We've returned from another year at 4-H camp. It went well!! The weather couldn't have been any better. Most of the activities are outside, and the temps were in the low 80's with a nice, small breeze. I got the opportunity to help more with the activities this year because of a shortage of adults (several agents were chaperoning kids at a camp in Manhattan that happened to be overlapping this year!) My business as "camp nurse" was much busier than last year (with mild injuries and medication dispensing) so my relaxation time was much more limited than last year. I found that my favorite part of camp again was just sitting on the shaded bench outside the nurse office just waiting, watching, and listening to the kids. They are interesting and intriguing little creatures and I find them so fun to observe--watching how they interact with each other in the scale of a large group of kids when there is the least amount of adult intervention (aka--their "free" time) It's like being a mouse in a corner, being able to watch the operation of camp from afar. I certainly appreciated this opportunity, since I am usually so busy managing kids during an event, that my mind is constantly focused on keeping things running smoothly and the next task at hand. Generally, I miss the "undercurrents" and the interactions of the kids when they aren't taking part in the activity. This year we had 80 some kids attend from 6 counties. Last year after camp, my post was entitled Reflections from Camp Lakeside. It was an accumulation of my observations as an outsider; some serious, some comical. If you would like an account or re-count of last year's experience read here. I took a little of my free time each day to reflect on things that I had seen and heard. .and thought to myself. .and wrote them down so I could share these observations from the inside! This post will add some more perspective on what actually happens when your children or grandchildren go off to camp. Enjoy!
--I may, possibly, be getting too old to get enough sustenance from a 12 hour lay-over between two major events to function at my best. There is NOT enough coffee available to correct this.
--There are a LOT of different kinds of music available to enjoy on the XM satellite radio I have in the car. . .and a lot of music that just shouldn't be available!
--3 or 4 hip-hop songs are invigorating and fun; 3 or 4 hours of hip-hop songs can make your eyes cross and cause you to develop a tic.
--children have such a high level of energy that someone truly should discover how to use it to generate power to light the world!
--There are STILL always children that are worse than your own!
--It's a powerful feeling to relax in a serene and majestic place of nature and observe from afar, our future leaders stand united, hats off, hands over their hearts, pledging their allegience to this great nation!
--homesickness is such a heart-breaking affliction.
--Who knew there were so many ways to use swim noodles and tennis balls?
--Being able to say "I'm the nurse today, not your mom, so go put your things in your OWN cabin" is truly an empowering feeling!
--Camp food is not always bad--even for the kids.
--It's funny to watch kids act like little adults at camp; making their own choices, plans, and dates with friends.
--It's rewarding to be able to coach kids on handling a difficult situation and then watch them go put that coaching into action immediately.
--The agents commented this morning about how "piggy" the girls' bathroom looked--cluttered up with panties, hair supplies, make-up, shorts and towels scattered everywhere, while the boys' bathroom was so clean. My theory?? The boys don't actually go INTO the bathroom. I cannot prove this.
--Female campers are appalled if they were not informed about the annual dance before they get to camp (like, informed that there is a dance). Apparently, THEY pack accordingly. .and, that amounts to something more than throwing clothes that they have picked up off their bedroom floors into a bag.
--It seemed to be a big deal to have a "date" to the dance. I heard kids asking kids out for their friends; heard kids advising their friends how they asked other kids out; heard kids explain to another kid WHY they should go to the dance with their friend; and lots of other general information regarding who was going with who and why. Late in the afternoon, Grant and Jacob stopped by my resting bench to sit a bit. I jokingly asked them if they had dates to the dance. J didn't even think, just replied yes. G replied that he wasn't sure that he was going to go with anyone. Smiling, I asked them if the "date" meant that they walk up to the cabins and retrieve their dates and walk them down to the dance. In true 12 year old male fashion Grant replied (with a totally straight face and seriousness) "Nah, we just pretty much wait down there (at the dance) for them until they show up." me "so that's your date huh?" G "yup."
--I couldn't really tell which kid was dating which. The girls all stood in one part of the dance floor and the boys stood in another, or played hoops on the other side of the dance.
--small male, not older than 8, 3' 6", 50 pounds maybe-running by--"I'm headed over there to that girl" me "what are you going to do when you catch her?" small male "Try to get me a date!!"
--I was asked out--to the movie--by a very petitie cowboy ;-) whoot, whoot!!
--I did NOT dance the John Travolta to "Stayin' alive" this year out of respect for my mortified 13 year old. . but I just couldn't resist the chicken dance!!
--My 7 year old came out before the dance wearing cologne. .and he doesn't even like girls. .OR dancing!!
--Girls wear as much perfume as guys wear cologne. .maybe more. .I must not have noticed this last year in my overwhelming astonishment at the amount of cologne sprayed on by the boys before the dance!
--5 nights of too little sleep is kind of hard on a 7 year old.
--The bright, bushy tails are pretty dull and saggy by the 3rd day--I think we adults could completly wear 'em down, given one more day! If we could even SURVIVE one more day!
--Any leftover money from camp, quickly disappears at the gas station when we stop to fuel up or pee.
--Someone always forgets SOMETHING!
--Everyone is always a little sad to leave all the new friends, but most of them are excited to return next year and take up where they left off!!
I loved camp as a child, but it truly is a wonderful opportunity for me to get to experience camp life again, as an adult!! Maybe I won't ever grow up! Enjoy your weekend!! I know I will enjoy mine. . .quietly. .at home!! My real home!