Outdoors are Still Awesome

So good to be back at camp. This season will definitely be different than the spring, but I believe it will still be good. I’m excited for the rest of the fall staff to return this coming week! In-service starts on Wednesday.

This past week, let us see… On Monday, we went to a nearby middle school for a day of initiatives and such with 5th graders. The fun part is that these fifth graders will come to camp next year as sixth graders! It was a rather chaotic day – we had about 250 kids (in two waves, thankfully) and eight instructors. It was a fast paced day, especially the morning when we had 150 of them. Trying to get at least half of the things planned accomplished, and processing about it. Geez. I ran line ’em up (make them line up in a specific order as fast as they can) and stepping stones (get across a certain area using 18″ long 4x4s) with them. With so many kids, a lot of them were all over the map. Some really awesome ones, and some that were a little frustrating. But, hey, that is what we expect and what we’re trained for.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty quiet, chill. No groups coming in for us to work with, so I went for some runs and did a little digging to find out if there were any jobs that I would want to apply for, and I sure found some. One on American Samoa doing mist netting and bird banding that I’m technically underqualified for, but hey, why not give it a shot, and another on North Island in the Seychelles doing sea turtle, tortoise, and bird conservation work! Oh my goodness, they both sound so cool. I am really hopeful on them. And, hey, if they do not come through, I’m always scanning for more opportunities and thinking about sticking around Ohio, maybe baking or something at least through the winter.

On Thursday, we had a school group come to camp for a few hours of team building. What was really cool about this group, was that they were the seniors from a school for kids with “learning differences” – just like a lot of the kids at summer camp! So, that was really fun. We ran them in small groups through several of our initiatives – the teeter totter, ants on a log, swamp stompers, and maze ‘n’ moves, for me, and then did communication sculptures with them after lunch. Most of the kids were quite high functioning, but with their own little quirks, and so it was really fun to see them all work together.

On Friday, another school group came in, this time sixth through eighth graders from a nearby christian school, although, the type of the school did not really turn out to be relevant. We did a bunch of energizers, initiatives, and leadership discussion work with them to hopefully make them into a stronger class. The particularly fun points of the day were that the school comes every year, so some of the kids recognized the instructors who had been here, a few of the kids could definitely be summer campers, and Mountain returned from his summer else where! I am very excited to work with him (and everybody else) this fall, again!

Then, Saturday rolled around and it was time for some real fun. After getting the house cleaned up, because it has a tendency to get a little messy during the week, we set off on a day with some adventure. Four of us (Songbird, Turtle, Durango, and myself) visited the Ohio Bird Sanctuary to look at a whole bunch of birds – mostly various hawks and owls. It was awesome. They’re such beautiful birds. Plus, Songbird LOVES (I cannot understate that word here) owls. So much. And she got to see a dozen of them, so she was pretty pumped. Then, we went to get groceries and such between chains and farmers market before returning to camp. For dinner, Songbird made some delicious bacon-wrapped, goat cheese and almond stuffed dates and figs, and I made a big batch of waffles. So tasty. I also finished up a loaf of sourdough that I had started the night before. We all headed down to the lake beach to see the delayed Christmas in July (now in August) firework show with a whole batch of camp people. It was a really good time.

Sunday morning rolled around at it was time for some tasty food, so we went to our favorite local dinner for all kinds of good food before coming back to spend a day down by the lake. Good conversation, music playing, kayaking, swimming, playing with a dog, beautiful sunshine. Everything us outdoorsy hippie-types love. All in all, a really fantastic weekend. And, hey, we don’t even have work tomorrow (Happy Labor Day!) so, it continues.

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