Week 8 – Working Off Property

No school groups at Camp this week, but I did get to go places to continue working. We also had some in service training for the seasonal staff to make us better prepared to work with College and Corporate groups.

We had Monday off because the “work” we did last Saturday for the get outside day. However, the camp next door to us had a school group in for team building and stuff and needed some help to run their vertical playground and zip line. I got to go over to help out (some extra bucks!). It was a 6th and 7th grade group from a private Christian school, and they needed our help for Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The only noticeable difference between this group and the groups we’ve been having is the number of kids – significantly fewer from a private school. So, I ran the zip line with another Camp person, while a third one of us ran their vertical playground (ladders, cargo net, tires strung up between two trees that they climb while harnessed in). Their zip line is a little different than ours. It is not part of high ropes course, so the kids just come up to the top and get to go down. Second, it starts from a ramp instead of a straight platform drop, so the kids can slide, walk, or run down the ramp to go down the zip line, and it pretty clearly takes away from some of the mental stress of going down a zip line. So that was pretty cool.  Plus, running and jumping into the air, knowing the zip line will catch you, is really fun.

After running ropes, we helped out with an evening class – one running archery and the others helping with fire building. I got to help with fire building both nights. What is really cool about their program for fire starting is that they teach flint/steel with char-cloth, so I got to learn that. Plus how to make char-cloth, and a little bit about various tinder things you can find in nature, including fungi. So neat. On Tuesday, I learned that I apparently have magical powers while doing fire building. I had assembled my fire nest (a nest-shaped bundle of dry grasses/reeds/pine needles), was sitting next to it, and was making my tinder bundle of jute (twine). I had no flint or steel in my hands. When I was told my fire nest was already lit. I looked down, and sure enough, it appeared that my fire nest had spontaneously combusted. Now I just need to work on controlling my powers.

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, we had our in service sessions with two of the directors. Basically, we just played team building games. Some of them were really cool and fun, and some of them were exceptionally frustrating. As they should be. One of the most fun things, in my opinion, was the Lycra tube. Basically, a three-foot wide sheet of lycra sewn to create a big, stretch ring that you can use for all sorts of games. For instance, place the group inside the ring, backs to the walls, create tension, and then sit down and stand up together. Not too challenging for five people who do team building stuff all of the time, but I’m excited to try with a dozen middle schoolers. Also, made the ring into a ring of a valley and pass tennis balls around the circle inside of it. One of the most frustrating activities we did required us to come to a consensus, and that was the entire challenge of it, what made the four of us so frustrated with one another. A piece of webbing (basically seat-belt material an inch wide and twenty feet long) was laid out on the floor in a tangle, and we had to come to a consensus as to whether it would knot or not when you pulled on the two ends. Because its an exercise in perspective, you can’t really convince someone to your point of view, especially if they hold their side heavily, which most of us did. It was rough. The other one was a tetris like game where we had to fill 100 cells on a magnetic bard with different pieces as they were pulled with out covering “error squares”. We had ten minutes and once a piece was laid down, we couldn’t move it. Without practice, such a puzzle requires a lot of guess and check work, so we were not able to complete the puzzles without error, and it was very frustrating, again. We also played games like “Spot It”, “Polar Bears and Ice Holes”, and a real-life adaption of an iPhone game with spots and paths on a grid. Which were all lots of fun. We used personality trait cards to learn what kind of people we are and how we work well. So, there was a lot of good in addition to the frustration.

Thursday was a pretty darn quiet day, we got to go for a hike around our property with plant ID books to try to figure out what we’ve got growing. It is still a little early, so there aren’t a ton of flowers out yet, but I am excited to go back when there are!

On Friday (an absolutely GOREGOUS! day) we drove to Sandusky, OH to workshop with a high school group. The group was the schools mentors and student government for next year and they wanted to do some team building with us. It was a lot of fun. High schoolers, especially the school leaders, are much smarter and more efficient at tasks than Middle schoolers, so it was a real change of pace. For the morning, we set out six initiatives and marked their positions in GPS devices that they would use to get to the activities. Then, in smaller groups, we went around and put them through the challenges, then debriefed each. For the afternoon, we did a communication activity in which they had to recreate a sculpture by passing information through three people. Finally, in small groups, they built race cars around wagons using PVC, cardboard, twine, and paint and then raced them. It was a day of great fun. I also got a little experience driving with small trailer behind a van. Luckily, I didn’t have to back it up.

Saturday was lovely out, again, so I spent a bit of time out frolicking – bouldering, climbing trees, and trying to slack line. And made deep fried mac n cheese balls with bacon to go with dinner. I highly suggesting doing it. In other news with my life outside of work, I have started a yeast culture for natural leavening! And as of today it appears to be reacting to feedings in the way that I want it to. So yay! Updates to come on how that works out.

We have two school groups this week, one Monday to Wednesday and the other Wednesday to Friday. Fortunately, I don’t think they’re giant. Then, this coming weekend, I’m going home for my 5 year high school reunion! Should at least be entertaining.

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