so we saw a couple tears from some of the little guys. They are now eagerly anticipating the Cassidy games to win something else!

Tonight we will be having a picnic dinner with another cabin and then have a very special cabin time where we will make thank you cards for people around camp (maintenance, the office, fr. Tim, and the kitchen crew) and sneak around delivering them. We will the surprise the girls with a snack of cookies and milk (which is a big treat because we usually don’t do night snack) and head to the chapel for devotions where Mo-T, one of the staff members, will talk to the girls about how we can show our love for God by praising him at Mass.

Our theme in our cabin this week is love. We have talked about loving ourselves, loving our friends and loving our parents. Tonight we will talk about loving God and tomorrow we will talk about loving people we don’t even know. I have a great devotion planned and I hope the girls like it as well.

As I said before, it’s been kindof a hard week getting accustomed to the routine of a regular camp week but I have no doubts that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I am working on seeing why God has put me with specific groups. Especially with my most challenging campers.

Please pray for my patience–I really need it!

Peace, Beth

Weekend

Hi friends,

Just a quick post before the kids get here! This weekend was a great time. I stayed on camp Friday and took a glorious, completely uninterrupted 2 hour nap. We watched Braveheart which I still don’t like, and I got a nice talk with my mom. We stayed up pretty late for girl talk but it was completely worth it!

Yesterday, Saturday, my friend Shane and I went to Madison for the day. It’s named the most liveable city in America and I would say its pretty close! We got there about noon and went home after 4 and I only spent a total of $6!! We had lunch at UW Madison and tried to creep on one of our fellow counselors who was in a student government meeting. We found the room but unfortunately couldn’t see Sean from the doorway.

We then went to the Capitol building and it was beautiful!

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We ended the day at the zoo. Which was FREE!! It was a lot smaller than Cleveland’s (we walked fast and covered the whole place in about 35 minutes) but we want to go back to see the penguins who already went in for the day.

20120617-140912.jpg They also had strange rules about orangutans and gorilla interaction, which the Cleveland zoo lets happen. Here you have to stand pretty still and not make eye contact.

We plan to go back and explore the town more soon with some people who know the city as neither Shane nor I had ever been to the city.

My new campers come today and this time I have girls entering 2-5th grade. There are 10 of them so I am not sleeping in the room as there are not enough bunks. I will be in a staff room next door but I am the lightest sleeper of the three counselors (or so I hear) so I told the co-counselors they are welcome to wake me when needed during the night. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my clean camp apparel. My shirt that I have in support of our camp director, Jeff, who is battling cancer, is dirty right now. (well, the staff one will be dirty soon too since I have to wear it today)

Peace and Happy Father’s Day!
Beth

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Mini-Camp and beyond!

Hello friends!

We survived round 1 of campers from mini-week! We had some mishaps along the way but not a single kid noticed so it was great.

We got our first experiences with a lot of things that helped prepare us for what is to come. We crammed every exciting thing we do in a week at camp into 48 hours!

We started with choice times which are usually split up by age groups and the kids generally only get to pick from 2-3 things. However, now they had ALL the choices so we all kind of did different activities than usual. I helped with archery for the first two periods with 2 other counselors. It was a little challenging having 2-8th graders all together and trying to engage them all at their level but we made it work successfully. On day 2 of choices we only had one period and this time I was assigned to football. Myself, another counselor and 13 little boys headed out to the athletic field to play ball. I was the head referee/first aid person/ coach of the defense. The boys would tell you it was hilarious since I had to have them explain to me what the other counselor was saying. Needless to say, football is not my strong suit.

We had a very epic game of CTF that involved 100 campers and 45+ staff members. Both teams scored at the last second however the ball carrier for the red team had a longer arm than blue so they ended up getting there first and winning the game.

My cabin ladies contributed to the Cassidy games by being table number 1 at breakfast, they won the golden dust pan award for cleanest cabin and one of my girls scored the first point in CTF. It was an exciting day for the excited little flowers!

After the campers left last night we, the staff, were allowed to leave camp do many of us went to a local establishment called the green owl. We celebrated two staff members 21st birthdays as well as surviving mini camp. It was nice to have grown up conversation (and a grown up drink!) after the long week.

Today, we cleaned all of camp and ended staff training in a HUGE way! I should preface the story by saying there is a lot of emphasis of going full circle. We started staff training strong and want to remain strong until the final week of camp. One of the first things we did as a staff was have air mail delivered from a remote control airplane. Today, WE HAD A FREAKING HELICOPTER LAND ON THE ATHLETIC FIELD!!!!! Seriously! It was so ridiculously crazy! The helicopter held two former staff members who delivered a briefcase the held a banner and cross necklaces for the new staff. Such a sweet way to end training.

We are now off for the rest of the weekend. Shane and I might head into Madison tomorrow but I am really looking forward to reorganizing my things and preparing for this upcoming week. I am co-counseling settlers who are entering 2-5th grade. I am really looking forward to working with this age group. My counselor, Brittany, is super sweet and we have a really cool theme planned for the girls. I am so excited!

Peace and prayers,
Beth

Campers are here!

Hello everyone!

The past two days have been incredibly crazy busy so I apologize for missed Skype dates and the lack of phone calls.

Yesterday we wrapped up the big chunk of staff training (we have a little more Thursday after our kids leave and Friday) and finished up our version of the Cassidy games. After losing both softball and capture the flag earlier in the week, as well as losing 2/3 rounds of panda ball AND losing the water battle, my faithful red team came together when it mattered most and WON the pond race to win the games!!!!!!! We were SO excited!

After the games our Emmaus group got to see what some cool Thursday night fun activities could be with our cabin. My group ran into our rooms and quickly changed into all black. We met at a predetermined location and proceeded to sneak through camp ducking behind trees and crawling behind buildings until we reached the kitchen where we performed a very exciting and very tricky pantry raid. We were nearly caught, but the black saved the day. We then built a campfire and made s’mores and ate cupcakes. I am TOTALLY doing that again this summer.

This morning we woke up super excited because CAMPERS WERE COMING!!! we took the time to clean camp (yes, mom, I cleaned bathrooms and swept the pool deck and picked up some sticks!!) before getting our staff shirts and having our final meeting before the kids came. My assignment for check in was health screenings to help make sure paperwork was in order and to help answer some parent questions. I LOVED it! I got to meet kids in all age groups an help some worried parents.

I met up with my cabin later and helped with a tour, dinner (my dainty excited little flowers only ate 2 family style bowls of spaghetti. One table of little boys ages 7-10 had 8 bowls!!) and rules for some places on camp.

This evening we had our “rip roaring foot stomping don’t get too close cause you’ll singe your eyebrows off ” campfire. Yours truly acted as mc and wore the embarrassing getup I donned last week in our fashion parade. A good 30 campers are taking pictures of me dressed like that home to mom and dad. Well, yolo.

My cabin is sweet and I like the girls. I was happy to be put in St. Therese because it is named for St. Therese Lisieux, otherwise known as the little flower. She is a saint I am incredibly fond of and have prayed to for help many times. I looked at it as a sign of good things and know I’m getting a little extra help this week.

I best be getting to sleep- we have an extremely busy day tomorrow and mine starts with 7am mass!

I am praying for you all and hope you have a good day. Please feel free to let me know what’s going on in the world. I feel extremely out of the loop!!

Peace, Beth

The day of rest

Hello friends!

Today was filled with many fun things. First, I got to sleep in until 8:30!!! It really was a big difference from 7:25.

We began the day with 10:30 mass in Baraboo at St. Joseph. It was nice to be able to go as a whole staff and see some of our future campers.

After Mass, our boss, Topher, announced that he had saved enough scoopy points to get all of us free kids meals at culver’s. (there is quite the process to doing this for 45 people and it was almost 3 years in the making!) So off we headed to culver’s.

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Clearly you need a picture with Scoopy himself when you go to culver’s. I was a bit intimidated by him (he’s a giant ice cream cone with hands!) so thank you Steve and Brad for posing with me 🙂 The end result of culver’s was that it was alright and the custard was not as good as east coast custard in Cleveland. But good attempt, midwest. Also, cheese curds? Just mozzarella bites. Big letdown.

We came back to camp and did some work. The new staff got to go to the stables and see the horses. That is something I definitely would like to do this summer so I’m excited to get the opportunity to go riding.

We had the rest of the day off beginning at 3:30. I went with a big chunk of the staff to the local laundromat. It’s nice to have clean shorts again. Well, I have enough shorts to last 3 weeks but I like having a multitude of clean clothes.

After laundry we all separated and went off in our cars to do different things. I went to dinner with my car at a Mexican restaurant called Mexicali Rose. The food was alright and we had a good view of the river. Our waiter REALLY didn’t like us. I’ll say that it’s because Shane asked what the soup of the day was (they apparently don’t have one on Sunday.) and also asked for more water. He would say that its because I asked what seafood was in the chimichangas and the waiter didn’t know the English word for imitation crab and because I asked for separate checks. Make your own conclusions.

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Thanks to Emily, Shane, David and Brad for eating with me!

It’s been a great day off and it was cool to see the Dells. I’m rejuvenated, thankful and ready for tomorrow which is THE LAST DAY OF STAFF TRAINING!!! Our first set of campers will be here Tuesday 🙂

Peace, Beth

Ps thanks to my sweet Christ friend Taylor for the picture taking at dinner. Here’s a shot of us together

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God is good all the time

Hi friends,

Today was one of the most spiritually fulfilling days I’ve had in a long time. Overall I just had a great day.

We had a quiet morning with a lot of time devoted to planning and meetings. I met with Kristina my supervisor again and got to talking about my faith journey. It was an awesome discussion and I know God was really present. God was really present multiple times today.

We had guest speakers this afternoon and I met a professor from Ave Maria University, Madison campus. We got to have a good discussion at lunch today about my choice to come here. For those who are unfamiliar with Ave Maria, it’s a Catholic college in Ave Maria, Florida which is a catholic town. Literally. I visited there my freshman year of college on a service trip to Immokalee and actually was set on going there for my year of service for a long time.

We also did some breakout sessions today with former staff members and I chose to learn more about camper devotions and helping kids with their faith. Gina also supplied many helpful hints as a counselor in general.

Tonight we had a girls night. Because certain male members of the staff read this blog, I cannot divulge all the top secret activities we did but we got to eat at tables with tablecloths and candles on them. And the dishes were already set. That is a simple thing in life that I really appreciate. I love a nice dinner like that. We had pizza and salad but it felt a lot fancier 🙂 There were a few activities after that but we ended at lake Jake here at camp with a campfire and hearing more from former and current staffers about crazy/funny things they’ve encountered here. I also had the BEST s’more. It had a dark chocolate milky way and a part of a banana on it. Mmmmm 🙂

God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I’m extremely excited for our day tomorrow. We are completely free from 3pm until camp curfew at 11pm. We can go into town or do basically whatever. I’m ready for some down time. And some quiet prayer with God.

Please know I continue to pray for all of you and miss you all a lot. I’m counting the days til July 21 when one of my best friends, Carolyn (who also happened to share a dorm room with me freshman year!) gets married. I’m honored to get to do a reading during the service and can’t wait to share in her special day. And be in the eastern time zone 🙂 (even if it is in Pittsbugh. Eew. )

Peace, Beth

Ps the pool is finally full here! We should be able to swim in it next week. It’s brand new so I am so excited to get to be one of the first to swim in it!

CTF on the AF

Hi everyone!

It’s been another great day here in Wisconsin. I want to start by saying thank you to Steph, MC and Angel-Leah for your cards and notes! I felt like a real cool person today when I looked in my mailbox 🙂

Today we really worked hard getting our pods ready. My group decided that Shane and I would be the ones running Going Ballistic for the first week or two. We planned some awesome volcanoes and rocket launches as well as making ice cream and water balloon launches. I’m pretty excited!

I also got to do my first meeting with my supervisor Kristina. The cool thing with her is that she is also on the SaLT team come fall so we have a chance to really get to know each other.

In order to stay on track in preparing for campers, we went on a cookout that the trailblazer girls and boys (6-8th grade) will get to participate in. This cookout involves getting to go into the woods as opposed to the younger camper cookout by the lake. They also get to make hobo dinners consisting of sausage, hash browns, cheese and veggies. It was a very delicious meal. We ended the day with a rousing game of CTF on the AF (for all you non-camp people, that’s capture the flag on the athletic field. ) My team lost. Again. But it was pretty fun and I’m excited to play a bigger game with more campers.

I’m enjoying my week and looking forward to the cool stuff we’ll be doing this weekend which includes heading into Baraboo for Mass and the St. Joseph Parish festival. I hear I’ll also get to experience this restaurant called Culvers which is apparently the best thing in Wisconsin. I’ll be the judge of that 🙂

Talk to you soon.

Peace, Beth

PS I forgot to tell you all! This afternoon my table finished clearing our table first at lunch. Being table number 1 is a big deal here at camp and I’m pumped to say I finally got to be at the table!

Jobs and other fun stuff

Hi everyone!

It’s nearing the end of another great but very tiring day at camp. Seriously, it’s taking all I have to stay up and write this instead of heading to bed (and it’s only 10:30!!) so forgive me if this is brief(er)

Today we dove into the life of a camper while here at camp. We explored cabin time, swim time, choice time and our pod activities. Choice time is a time of day where 4-5 counselors lead activities of their choosing. Literally anything. To model some ideas, our administrative team hosted 2 choice time activities each. I chose for the first round to go to the costume cage and find a ridiculous outfit (orange pants with hot pink cheetah print, a purple and white Hawaiian shirt and a patriotic hat for me) and parading around camp to show the staff. Other groups played capture the flag (CTF) pinecone war, sidewalk chalking a map of the USA and using a parachute. Like the big kind of parachute. The kind from gym class. I’m having trouble remembering what was offered the second time but I learned to make a rosary bracelet.

We also got our pod assignments today as well. These are things campers will get to do at least once while at camp. My pod is labeled the xtreme pod. I and 5 others will be helping the campers with mountain biking, archery and going ballistic. Going ballistic is fun science experiments like 2 liter car races and egg drops. It’s interesting for sure.

We met some campers and their families tonight at a dinner/ q&a panel. The kids are great and were good insight to what’s to come in the next 10 weeks.

Other than that, life is good. My body is so sore but in a good way. I’m getting used to being on the move all day every day again. I’m working on a sweet tan and loving being around people my age who are as in love with God, if not more, than I am.

Until tomorrow…

Peace, Beth

P.S. my hand is much better today. I promise. Thanks for the concern, Mom 🙂

Conquering fears one day at a time

Hi everyone!

Staff training is going wonderfully and I am slowly conquering fears. And not just little, eww bugs on me fears. Like big fears!

Yesterday we did a group team building activity where we had to pull people over an 11 foot wall without steps or a ladder or anything. I am VERY afraid of heights. I don’t like being up high and in April a kid I knew at Gannon fell off the balcony at his fraternity house and died. Trusting 50 people who are were practically strangers to not let me fall and get me up and over was really hard for me. But I did it! In fact, we got all of us over! I was so scared but hearing everyone cheering me on and being so supportive was wonderful. I also said MANY prayers to Jason before during and after I went up there.

Today, I continued to conquer that fear of heights by getting trained to belay for the rock wall. I didn’t climb YET but I think I will soon. Instead I learned how to hold the rope from the ground. It’s hard work! Call it lucky or not, my climber slipped a few times so I got to practice locking the rope to steady her. I was really lucky to have my boss, Paul, there with me to help show me what to do.

The big camp tradition, the Cassidy games (insert singing here) kicked off tonight between the staff. We had a softball game tonight and though my dear red team lost horribly (something like 21-6) we had such a fun time. The games commence every week with the campers, so it’s fun to get a taste of it before the kids come.

I received my first injuries the past 48 hours. I have wood burn on my arms and thighs from the wall and I have a bruised hand and sore muscles from belaying. Here’s a shot of my hand:

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I’m filled with a lot of camp information, new meal prayers, chants and songs. I’m also filled with prayers too. Please know I am praying for you all and I ask for prayers too. (maybe a tube of Chapstick mailed to me too? hint hint mom) it’s off to the lake to see the stars. Have I mentioned how much I love this place?

Peace, Beth