A Volunteer Journal Day 3: First full day of activities and Skit Night!
Welcome to our first ever Camp Blue Skies mini-series. Thought you would enjoy a play-by-play look at James Guimond's experience at our camp as a week-long volunteer. Please enjoy the third of five installments. Each one broken into bite size pieces so you can savor every detail. Day 3 Monday Camp Theme of the Day: “Making New Friends”
Woke up early and laid in the bunk for a while waiting for the campers to stir. Breakfast was served at 8:15 AM with a Cabin Captains meeting for any updates or issues overnight, the weather was going to be cloudy with chances for rain. Praying the rain will hold off for the campers, as we had a nature walk in the morning. Andy was the leader of the Nature Walk and was incredible in his knowledge of the plants and ecosystem that is the forest. I wish I could have just followed him around and listen, we had one camper with a knee issue so I waited at the trail head with him as the others went on a little farther before coming back for the final leg to the pick up point. It was a little chilly, but it was fun to be with campers joking and trying to answer all their questions, learned a lot about the forest that day. Did you know that Oak trees are the breadbasket of the forest, don’t cut any down please. We got back to the great hall for Fun with Food, a fun program designed to teach healthy eating choices, smoothies and wraps, then lunch.
Cabin time was a neat time to really get to know the campers so each day after lunch we spend time in the cabin just hanging out. Mike was creative and came up with a list for each camper to write their favorite activity each day, so we got to talk with them about all the fun things we did at the end of each day, clever. Many of the campers said they liked cabin time a lot. Mike had a special project and had our campers particularly Drew paint a special gift of camp director Dick. They worked on it each day during cabin time until it was done for final night dance and was presented to Dick. Other campers played Uno card game at the drop of a hat, with lots of kidding and laughing all the way. Our camper Phil was a particular joker always trying to get you to low five him and pull his hand away at the last minute and laugh hysterically after. Don our other counselor was an Oregon Duck graduate so of course Phil called him Donald Duck to give him a hard time, it was pretty funny to me anyway. After cabin time was skit practice, each cabin was to do a 2 minute skit about anything they wanted with any costume, pretty much just be silly. Mike our counselor brought some great props and was a Star Wars fan so we started thinking we would do something like that. As our discussions evolved we ended up with a skit that had our campers being turned into super heroes after coming to Camp Blue Skies. It was the most fun ever watching our campers practice being a super hero. Jack in particular was a huge ham and had a blast with his dancing super powers. Each camper had their own individual super power according to their unique personality. I think it was my favorite part of the whole week, practicing and delivering our skit to the whole camp.
After skit practice we had the Giant Swing next, meet at the flagpole to load the bus to head out to the ropes course. I had been looking forward to the Giant Swing all day, as a rock climber I love anything to do with harnesses and ropes. Each camper gets fitted with a harness, they then climb a ladder and clip into a cable with a separate rope to hoist them up as far up as they are comfortable. They pull a release and drop down and swing like a pendulum unit they stop, a ladder is lifted up and they climb up to un-clip and climb down. It was fun to cheer the campers on that were willing to go way up, and congratulate others just for doing their best. One particular camper exemplified why were all their that week, Gray had decided not to do the swing when it was his turn, but after watching all the other campers go decided to try it after all. It was a huge challenge for him to even climb the 8-foot ladder to clip in, and decided he did not want to go any higher after clipping in. The staff let him just step off the ladder and swing, after getting back on the ground a huge grin came to his face, and skipped over to take off his harness. You could see the pride and joy in his face that he DID IT! I knew right then I was where I was supposed be that day. Even though it was cool and lightly raining, it did not dampen the spirits of the campers, they had a huge time on the Giant Swing!
Back to the cabin to ready for dinner, cabin time was always fun, you just never know what the campers will say next.
Dinner was a great time too, hey who doesn't like to eat at camp? One of our campers Chuck was especially fun as he continually gave us live updates of how much fun he was having, and would use your name every time. I think I heard my name more this week than in the last few years, but loved every time I heard it. “I think I am having a great time Jim” is imprinted in my memory for life, it was so much fun to reply I think you ARE having a great time Chuck” each time. After dinner each night the camp director would do a slide show with photos of that day and the previous day. There was much conversation about who would make the slide show each night. I used my iPhone to send pictures to Dick to make sure my campers made the slide show, and we would hoot and holler every time we saw Cabin 10 on the big screen! Huge Fun! Sometimes when it’s all happening we miss the little subtle cues and moments when the campers are having fun, we keep head counts and make sure everyone is safe, the slide shows let us see that we were able to help them have a great time at each activity, and relive it with them while cutting up too! We did our Super Heroes Skit and it came out just great. One of the other counselors did a video of it and it was a hit. Check it out. Cabin time is chance to wind down and get ready for lights out, they are exhausted and so are we, what a great day. Lights out, no problem sleeping tonight (with one eye open).
Cabin Captain for Cabin 10
James K. Guimond
Tune in next week to see what happens next in A Volunteer Journal Day 4: New Round of Activities and Karaoke Night spice up the day.