A Volunteer Journal Day 4: New Round of Activities and Karaoke Night spice up the day.
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 fourth of five installments. Each one broken into bite size pieces so you can savor every detail. Day 4 Tuesday Camp Theme of the Day: “Teamwork”
I let the campers sleep an extra 30 minutes, not going to do that again. We needed that extra time to get all the campers going in the same direction to breakfast at 8:15 AM. We had fishing as our first activity so the campers we pumped. Last year Rob came to camp not talking much, pretty much just yes and no mostly. After catching his first fish he said to his family when they arrived “I caught a fish” they were surprised. This year we were lucky to have him as he had some challenges that threatened to keep him from coming this year. He was pretty quiet, but when fishing day came he was ready. I really hoped he would catch a big one, he was in the boat across from us as we were coming back in, I yelled across to see if he had caught one and he said he hadn’t yet, on right on cue he got a fish on the line and started to reel him in. Unfortunately the fish got away, but we had a great fish story to tell after. Jack, Gray, and Phil all were in the boat I was in with two super volunteers who took us around the lake to all the best spots and made sure our campers caught some good fish. We threw them all back, but we got pictures, so much fun looking in to those smiling faces as they held up their catch. It warmed up nicely on the lake, which made it a just great morning to be at Camp Harrison. We had to do a little Mission Impossible bit getting one camper to the bathroom back at the chapel after we got out on the lake, but we made it in time to avoid an accident, and the day was saved to allow him to catch one more fish before time was up. Always a little drama, to spice up any adventure, Gray was known for adding drama to any activity, but we laugh heartily every time and he laughed too. By the volume of chatter after getting off the boats we had a good fishing day on the lake. We got on the bus for the short ride to the chapel constructed in honor of Billy Graham for a unique drumming activity. With some African drums an amazing young lady taught us a neat Camp Blue Skies song and let all the campers try their hand on the drums, it was huge hit! Rob and Zeb didn’t like the echo sound of the drums in the chapel so Don picked up on it and took them on a nice hike down by the lake until we were done drumming. Our cabin team was so awesome, each counselor was really tuned into the campers, doing head counts and watching to see if they had any issues, so they could help them if they did. Working with these counselors was a blessing as we were a great team very motivated to serve our campers so they had the best experience possible. Not everything went according to plan but our campers had a great time and I am grateful to have had Mike and Don in Cabin 10.
Lunchtime is a welcome break where all the campers are seated and occupied so we can catch our breath and relax for a few moments. If you have ever taken a group of young adults to an amusement park for the day you know what I mean, you can’t let down your guard for one second. We cared for these campers as if they were our own, the families trusted us with their loved ones and we were not going to let them down. There were some significant challenges but we were lucky nothing serious occurred, I like to think because we were vigilant. Cabin time before afternoon activities was spent napping today, we had some tired puppies, and these activities push the campers who may not be as active in their everyday life. Next Bingo in the great hall, a chance to let one of the counselors take a break, the staff offered group hikes to the Overlook during times when the campers were contained at an activity and there was other facilitators running the activity. Camp had some really special volunteers to come in and facilitate the activities, and they were all just amazing, giving themselves to the campers. I could hear Chuck in the background at pretty much every activity “I think I am having a good time Jim”, just cracked me up every time I heard it.
Free choice time was after Bingo, our campers engaged in arts, reading or writing so I took Chuck, Zeb, and Rob for a hike up to the Overlook, Adria came along as the camp required two counselors to be present with the campers as much as possible to adhere to the safe sanctuary concept of keeping the campers and counselors above reproach. The hike was vigorous and almost near the top Rob put his hand on heart and looked at me like are trying to kill me? I checked his pulse and it was okay and assured him he was going to live. It is funny now but it got my attention at the time. We got to the top of the overlook dedicated to Billy Graham and his life work for God! It was a spectacular view of the whole camp and the campers were amazed. We pointed out all the different activities we did so far and spent a nice 20 minutes just sitting there enjoying the sun and checking out the surroundings, they had lot of questions. On the way back down I could hear from behind me “It think I am having a good time Jim”, “Yup I think you are Chuck” was the ready response!
Dinner and slide show and some cabin time before Karaoke night, we had to help the campers pick a song, which took some time, George picked a song they didn’t have in the Karaoke list so I looked it up on YouTube and let him read off my laptop instead. I couldn’t understand but a few words but he was belting it out and having a big time to Eye of the Tiger. Rob the quiet guy was Michael Jackson “Thriller” for a few minutes and he was singing big time with a little Elvis added in, absolutely hysterical. Jack didn’t want to stop so we had to shut him down or he would have sung all night. Phil practiced his song “Don’t Take the Girl” and brought down the house with the final song, it was a night to remember to say the least. Davidalso had a huge time with My Girl since we could not find a song from the Four Seasons. I never laughed and cheered so hard in my life. Cabin time and lights out could not come early enough, huge day today! Miss my girls at home, wish they could be here to see the work being done for these campers, just beautiful to see the campers just having so much fun. It is a hoot to see it all, but all consuming at the same time, slept like a log that night (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 5: Amazing Accomplishments before Dancing the Night Away.