Sorry this blog is a bit late. My computer charger broke, but I’m borrowing one at the moment. So how many of you remember going to summer camp? I sure do. You get to do a lot of swimming, hang out and meet new friends, sleep outside, and maybe miss your parents a little. You have so much energy the whole time and then your parents pick you up and you sleep the whole car ride home. Well I never gave much thought to the counselors at camp when I was young. I appreciated them and all, but it was their job to take care of us, right?
Two weeks ago White Oak ran an overnight summer camp with 14 7-12 year olds. I worked this camp instead of doing farm labor for the week. I have so much respect for anyone who works with children, they must be, or hopefully they are, the most patient people on Earth.
Here’s how a typical day ran down: We started morning chores with the kids (taking care of the animals) around 7am, then we would come up and eat breakfast (there were pretty much 4 people staffing this and one of us was always cooking food). After breakfast we would have morning circle and then break off into two groups for morning activities, one adult to each group. I made granola with them and harvested blackberries to put in the granola. I also harvested plums and made plum jam with them. They really enjoyed both the activities they were especially excited that they all got to take home some canned plum jam. Some of the other activities included knot tying, potato harvesting, fishing in the pond, etc. After the first activity they would eat snack and then switch groups to do the other activity groups (warning for anyone: this age group is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS hungry!) After morning activities they would have lunch and then we would have an hour of quiet time (my favorite time 🙂 ) where they would read, draw, play with clay, etc. Then they would have about an hour and a half of swim time. Then another snack (ALWAYS HUNGRY!) Then an afternoon craft (painting, stained glass boxes and picture frames, journal making, etc). Then we would have dinner. After dinner they would play some games, or we would structure some games. Then we would have evening circle. Each night we had a male counselor and a female counselor sleeping out with he kids. We would read to them for about an hour before they went to sleep. But they always wanted to stay up later than me. I don’t know how those kids still had energy after all they did all day. I slept next to a girl who was a sleep fighter and got kicked in the face a lot until I gently dragged her as far from me as I possibly could.
There were some scary situations. We had a girl during a swim test who was out in the pond and almost started drowning and I had to save her. That’s probably the first time I’ve ever saved a child’s life, especially in water. We were also on a hike and a bunch of didn’t see the snake coiled on the ground so we stepped over it and then one girl almost stepped on it… it turned out to be a rattlesnake. That was my first time seeing a rattlesnake and I wasn’t too happy that it was with a group of kids. It got up into striking position, but when we backed off so did the snake.
Overall camp ran pretty smoothly. Despite some scary situations they all turned out okay and a lot of band-aids was the only medical attention we needed all week. The farm has hired a cook in the years past and I definitely think they should pick that up again to relieve some of the counselors so we can just focus on the kids. I’ve learned a lot from working with kids and t certainly has tested my patience. I’m not sure if I would want to work with kids more in the future… I would like to work with older kids and see what that is like, but I guess for now we will just have to wait and see…
P.S. Sorry the only photos are from the talent show. I didn’t exactly think to carry my phone around a place that doesn’t have service with kids all week!