Hello family and friends!
Autumn is almost over here at camp 😦 Seriously, sad times. However, the trees have been BEAUTIFUL! A midwestern fall is something everyone should experience. Camp has been incredibly busy.We have had groups of all sizes come through. When I’m cooking in the kitchen and then consequently doing the dishes, I’d prefer the smaller groups that bring only 10-15 kids. However, when I’m out in the woods, I love having 10 kids in my small group. The questions and thoughts that come out of their mouths seriously make me smile.
Cases in point:
A recent group of 8 8th graders built and maintained TWO fires in the pouring rain. I didn’t think they could but they insisted on trying anyway. (The two dads that chaperoned my group also helped them) After they finished they got to call everyone on the radio and announce their achievement. The whole rest of the time they were with us they referenced that. “Beth, remember that time we got TWO fires started in the rain?! I bet no one else could ever do that!” No, bud. Most people probably couldn’t.
A recent group of rowdy 6th graders were out on a nature hike with me. One boy, I don’t like to say it, but he was my favorite, his ADHD and all. He asked if I knew any Spanish. Well,I took two semesters in college and apparently overemphasized the word MUCH when I said I didn’t know much.
Kid: Como estas?
Me: Yo estoy asi asi
Kid:…..now you say y tu
Me: Oh, y tu?
Kid: (says a line of words extremely quickly that I didn’t exactly know)
Me: I have no idea what you’re saying. I’m sorry!
Kid: ……I said I’m excited to be here! Mr. B, I think Beth failed Spanish when she was in school. She doesn’t know ANYTHING.
Well, I could say I was okay! But yes, Spanish is not my forte and in the Spanish realm, I really don’t know anything.
8th grader: So how often do you get to watch tv?
Me: Never. We don’t have a tv that gets any channels and I don’t usually watch shows online. Except for Dance Moms.
8th Grader: NEVER?! How do you survive?!
Well kid, I didn’t think I could survive either.
Me: Listen, bud. I’ll meet you halfway. You participate today and answer just a few of the group questions and maybe pretend this isn’t the worst experience ever and I’ll let you light our campfire tonight. Deal?
Junior in High School: Deal. (Complete with sigh and eye roll)
Teacher: …Excuse me, but did you just bribe him with fire?
And guess what?! It worked. And has continued to work. Sometimes you just gotta let kids do something they like, such as lead a game in exchange for going to bed well and sitting still for skits.
Other than this and the (what seems like) billions of kids that roll through camp, not too much is new. My birthday was celebrated in a low-key Gaertner style but big on camp standards. Through a generous donation to the feed the staff fund, we were able to eat out at a nice restaurant called the Moose Jaw. On my actual birthday, my mom sent me flowers which were delivered before I got out of bed. My roommates met the delivery person and brought them down to my room (have I mentioned I live in the basement?!) and sang to me while they watched me read the card. I got coffee delivered to my room, made exactly how I like it. One of the other team members came over with eggs fresh from the camp chickens and cooked me a fresh veggie omelet. YUMM-O!
In the afternoon we bummed around town and enjoyed some Starbucks. Wow, I haven’t had Starbucks in forever. It was so great. We then finished the day with a homemade Chicken and Dumplings dinner. Patrick, my friend from college, came down from Madison to have dinner with us and the team was generous in their gifts. I received some fuzzy socks, gummy worms and the best travel coffee mug ever. But seriously.
The bonding here has been great. Disney Princess Potluck was a few days ago and included Ariel’s Shrimp, Snow White’s Apple Crisp, Mulan’s Chinese food and Pochantas’ blueberry cornbread, among several other dishes. I love having a themed dinner, and I made Rapunzel’s angel hair pasta. We have also gone mini golfing with some tickets donated to camp and been to a pumpkin patch for a corn maze and petting zoo. Tonight we are having a “Chopped”/ “Iron Chef” competition with the guys and the ladies in the other building. It’s an appetizer competition and some other members of the camp staff will be judging. We will all be going to Wal-Mart and will draw the three secret ingredients in the parking lot. We have only $20 and 15minutes. We will then get some time to cook and will present our dishes at 8pm. Seriously, so fun.
Finally, we have become big fans of “The Walking Dead” here at camp, so I ask you: If zombies were to come to your town/area, where would you hide? We have this discussion about camp at least 3 times a week.