304 sick

Hi everyone,

Well, it’s happened. And quite frankly, I’m surprised I’ve been able to avoid it this long. Yep, I’m 304 sick. In other words, I’m really missing Erie, my sorority sisters, Gannon and especially my roommate Steph and all our frequent visitors to our apartment, 304.

Tonight I happened to speak to 5 of my sorority sisters either via text or in a phone call and I got to text Steph. (Well, we left her a lovely voicemail too!) After hanging up with my little, it hit me how much I wish they were all just down the hall or a couple blocks away instead of 12 hours and several hundred miles away!

I miss going out with the fab 5, having Dance Moms viewing parties with Steph and old people dinner hour with the comm club/mean girls, amongst other things. I know God was right in bringing me here to Wisconsin and I am beyond thankful for the things I have learned about myself, my faith, and others and I am also eternally grateful for the opportunity to work on things that I would have never changed had I stayed in Erie or Cleveland. However, when I read about RUSH week or ABST leader applications going out or about how my friends are owning their respective sports and making Gannon proud, I really wish I was there to cheer them on!

It’s up in the air right now, but hopefully Steph and I will be reunited the first weekend of October. Prices have increased drastically for the megabus so I’m working on figuring out if a trip to Minneapolis is possible. Hopefully the answer is yes so I can see her and 1/5 of the fab 5, Kayla, and experience a new city. Most of all I just want to sit with them and a cup of coffee and catch up on life. In person and not over Skype. That’s not the same.

That’s all for now. Sorry for the depressing post. We knew it was going to happen sometime, right? All is well at camp and I’m pumped to meet the next group of 8th graders tomorrow.

Peace, Beth

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Still alive!

Hello everyone!

 

I apologize for the lack of posting in the last few weeks– we are INCREDIBLY busy here at camp. I am so blessed to be here and working with the people and the kids that frequent our camp. If you happen to follow my twitter feed, you’ll most often see tweets about how much I love camp and how ridiculously cool my job is. It is all of that and more. 

Most of you might know that I despise mornings. They’re so rough. Here, they arrive somewhere between 6:45-7:15 am. On a day off, probably by 9 or so, as not to get too comfortable with sleeping in. These times are a HUGE jump from my college days. Even when I had an 8am class I wouldn’t roll out of bed til 7:45. I know this is a sign of loving my job and being devoted to the service that our God has led me to. I still am not a morning person, but I’m getting better at getting out of bed and avoiding the snooze button! 

 The other fabulous thing about camp is I feel like I am truly living the life I was meant to live in all aspects. I feel so alive and blessed to be here and with these kids and I am constantly striving to be a better person. God has brought some beautiful individuals here and I am so grateful to be with them and learn from them and be allowed to influence them as well. 

So I suppose you all want to know what’s going on here– WELL! 

I chopped off 10 inches of my hair to donate to locks of love. It was really awesome to do it with my housemate, Maria, and to be able to make my 5th donation in 14 years to the program.

I’m currently blogging from our new office! Yes, my CG friends- it is finally done and we’re basically all moved in. It is a beautiful space and I love working in it! It is also nice for all of us to have some space to spread out AND have some retreatants in the building together.

I am working on a lot of things that freak me out INCLUDING HEIGHTS! Oh gosh, I jumped off a 23 foot platform to the ground and my waiting teammates. Talk about trust! So scary but I am so glad they were there to support me and encourage me to do it! All pictures are on facebook.

We’ve been working hard- lots of kids coming through and I am learning just as much as they are. My current favorite tree is the quaking aspen. We have some here at camp and the biggest quaking aspen grove is in Utah. It’s the largest living organism in the world. Yes, bigger than a whale. I’m also working on identifying invasive species such as buckthorn and honey suckle. Not the honey suckle vines, which are good, but the bushes. I’ve also learned a lot about my faith and Catholicism. This team has such a strong faith and I am blessed to be able to learn from them! 

That’s all I think for now. Shout out to Shane, who asked for one, and to all the CG people reading this– you are missed, loved and spoken of often here at camp! Know that you, and all my followers are prayed for regularly!

 

Peace, Beth

Homestretch (of this half)

Hello friends,

We are in the homestretch! As we say here at camp– that is cray-cray! I cannot believe I’ll be home in a week’s time &will be taking on year round fun in the week after that.

Last week was a blast. I was with the settler boys again and man, they were the epitome of little boys. I laughed A LOT and had to just let things go A LOT! I was sad to see them go at the weeks end but I had the opportunity to work with Max, one of the most beloved counselors here. Max is what some might call obnoxious, loud or perhaps child-like, but all the kids respond incredibly well to him and he does fabulously with some of the more difficult campers. I learned a lot from him and really enjoyed myself.

I was especially glad I had picked up some of Max’s tricks on Friday night when I got the news that I would be a head counselor this week!!!!!

You see, for the past 8.5 sessions I was a cocounselor and a member of program staff, which means I fill in a lot of different places and work with a lot of different kids. Often, cocounselors get only limited interaction with their cabin during the day because they are covering breaks for other counselors or setting things up for night activities. I love that job and appreciate how much work goes into being on program staff, however I have started to think more and more about wanting to try head counseling as the summer has gone on. I was thrilled to hear that Reba, our director, thought I could do it and granted my placement request.

What is different about head counseling? Well to start, I am the first one our kids should go to with problems or sleeping things or for questions. I have the opportunity to be in just one pod this week for the whole morning, so I’ll be with every kid. In the afternoon I am the one overseeing rest time, distributing mail and making sure we get to swim and choice time on time. This week, unlike before ,I am NOT around during these times, I am on my breaks. After dinner I’ll be making sure we are at our night activities on time, that we do devotions (I’m planning them too), that we get ready for bed and get to sleep on time.

So far my group had been great. I have settlers, the youngest age group but I have the oldest group of them. All the girls are entering 5th grade. They have a maturity level of maybe 4th grade, but they listen really well and are eager to help and follow directions. We are named the Duck Party and are known to quack and waddle in a gaggle. It’s adorable.

I can’t wait for the rest of the week, as we celebrate our birthday theme and have our devotions tie into that. (last night we discussed God’s gift to us of creation and how we use that gift with love and respect. Tonight we’ll be talking about Jesus’ birth and how Christmas is the ultimate birthday party) we also have a big birthday party SCAT night planned for Wednesday and a slumber party for Thursday night, our last night together. I am pumped!

I ask that you pray this week for our health, as after 9 weeks, we are deteriorating and getting sick. We need strength and love to minister fully to our kids. I also ask that you remember our director Jeff, as he has his bone marrow transplant on Wednesday. you can read his blog here

Peace, Beth

2 more weeks

Hi everyone,

It’s 7 down 2 to go here at camp, which is simply insane. We have had 7.5 sessions already which means I have sang, danced, swam, ate with and shared my love of God with hundreds of kids. That is simply breathtaking!

This past week was hard for me, as we had to say goodbye to some of our fellow staff who needed to leave early for school and other circumstances. We have a song we sing here at camp entitled “bless us for the journey.” we usually sing it Thursday night at the conclusion of the Cassidy games to the kids, but we also sing it to departing staff. This week we sang it 3 times, which was tough. It was also tough to say a goodbye in the middle of the week and not let on to the kids that the entire staff had just been in tears while they were at free time. I think it speaks to how close our staff is though, to be so sad to see one of us leave. So Shane, Anna B, Anna M and Bridget– we miss you a TON already!

As I said before, it’s crazy to reflect on how far we’ve come this summer. I can see in myself my faith growth and know it will continue to grow as we head into the year round program. Before getting to camp I was at a crossroad in my faith when a wise campus minister challenged me to find the spark and not burn out in my faith so young in life. I tell this story to the older campers and many a staff member often and I am thrilled to have had such a great influence (amongst several others) that I can tell the staff and campers about here.

This will be another challenging week at camp as our staff slowly departs but there wouldn’t be growth without challenge. I am thrilled to be back in settler boy land and also pumped that the other settler boy cabin will also have a female co-counselor. I am also happy that we have already gotten close enough that the settler boy staff, as well as some others, will be coming together each night to pray a rosary, as some of us need strength in the rosary area. We will be offering them up for Jeff, our director who is entering the hospital this week to prepare for his bone marrow transplant on August 15. If we can add any additional prayers for you, please let me know!

Peace and love, (and sursum corda to any new SJA followers!)

Beth

Soccer and more

Hi everyone!

I apologize again for the lack of updates but this week has been so fun-filled I have forgotten!

Last weekend was Carolyn’s wedding and I was honored to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun seeing my Gannon friends.

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After the wedding my mom and I left Pittsburgh early Sunday so we could get to the reopening Mass at St. Pats in time. All I can say is WOW!

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This last week I had the best time– I was put with a settler boy cabin full of 2-5th graders. I have never been so pumped through the whole week! The boys had a blast learning about the Lord and learning things typical boys their age struggle with– keeping hands to ourselves, eating all our food before getting more and keeping your clothes on when a girl is in the cabin.

The boys were a lot easier to connect with since I have brothers and mostly male cousins. They were all great listeners however it took them a while to realize that I was one of their counselors. I enjoyed being able to go on a hunt for one of our other counselors &seeing them SO excited when we won the Cassidy games at the last second. (shout out to Frank for saving our cabin a whole lot of tears!!)

After we sent our kids on their way on Friday, we started preparing ourselves for a staff soccer game versus the Jewish camp down the road. We played Saturday and actually won 3-2. I say actually because their team was mostly European. As in, they play this regularly. We had an absolute blast, we loved having a legit uniform and it was great seeing how another camp runs.

20120730-134648.jpg thanks to the Camp Gray Facebook page for the picture!

This week I am with the pathfinders who are entering 8-10th grade. I love being with the little ones but the older ones are a welcome change.

Please know I miss an love you all–just a few more weeks til I am back home for a few days 🙂

Peace, Beth

Back on main camp

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to let you all know I am healthy, happy and very much alive!

As the summer progresses (can you believe it’s the middle of July?!) it is becoming harder and harder to gather the energy to blog on my breaks!

Last week was tough with some illnesses and injuries among the staff and some tough campers but I was continuously amazed by the energy and enthusiasm all my coworkers showed through it all! Everyone stepped up and I think it’s safe to say we’re all glad the week is behind us.

This week I am back on main camp! I am with the oldest trailblazer ladies, who are in 7th and 8th grade. They are super smart, easy going and go to sleep quicker than I ever did at that age! I have missed being in the middle of all the fun and am loving being back but I certainly miss the village as well.

The village has been blessed with some wonderful and beautiful campers this summer and I have learned as much from them as I (hopefully) am teaching them.

Everyone who knows me prior to camp would have probably been amused to see me all of yesterday. It started with a stream hike which involves walking through the creek in knee high boots. Unless of course you are a counselor like me and just wore your sandals. (The water felt AWESOME though!) We then put clay on our faces and got free facials haha! I looked a lot like PigPen from Peanuts haha. After that I helped with fishing and possibly might have accidentally let a fish die. I will aide in putting bait on the hooks an will take seaweed off of them but I refuse to touch the fish. Sorry, fish! Last night we had the water carnival and I helped with water dodgeball. Yep, pretty similar to what you’re thinking!

We are having a blast here and every time I begin feeling homesick, I remember how blessed I am to be here with all these beautiful people. Also, I get to come home on FRiDAY!!! I am eagerly anticipating these 48 hours in the eastern time zone and can’t wait to witness the wedding of my best friend Carolyn! It’s going to be awesome 🙂

Until then,
Peace, Beth

Catch up

Hi everyone,

Sorry for my lack of posting lately!

It’s another week here at camp and I love it. The more challenging the better. But as an update from last week– the kids came home from their trip and I was greeted with a huge group hug in front of the whole camp. It was so great to see them all an hear about their trip. I am officially an explorer now as I went through ritual with them on Tuesday night.

We said goodbye Wednesday but I have a feeling camp will be seeing most of those kids again. We cleaned in RECORD time that day to be able to leave camp (we’re usually done by 7-7:30 and we started our meeting at 5:57 So we were dismissed by 6:35ish!) We celebrated the 4th in the most American way we could think of without fire works (thanks for the drought ban, Saux county!) at famous Dave’s.

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On Thursday night a group of us went to a waterpark resort around here called adventure (?) and had a blast! Thanks Shane’s family for giving us their extra bracelets for the day!

Friday morning was greeted with a familiar face! My friend Patrick recently moved to the Madison area from Cleveland for a job at a large company called Epic. His mom came to camp to pick me up so I could spend the night with them and see his workplace. It is the COOLEST place I’ve ever been. Of you’re ever in the area check it out! (after you visit me, of course!)

Here are some snippets:

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It was a blast seeing Patrick and catching up since its been a few months. He is the first of three college friends to be moving to the area so I’m glad to have them around!

I’m a lifeline for the village again this week and the group is completely different and twice the size of last weeks. 16 kids! They seem like a good group so I’m ready to get to know them better. Even if it weren’t to work out i vowed to only complain for 2-3 minutes a day this summer. It’s been working so far and I don’t see a reason why I should be complaining– I have a job, they feed me, I have a bed to sleep on and on the weekends there is air conditioning (we pull mattresses into the lobby and sleep there) and I work in a place where God is fully present and loved. I am truly blessed!

Miss you all and I can’t wait to be on the east coast in just 11 days!!

Peace, Beth

Cool Aunts and life in the Village

Hi friends and family!

I am writing as a very tired but extremely happy counselor. This past week has been an absolute blast and I have loved every minute in explorer village.

This week my days were a blur of prepping meals, bringing them to the village, watching food prep, sharing meals, watching cleanup, bringing food back to main camp, afternoon shenanigans and devotions. The shenanigans were never the same and never boring. I watched (well, gave the okay to do so) the kids draw a unibrow on the other counselor who fell asleep, helped the kids sneak around camp and played all the best camp activities with them in the dark. Who WOULDN’T want to play panda ball and dodge ball in the dark or swim in the pool at 7am?! They (and I) also had great opportunities for Mass, confession and adoration this week. It was a good week for feeling refreshed in the sacraments.

On Wednesday I went with the group to a place called devils lake to hike and swim and grill out. Oh my gosh. Google devil’s lake trails. Yep. I climbed that. Extremely slowly. Way behind the kids. Crying at one point because of my bad knees. But I made it. And then we climbed down the fallen rock. It was the most inspiring experience ever.

This weekend has been unique as the kids stayed here to be two week campers. On Friday night their counselors were given the night off so another counselor and I hung out, made dinner, played capture the flag and watched The Lion King with them and spent the night in the village with them. Except they have cabins. I was in a tent. It was fine until we were about to go to bed at 12:30am when the girls started screaming bloody murder. Yep, they discovered the mouse family in their cabin. I am NOT a fan of rodents so I stayed safely zipped in my tent while the boys rescued the clan and put them in the woods. Ugh. Of all nights for the mice to appear! On the other hand, I was really proud that I made it in a tent alone in the woods all night without a major freak out. And got sleep too!

We sent the kids off on a canoe trip today with some other counselors and I told some of the remaining staff that I felt like I was sending my own kids off! They gave me a big group hug before they left and I reminded them off things for the trip like making sure one camper was careful not to rip any more pairs of shorts (the poor kid ripped 2 so far!) or reminding another to salute the dealer during the card game MOW since that was the rule that always slipped him up. They all asked if I’d be waiting by the camp arch when they got home and though I won’t be at the arch, I told them I’d be eagerly anticipating their return.

They are a big family in the village and call me “Cool Aunt Beth”. Maybe that’s for letting them color on Frank with markers or because one morning I had a hard time navigating the kitchen and showed up with frozen bagels, peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, chocolate chips, coffee, milk, oatmeal and fruit snacks for their fruit. (the apples were MIA that day!) Either way, or for something else, I love it. And cracked up when some of the littlest boys on camp adopted the name when I ate a few meals with them on main camp. Only cool aunts persuade kids to eat all their carrots by eating her meal with no hands in return… Right?! (Side note: eating with no hands, no utensils or eyes closed are daily occurrences here at camp. As is licking your plate to clean it. Love that!)

This week I don’t have a cabin group since it is a short week and the explorers will be back Tuesday evening and everyone goes home Wednesday evening. That’s okay because last week wore me out and I had a 24 hour bug Friday and Saturday which is still making me feel less than 100%. I feel like its starting to go around camp so hopefully I only get it once. And hopefully it only hit two of us and the rest will remain bug free. (one guy was starting to feel it last night and today)

This week will involve me catching up with my letter writing– I counted I believe 5-6 I need to respond to so hopefully this week! It’s also the beginning of new trends. This week we are instituting Minion Mondays (have you seen Despicable Me ? No? Do it!)for the ladies on staff and Wolfpack Wednesday for the gentleman. Thanks to Wal-Mart for carrying awesome and cheap shirts. Pictures to come soon.

Peace and prayers to you all,
Beth

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