Fall OE: Week 6

Really? Its only week 6? Hm. I guess having been here since March makes writing week 6 seem weird.

Apologies for the delay, more traveling this weekend, although no where near as extensive as last weekend, but I was not back in time to want to write last night. Still not really feeling it to strongly this morning, but on we go.

A lot of kids this week. Oh my goodness, so many kids this week. The school that came for the first half of the week brought 175. 175. We had to put some kids in the house that the staff live in because we did not have enough space in the cabins. We had tribes of 15 kids. We had to split the night classes (campfire and night hike) so that halves did them on opposite days. We had to have two shifts at meals – boys eat, then girls eat. BUT IT WORKED!?!?! Somehow, we managed to pull it off and the Monday through Wednesday with them went smoothly. I mean, way to go team, but now they’ll want to do it again! And they might bring the whole 190 they can bring next year. Oops. Haha, but it was quite the accomplishment. It really wasn’t that bad. Only sad thing was not being able to see half of the staff during teacher time because half of us had to have dinner while the other half got their break. Luckily, for the most part, the kids were pretty good, except not very good at listening.

As I mentioned last week, we built these kids an archaeology dig site, and learned how to teach a new class, just for them. And it went pretty well. I did not have Archaeology until later in the week, so it was looking pretty dug up by the time I got there with a tribe. However, the kids did not seem to know that it was a created site for the most part. Some of the kids had heard from previous tribes that it was false, but still really enjoyed it. Those that really got into loved it, especially when they started finding things in the dirt. Their favorite thing to find, though, was worms. Of course. They ate a bunch of them… Kids these days.

Something helpful(ish) that this school did, though, was to bring a LOT of adult helpers. On Tuesday about 20 parent/family volunteers showed up to spend much of the day, along with 5 or so who spent the whole time there. It is nice to have an extra set of eyes around, usually. I didn’t have any big issues with the people that were hanging around, and the teachers that were with me did a great job of just hanging in the background. Only one student’s sister and her boyfriend making some really unnecessary and inappropriate PDA around sixth graders. C’mon…

They also went canoeing! Which was delightful because the water was flat and gorgeous when I went. But it is pretty chilly, which is worrisome if anybody flips. Thankfully, no kids did. One staff may have tipped. In his kayak… Going out on the water just makes me miss rowing. Sigh.

Then, On Wednesday, a second school showed up with 130 kids. 13 per tribe, and a packed dining hall at meals. This school was mostly very fun with some very cool (camper-type) kids, a non-verbal girl who is just wonderful, and a boy whose parents won’t take to an appropriate doctor to get diagnosed as autistic, or something similar. All awesome fun kids. Plus, these kids were pretty darn good at getting quiet to listen. Like, way better than the first half of the week, which is always wonderful. My big highlight for working with them was a significant geek out moment on the night hike. I decided to walk them way up to Crusoe (remember that camp out from week six over the summer? Ooh, nice symmetry, week 6s) for our activities, which I will totally consider doing again. The moon was nearly full and bright out, which is much nicer than the previous few weeks which were quite dark. Up on top of this hill in the woods, we heard some animals, played some games and FOUND A PIECE OF WOOD THAT WAS JUST FULL OF FOXFIRE FUNGUS WHICH GLOWS IN THE DARK! It was pretty cool. I was able to pass around the wood chip and everyone could see the bio-luminescence. It was awesome. They wanted to take it with them.

On Thursday we got a bit of rain, which was OK, drove us under pavilions and things, but we can still do stuff. Its Outdoor Ed! Just a little liquid sunshine. That night we had a campfire, though, which we had inside. I was a little worried about having 130 kids inside for campfire, but it went awesome. Got to sing a really fun Rutland Bog that the kids got into. Also did the booger ball skit. Where person 1 holds person 2’s bouncy ball (invisible, imaginary ball). p2 leaves and p1 plays with the ball until, accidentally, the ball is swallowed by p1. p2 returns, asks for their bouncy ball back, and upon finding that it was lost (p1 lies about how it disappeared), says they can make another, picks their nose and rubs it in their palm. p1 usually has to tell the audience of kids to keep it a secret what actually happened and when I returned to the stage (as p2), most of the kids were yelling at me that p1 had swallowed it. It was hilarious. But, finally getting them to quiet down, we finished the skit and all of the kids went “ewwwww”, etc. However, still keeping his hand high in the air and flapping it around (after the rest of the kids had let it go) was the undiagnosed, kid who probably has autism. I called on him and he says very assertively that p1 had swallowed the ball. It was so funny. Had to overact it that point – “What!? EWww…. Gross! He ate my booger ball!?” Awesome.

We had to learn a new class for this school as well, called Hot Air Balloons, where we make, you guessed it, Hot Air Balloons! We do some experiments to prove that air is matter (takes up space and has mass) and to demonstrate the difference in pressure between hot air and cold air. Then, using trash bags, tape, flexible sticks, tin cans, and a propane camping stove, we launch hot air balloons! It is actually pretty cool, and when one launches, the kids LOVE it. Get so excited. Plus, for some reason, I didn’t have to be in a cabin Wednesday or Thursday, so I was loving life. Even went for a night run on Wednesday after night hikes with Mountain.

Then the weekend arrived! We cleaned up on Friday, then I internet’d for a bit (still don’t know what I’m doing next…), and I went for a run. The air is now quite crisp, all of the trees are autumning pretty hard. Slept outside in my hammock Friday night, and it was a great decision. Love sleeping outside. Did it again last night!

Saturday was another low key day. Intended to spend it applying for jobs, but ended up watching Parks and Rec instead… Plus, there was a karate group on camp! I ended up taking them to do archery (in the rain) and then having lunch and participating in their review session. 6 to 12 y/os and adults. The six year old girl who does karate is adorable. I promise that. It was fun to get back into some sort of self-defense/martial art. Its been a while since capoeira and I miss that too. Saturday night, I drove to meet up with some summer camp workers I hadn’t seen in a while, one who lives in the area, and the other who is on fall break from far away. We caught up on life and watched Space Jam, which i recently found at WalMart.

On Sunday, after sleeping in, the three of us went for a jog, then on a bunch of adventures. First we hit up an apple orchard for apple picking and APPLE CIDER DONUTS! Ohmygosh, unfairly delicious. That is something to learn to make. For sure. So many apples. Found that the Melrose apples are quite tasty. Then, we stopped by some Halloween stores just to see what was happening there (and a Toys R Us, cause, you know, we’re adults). We’re almost to the “Sexy Slut” costume being readily available for women on Halloween. Almost. Have to settle for Sexy Crayons and Cats for now… Then, it was off to a Corn Maze! There was tiny, adorable, zoo with bunnies, pigs, goats, sheep and a donkey (or burro, didn’t respond to English or Spanish). In the craft barn, a chirporatic nurse ran a NASA designed inflammation sensor on my neck and found a lot of inflammation. Could have been because she was talking to me from behind my right shoulder so I had to turn around to feel considerate! But, I got free pumpkin soft serve, so, totally worth it. We also swung on a swing and watched some pumkin’ chukin’ before going into the maze. Now, compared to the mazes I’ve done in Maryland, this was not a maze, just a route in the corn. Never felt confused on my location, which is one of the great joys of a corn maze! Oh well… Maybe I’ll win a $10 gift certificate to Applebee’s for finding all of the hole punches! Heh. After a nap, and some apple eating, I returned to camp to do some puzzles and read before going to bed in my hammock again. Cold nights and warm sleeping bag – can’t beat it.

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