Friday, September 04, 2009

Family Camp

It was sad to see the last bus of kids depart at 5:30 in the morning...but lets be realistic. It was 400 hundred screaming, rambucious kids & it was 5:30 IN THE MORNING. What I was more looking forward to was moving into the Ponderosa. My own, sweet, sweet cabin just for my lonesome. The first bed in a long time that was resting on the floor & my own shower. Enjoyed it while it lasted because the next day I was off to Trails End for Family Camp.

Family Camp is what every camp employee dreams of. It is the first time that you can relax for the whole summer & enjoy the people that you are with. It was especially important to me because it meant a little bit of reality for me. No heat & no personal showers...just like Alaska:)

I was blessed to have a truck with 4-wheel drive because the hills to get to Trails End were murder. It was nessled in a valley in the old Dunraven hunting grounds past this adorable little town called Glen Haven. [Which if you are in the area I suggest you get a cinnamon roll from the General Store. They're worth it.] I was the last to arrive to camp so I got the last choice in racks. I got the top bunk next to the window-less window (30 degree nights) with a rip down the center of the mattress. It sounds unpleasant? I will swear on a stack of bibles that this was the BEST sleep I've had in a year!!! Here's a photo of where we all sleep. Its called the Wagon Yard. The campers do sleep in covered wagons. The counselors sleep in the cabins but I must mention that Cheley believes in equality. There is no insulation in those walls. They are glorified garden sheds.
The lodge was another beautifull piece of Cheley architecture that was built next to a brook during WWII.

We had one morning of training & then that afternoon, Lindsay & I trekked over the hills with our lawn chairs to open the gates & welcome the families. Most of these families had children that were too young to go on their own to regular camp so they spend a week together. There was one family, the Janda's from Chicago, were a father & 15 yr-old-son that came together for the hikes. They were my best friends for the week; who can resist a teenager & his father a comedian dentist.
This week I got to step out of the kitchen & be a counselor for awhile. I was put in charge of Crafts. My first day was a morning of under 8 yr old Crafts. I picked out the best project to start with- hankerchief pillows! Which would of been great if there weren't the obsticals. 1) I was teamed up with Riflery, which meant that only boys showed up. 2) My assistant had a moment of supreme stupidity & told them that their was a dragon locked up in the closet called "The Dungeon". The boys tried to karate kick even pick the door apart. I blamed it on the fact that she's Welsh. 3) Confuisus says 'Boys that wear Crocs do not know how to tie shoe laces'. Therefore they did not know how to tie hankerchief pillows. So I spent my morning tying 8 pillows only to have them shot apart at the Riflery range. End of day one.

My other craft days went splendidly. I even did a nature sketch hike in which deer appeared in a clear for us to draw. I'm getting paid for this?! Ofcourse I wasn't just there to do crafts, I was also a hiking counselor. Hiking counselors don't have much of a sense of humor. When I told the program coordinator to put me on an easy hike because I have asthma, she understood my meaning. But things got juggled around & the other hiking counselors decided that I would be good at a morning of Technical Climbing on a cliff & hiking up the Cathedral. I swore to them openly that I was going to be sucking air....Climbing went fine, but the Cathedral. Once we got to the top, I was hiding around a boulder so that no one would see my attempts to not have a heart attack. Beautiful view of the Rocky Mountain National Park though.
Then the next day they decided to have me doing Techinical Climbing again! This is when I discovered what kind of mother I would be. I was on-bole which means the guy on the ground holding the rope so you don't fall to your doom. In the case with kids, it means the guy on the ground PULLING a 60 lb child up the face of a cliff while the kid thinks they are actually climbing it. So I was pulling this adorable 5 year-old up the 'Christmas Tree' when he decides he's had enough. He was shown in the beginning how to repel down but at that instant he starts to rotate around & they inner momma turns on & I yell, "YOUNG MAN YOU WILL NOT BOOTY SCOOT DOWN THAT CLIFF! TURN AROUND AND REPEL LIKE I SHOWED YOU HOW TO!" I almost grudged when I said it but his mother was on anchor behind me & didn't say a word so I went on like I was a calm individual not a momma that wears combat boots.

The best was when I was Fishing Counselor. Here was my chance to lay on the grass & hand out bait for the afternoon. Hehe. I should of not been the smart ass that said,'Hey look! You caught a leaf fish.' because the whole rest of the afternoon were little boys screaming, 'VICTORIA! I caught another leaf fish!!' And off I went up a tree to get a line untangled. But wait, it gets better. It rains! The kids are waiting, dry, in the van, while I'm out in the rain suffocating the trout they caught in a plastic bag. Not exactly a life changing experience but here's the best part..its Family Camp- when we got back to camp I got to hand their dead fish to their fathers' to clean. It would of been a better victory if it wasn't for discovering little Jackson was using my back pocket to store his bait.

Many more stories could be told about Family Camp but after the Families left we all turned from counselors to dudes. The horses had to be ridden over the mountains back to main camp. The covered wagons had to be broken down, the mess & boathouse completely cleaned. Rifles cleaned & entire camp shut down. My best memory from that day will be feeling completely exhausted, riding over the hills on a flat bed truck saying to a one-armed woman with hay in her ears, "Are we getting paid for this?" and her response was, "Yeah, isn't it great?!"

Miss you more than showering with bats, V