Thursday, July 16, 2009

As the Campfire Fades...

So this may be the last chance I get for a while to blog this month, so I decided to write it on this the last night with campers here at Camp Kiwanis. I've also been inspired by recent events to write this blog, so feel free to comment with agreements and disagreements. I hope I can remember all of my talking points as I write this...

So to give you what may be a little bit of unneccessary background when I leave Camp Kiwanis this Saturday afternoon I will be completing my 9th summer on staff and 17th overall summer. So needless to say, it's a big part of my life! It's come to a point that even though some of the staff that I worked with have gone and moved, I couldn't imagine doing anything else! I remember feeling that way after maybe my 4th summer on staff! My camping experience has also helped me in all areas of life! The most recent being my move from Midland to Amarillo! I'm not sure how many of you have ever packed up and moved on your own-but it's pretty freaking stressful!! Especially when things don't go according to plan! There were several times during the weekend that I was exhausted and worn out and just didn't care! I just wanted to call my mom and say "I know I said I could handle it, but I can't so come down here and help me RIGHT NOW!" But I would immediately talk myself out of it and gave my self, several, peptalks similar to the ones that I give homesick campers! Yes I threw alot of stuff away, and I was completely exhausted by the time I got my car loaded and was ready to drive away! But the sense of pride and accomplishment at the fact that I DID IT!! ME ALL BY MYSELF!! ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING! Not just because "I had to" not because someone was standing there telling me to, but because I KNEW I COULD!! I thought I would completely just crumble into pieces when I started driving but I didn't- and I honestly think that if it weren't for my many years at camp, I would have been able to honestly say that. So that's my story~

The growth that I've seen in the young girls that come out here is something that there really are no words for. Last summer, for example, a large percentage of the staff were either staff that had worked here before or grew up going to camp here- almost all of whom I was their counselor at some point in time! To see the things these children do without their parents judgements or advice is AMAZING! Talking a child onto a horse, off the diving board, teaching her how to shot a bow and arrow and MAKE A BULLSEYE! Lighting a one match fire, using a knife for the first time, helping other campers! Oh, the list could go on but I'll stop there for I think you've got the point! Now on to my next point~

As hard as we've worked, there have unfortunately been 3 children who've gone home before the departure date! All three of the times, if we, the camp staff, had an opportunity to help the child through the initial homesickness, the camper would have made it. There's a certain gleam a camper gets in her eye after being homesick and you can tell that she's going to make it. Unfortunately, the parents didn't even give their child a chance! As a parent (and yes I realize I'm not one so saying is probably much easier than action) I believe it's your responsibility, partially, to help your child gain confidence in themselves. I know there have been times growing up that I would go and complain to mom and dad about something saying I couldn't do it, or didn't want to, and it wasn't an option! I was going to do it, and now because of that I know that if I think it through, look at all sides, and believe in myself- I CAN DO WHATEVER IT IS! I can make smart decisions. I believe that the 3 campers who went home will always have an underlying thought that their parents don't believe they CAN do something. So even though all of these parents thought that they were doing the right thing- IT WAS WRONG!! I mean if the child calls mom in November of their Freshman year in College and says, "mom I can't do this. it's too hard." even if the mom says to stay, the campers not really going to believe that she can do it! Now, some of you may think that I'm stretching this, but I'M NOT!! Camping can be SUCH an important part of childhood. If you're going to say, camp life may not be for everyone~ you may be right, but you'll never know if you don't even try!!

I'll now put my soapbox away until another parent does something stupid! :)