Fall OE: Week 1

Back at the old grindstone. The delightful, playing-outside-with-middle-schoolers grindstone.

This week we had a seventh grade group come from a large, relatively wealthy, city community. The school is so large that they need to come in three groups. We had the first group Monday-Wednesday, the second group Wednesday-Friday, and I think the third group comes sometime in October. Anyway, the school does its outdoor ed somewhere else in sixth grade and their trip to Camp is basically a big fun field trip for the kids, including a dance. With more of a fun focus, we did not have as many class-classes and more just out playing stuff, still with some goal of education when needed. We did all of our ropes elements, initiatives, canoeing, survival, and a half-day hike with all of the tribes, plus a campfire.

The best part about having this school come is that they bring high school counselors to help out. Now, some of the high schoolers are actually very helpful and participatory, and some are not, so you have to watch out for having extra kids sometimes. However, they get to be the ones who spend the night in the cabins with the kids and help supervise the dances, so we get bonus free time, which is very nice. The second group that came was short male counselors, so some of us (including myself) took over cabin duty Wednesday and Thursday night fro one cabin, but that was not too big a deal.

Highlights for my week:

  • having two canoe classes go incident-free (as you might remember from the spring, I was less lucky before)
  • getting back up on the ropes course with the kiddies, which is always a blast
  • cruising through sessions of Panther Pole and Giant Swing because having tribes of non-campers is so much easier!
  • hanging out with those kids that totally could be campers
  • doing a super goofy campfire with Songbird and Desert including the Banana Slug skit (Banana/Bandana), “Captain, Captain, Captain”, and the bus skit, as well as the Trid Story and the story of how my goldfish drowned
  • and watching kids delight in petting animals over at the nearby farm where we took our hike

It was a very fun OE week. There were some challenging kids and tough moments (really hot Tuesday/Wednesday and then it stormed Thursday morning, so some tribes did not get to do all of the ropes elements), but that’s what we’re trained to deal with. It was a blast.

Well, there was one downside. Over the summer, we had a small bed bug issue – presumed that some camper brought them in on their stuff. But, bug people came in and took care of everything, got rid of the buggers and only a few people got them really bad. Anyway, we thought we were done dealing with them, but apparently not. To prevent future infestation issues, we have upped our Friday clean-up procedures. Now, we will have to vacuum all of the bunk beds and set off a bug bomb in addition to our cabin sweeps and mattress Lysol-ing. Vacuuming two dozen bunks is not a terribly quick procedure, unfortunately. I’m sure we’ll get used to it, but it just seems like a big hassle right now. Certainly worth not having bed bugs, but… c’mon…

Then the weekend came for more fun! Friday was pretty chill after clean up, but we were really just resting up for Saturday. In the morning we went over the farm property where the Humble Dandelion and Mountain knew a sweet bouldering rock was hanging out. We climbed there for a few hours, chilling and chatting, and trying a little parkour-type moves, which was all very delightful. We closed out our time by playing a quick game of Chief Oy-Oy, the one where everyone picks and leaf and tells a story about it. Such a fun game to play with Camp staffers because we’re all rather practiced at making up stories. I am realizing that I have a bit of a habit of making up sad leaf stories when I play. Should probably change that.

After chilling there, Mountain, Songbird, Mud (newly returned to camp!), and I drove to nearby town to watch Mountain’s kid play in a peewee football game! It was hilarious and adorable and all around very much fun. The sky was clear and blue, the air is getting crisp, fourth graders are running around on the field, and fourth graders are being cheerleaders. It was terrific. The kid, who is tiny, even got to play in several plays and made a tackle (big for him)! So great. The ride home was interesting. We took a wrong turn and got to enjoy the Ohio countryside for a while, which, quite frankly, is really beautiful. We also discussed different things we can make using Doritos (a request by Mountain). The game plan is baked tomatoes with Doritos crust, Doritos Mozzarella sticks, and I really want to make a Doritos-crust Taco Pizza. If you tell Pizza Hut and/or Taco Bell, make sure they send me moneys.

When we got back to camp, to our delight, a few summer camp counselors showed up to hang out for a while! It was like a mini-reunion and it was very much fun. There were walks to be taken, chats to be had, and we got a bunny to live with the chickens. So much happened! (Side note, the bunny, Sophie, is exceptionally fat.) Hanging out, we spent the evening watching Labyrinth and Wanderlust, yes, again. Don’t judge us, it is our favorite! Which reminds me, we also have a new favorite song. There is a decent chance that you have heard of it/seen the music video for it because it appears to be going very viral. What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis (a Norwegian parody group). My favorite moment is at 3:20.

Sunday morning was another morning for lots of fun. Songbird, Mud, one of the summer camper counselors (no nature name…), and I went to an apple orchard to pick apples, get some food for dinner, and, of course, eat apple cider doughnuts. So good! I’m sure that more stuff will happen this evening, but, hey, that hasn’t happened yet.

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