Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
July 24th, 2010
This past week has been a week of pondering... Situations... People... What does God want me to learn from this? How does God want me to act? Does He want to use me to bless someone? If so, how?
Jesse, Caitlin and myself were assigned to Cabin 1, in which resided the oldest boy campers. I had been dealing with a cold/cough for a couple days and on Sunday, I was whispering. My voice was absolutely gone. Lol! That night was rough, like last week but I think it wasn't as much as a shock because I was half expecting it. One of the boys in our cabin is a natural leader and all the boys followed him. He isn't evil like the kid in wk 2 but is at changing point in his life. What kind of a man is he going to be? Cross-roads like these are always the most difficult and I am afraid that I was really bossy this past week. :-P But as stretching and difficult as the week was, there were more blessings. And yes, even though the past weeks have been wonderful, this week was more wonderful.
I had the Four Blondes. See picture. When I first saw them, I honestly thought I had two sets of twins on my hands. As it turns out, two of the blondes are brothers and the third is their cousin. The fourth is no relation at all but he looks so much like Owen Wilson that it makes up for it. Lol. ;-) I also had Riley, Conor, Harley, Jeff, Kevin, Jordan and Christian. They got the Most Macho Cabin award. :-) The best part of the week was when they were wrestling in their cabin and I popped in for chat. At first I was worried because they make the most agonized faces and noises... but after I learned the rules of the game, I stopped worrying. They were pretty conscientious about hurting each other.. we only had to run for the nurse once and Brayden was ok after I wiped the blood out of his hair. (And I'm not being sarcastic, honest. He was just fine.) I think I'm going to be more understanding of my brothers when I get home. :-) Hehe.
It's amazing how each boy was so different than the next. And so fun drawing each of them out to see what special talents they had. Riley, for instance, is an awesome worker and can draw like you wouldn't believe. Kevin treats his sisters like princesses and is such a gentleman. Christian is intense, as Kevin says. Everything about Christian is intense. He can carve, he can fight, he is really, really strong... I told Kevin that everything he said was true but Kevin was just as intense in his own way.
It was a pleasure getting to know them all.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
July 18th, 2010
Happy birthday, Lindsey! :-) I hope it is wonderful and full of joy. Much love and hugs.
I can't believe it's actually been two weeks since we have been doing music here at camp. It's been an amazingly time... I have learned so much, gained so many new friends and discovered that the impossible is not as impossible as I thought...
The days have their problems but they are never more than I can bear. The stress is there but it is much less when I remember to place it on God. There have been so many opportunities to share God's love and joy with those around me. The counselors are all in their teens, therefore eager to talk about the supernatural and the wonders of the unknown. God is all of that and more, so He often enters the conversation. Some of the people I'm around all week have a better understanding of God than I do... I have learned so much from them.
Teaching music has been an amazing experience. We have found that we girls work very well together... Hannah is our disciplinarian (meaning, she enforces the rules; i.e. tickling or asking one of the older boy students for the loan of muscles), Lydia helps a little there, gives us ideas, plays and sings and loves on the kids and I'm the organizer who helps with the other areas somewhat. We really balance each other out and it seems to be working because by the end of the week, kids are asking to skip woodworking (session after ours) and spend another 45 minutes in music.
The first week was much better than the second in many ways. Week one was boys only and we had a wonderful group of them. There was little or no bullying; lots of respect and willing to do as asked, etc. It was really difficult to choose which group to award!
My cabin was the best. I kid you not. I was referred to as the “cabin mother” and did you know that I'm a “very commanding person”? Lol! I had Justin, Stirling, Cordell and Colton. The first two came back last week as CITs (i.e. Counselors in training). I was pretty thrilled with that and would have loved it if Cordell could have come, as well. It's interesting how all the boys, at almost the same ages, are so different. Justin loves being in command and wants to grow up very quickly... he acts very sure of himself. Stirling is really tall... he's 13 years old and 5'10. :-) He's all boy and likes where he's at. He's wonderful with the kids and is becoming one of my best friends. Cordell and Colton are brothers and are exact opposites. I had to laugh at them because even though Cordell complained about how Colton made the cabin messy and loud, etc, etc, etc, you could tell how much he adored Colton and vice-versa. They were really close. Cordell is more quiet and shy... unsure of who he is and where life is leading him. I spent a lot of time talking to him and we got to know each other pretty well. The best compliment he gave me was that he didn't think of me as a girl/female but as a friend. Colton was hilarious. The last day, there is a skit/songs etc, that the kids do for the benefit of the parents/grandparents/whoever comes to pick them up and Colton was one of the MC's. We found out that he's a natural comedian. I mean, really, really funny. One of the funniest things I have ever seen was Justin and Cordell's act of Justin and his dummy (Cordell). The latter can go completely limp and when stressed out, his voice goes squeaky. It was so funny I had tears in my eyes from laughing. :-)
The past week was not nearly has wonderful, though some of the best kids from the week before came back... and I had another really good cabin. This time I was with Caitlyn and Breanna in Cabin 4 ½ and had 13 girls ages 6 to 10. They were the sweetest girls and we decided to award them the Sweety-Pie Cabin award. :-) :-)
The difficulties began on Sunday afternoon when a kid tried to strangle Stirling under water in the pool. After that, it was only more and more difficult. Same boys were bullying, playing knock-knock ginger (run up to a cabin at night, knock on the door/shutter and run away), causing night disturbances, etc.
Then, there was the homesickness. One of the girls in Cabin 5 was extremely homesick... I stayed up until 1:30 am the first night, trying to get her calmed down enough to sleep. She was so tense that her feet were twitching and her stomach was killing her. Finally, Tala took her to the nurse to get some medicine to calm down. The good thing about the situation is that Cameron and I got to know each other really well and I was able to talk to her about Jesus like I've never been able to do with anyone else before. The really good thing about it was that she stayed the entire week, even though she was homesick at night.
Then, the flu arrived at camp. The week before, some of the kids had had it but it was really bad this week. 6 of my girls had it! That's almost half of the cabin. It was really interesting. Lol! Pretty soon, we had kids gathered in the music room laying all over the couches and floor... sleeping, listening to me play the keyboard or watching films on my laptop.
I am so thankful there is a nurse at camp. His name is Clinton and I hereby declare him to be one of the most patient men on the planet. A couple of nights he had people in the nursing cabin until 1 in the morning... and most of it was stuff that didn't need a nurse. Personally, I know I got him a couple times for one of my girls when (looking back I realize) I didn't need to. But he didn't seem to mind and I appreciate the fact that he encourages me to be there with the child when being treated.. allows me to try to be helpful and never acts hurried or upset. I know very little about first-aid or anything medical except for what we've gone through as a family so this has been a very good experience for me.
Music class went really well again. It was like kids left their problems outside the music room door and became better people with the music. I feel so blessed. We are still praying before every session and the kids seem to be fine with it... in fact, they wait for it. I appreciate the fact. :-) We teach them about 10 songs a week... maybe one or two more. We try to do fun ones like I've Got the Joy, Awesome God, I'm in the Lord's Army, Lord I Lift Your Name on High, etc. You can tell which ones are the biggest hits when you hear kids singing songs while they walk around camp. The first week, we taught them I Saw the Light and it was so funny listening to the kids sing it outside of session. They were so enthusiastic about the song... everyone loved it. We sing the songs each night at the church service so they have to know the songs at least a little bit by the end of the first day.
We usually have about 10 to 15 minutes of spare time at the end of each session so we let the kids play the instruments or talk or, if the trampoline is available, let them play a game on it (1 kid at a time).
Probably the best thing about teaching music is that you get to know each child. Their personality, how well they behave, where they are in life, how much they enjoy life. :-) Some of it is good, some of it is sad. I wish I could help all of the kids onto a better life.
We really have gotten to know a trio of siblings the past two weeks. The boys came two weeks and the girl only came the past week... we're hoping she will be able to come the coming week, as well. We sort of fell in love with all of them and adopted them as our 'own' kids. They come from a difficult home situation so it was really sad when they left on Friday.
I have been pretty sick the past week. I only felt really sick for a couple days but my voice has left me and yesterday, I was basically whispering all day. Lol! I felt wonderful though. The only problems have been the coughing... sometimes I can't stop and I get so tired. This morning I feel like I had the flu... my stomach is really sore. But I think I'm getting better so I'm happy about that. I really want my voice back this week though. :-)
Anyways, I'm off and going to eat my lunch. :-) I love the people I work with.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
July 5th, 2009
Our first day of teaching. Wow.
First let me say this: the kids are great. In fact, they were more than great today; they were wonderful. Session One was interesting. The kids were all... hm. How shall we say this? Energetic. Hehe. We made some rules up right away: You must stand while singing. If you do not stand when we issue the command, you have exactly until the count of three before you get tickled to death. Unfortunately, that only works with 80% of the campers as some children enjoy being tickled to death. Session Two was better but we still had trouble with the songs. I don't know if we were trying too hard or what. But the kids were patient. :-)
Session Three and Four were probably the best. They were so funny. They knew the songs. They did the motions... in fact, they really got into them! Lol. Of course, two of the boys in both those groups were from my cabin (therefore, I'm one of their special counselors) so they did their best. But they were really, really funny. Making jokes about each other and singing their hearts out...
I am signed up for Cabin 6. Basically, it's James (age 17) and myself with four oldest boys ( ages 10-14). They are so well behaved and gentlemanly. We won first place today in the cabin clean-up. We were all so surprised because we didn't know how clean the other cabins were. James kept saying, “We'll probably get last place or something or maybe tie for fifth...” and Stirling (one of our boys) would reply, “Shut up!” :-P :-) Anyways, the judges went from 5th place on up and we started thinking maybe we had gotten even 3rd or 2nd. But it was still a great surprise when they announced that Cabin 6 was the winner. :-)
I am amazed at the change in young people when they receive a load of responsibility. They become adults. The children look up to the counselors... it's an awesome feeling. I was frightened by it yesterday even though I was loving having the boys around. Camp is so lonesome without the children! But today I think my feet are finding some firm ground... it's going to be ok.
We decided that some things are going to happen:
1: To the best (meaning, tries the hardest) group, we will give prizes to at the end of the week.
2: When we finish early, the kids are allowed to play the instruments until Session time is over.
3: And the rules of our classroom will be followed with the only exceptions due to ill health.
4: We will begin every session with prayer.
My brain has quit working. So until later. Lol. :-)
Saturday, August 14, 2010
July 3rd, 2010
I know! It's been forever since I have written. It seems like I've been too busy with everything else to even turn on my computer. But today I decided that regardless, I was going to try to find some time. Hence this entry. ;-)
Last weekend was marvelous. Peter and Gabi picked us up in the morning of the 22nd and took us to Regina, as planned. We spent the rest of the morning getting there, dropping Peter off at their home, then shopping our little hearts out. Hehe. It was great. We bought a lot of essentials... and a lot of non-essentials. Like chocolate from Czechoslovakia and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You get the idea.
Peter and Gabi are very hospitable folks. They fixed the most delicious food... the first night, Peter made this chicken pasta dish that was heavenly. Not only was it amazing to eat, it looked great, too. We even took pictures. Peter says we're crazy. Lol.
During the shopping excursion, we happened to discover that Peter and Gabi don't live very far from Ray, our adopted “brother”. So that night, Gabi and we girls walked part way over while Peter rented a couple of movies. When we got to Ray's place, it didn't look like anyone was home so Peter and Gabi waited in the vehicle while we girls went to the door. It was so funny when Ray opened the door. He thought it was his neighbor and wasn't terribly thrilled with the thought of helping said neighbor pump water out of his basement. Then, he saw us. :-) His eyes got very round and he yelled so loudly that Peter and Gabi heard him out in the car.
The next day, we went to Peter and Gabi's church and met Peter's brother's family. Nice folks. Peter's brother is funny. But not as funny as Peter. ;-)
I miss Gabi.
At any rate, the entire visit was great and I am so glad it happened. It was a welcome break. We needed to get away for a few hours.
The rest of the week has been one thing after another. Little, last minute things. Well, Monday was a big job. We got the outdoor chapel in order... pressure washed, benches and chair cleaned and set up, things crowding the front of the chapel were removed and sent somewhere else. Tuesday – we moved from the Kome 'n' See to the Mother Teresa Centre. That felt a little sad. I love the Kome 'n' See and the smell of cedar that permeates it.
Each room in the MTC has three beds in it: bunk beds (twin) and a double bed. Lydia is on the double (because her thing is so not top bunk ;-)), Hannah gets the bottom of the bunk bed and I got the top. I volunteered as I was quite sure I could handle staying in bed the entire night and I wasn't sure about the other girls. :-) At any rate, I hardly slept the first night. You know how long it's been since I've slept on the top bunk? Years. Like 10... or maybe more. I kept thinking I was far too close to the edge for comfort. Yes, indeed.
I made Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies and by evening, there were only four left. :-P
Wednesday – Spent the morning cleaning cabins out back of Kome 'n' See. It's mosquito city out there. We got all bit up just working with the vacuum cleaner and hot water. You try to shut the door quickly but it's never fast enough. Muddy boots to be left on the doorstep, cleaning supplies to be hauled in, etc. While working, I realized how dirty the windows were so when we were finished, I asked Fr. Banga if he wanted me to wash the insides of them. He said yes, and that one of us should wash the outsides. I told him I didn't think so. That's the first and probably last, time I/we have told him no. The mosquitoes were simply too plenteous. We would have gotten carried away, died in the woods or simply gone insane. Lol! Wednesday was a red letter day for more reasons than one: we met Tylene! :-) She and Fr. Banga are like best friends. They've known each other for years. Ever since Tylene was very small (I won't tell you how old she is now... except that she laughed when we told her how old Fr. Banga had told us she was. :-))... she is very gifted musically and has this amazing voice. She teaches school in the Middle East... the past two years has been in Qatar and she is going to Syria this year. Because of this, she won't be able to attend very much of camp. It makes us very sad indeed. And as she was going over the music with us, it made us realize how much is involved with this job. We will be able to do it but we are not as prepared as we had thought. I think she saw that we were feeling a little overwhelmed because she asked. Lol. Bless her. :-) Anyways. That was a fun day. I am so glad we had a chance to meet her because she is a wonderful person. I know that she is a wonderful teacher.
Thursday – Tried to get the sound system working. Basically, it was a no-go. It sounded awful. And the mosquitoes love the outdoor chapel, too. It's like torture trying to play or stand still doing anything in there. We spent the evening doing very little until it came time to watch the White Bear fireworks.
Friday – People arrived. Adrian and two workers were first. Adrian is unique. We like him. That's about all I can say to describe him to you; you'll have to meet him yourself. Unfortunately, he is attending university this year and won't be able to attend much of camp. Another sob story. But he has left the camp in capable hands so it shouldn't be too bad. :-) Almost everyone went to the Powwow that evening and I took a lot of pictures. I couldn't get over all the costumes and colors and traditions... there were natives from all over the place. Many had come up from the States to participate. There were three individuals that caught my attention:
1: An old Grandmother who stood impassively watching. Her attire was very authentic and her stance so ancient that I could envision her 200 years ago watching over a similar celebration.
2: There was this little kid dressed in buckskins and furs and whenever there was music, he would leap up and dance. I think he danced for hours... he never seemed to tire out. So cute.
3: This one was a man. I don't know how old he was... probably not past 40. Everything about him... the very aura about him was ancient and full of traditions that have been practiced for many years. Even his facial expressions. It was like he possessed wisdom beyond his years.
Saturday – (Today!) Everyone is preparing for tomorrow afternoon. It was nice that Fr. Banga had us girls do a lot before even the counselors arrived because now there isn't such a rush to get things done. :-) We got the sound system sort of working this morning (yay!!) and the music room is basically ready. After dinner, Hannah and I cleaned the bunkhouses the rest of the way. The beds needed a bleach wipe down. Do you know that it's impossible for me to gracefully clamber up on the top bunk? Hannah is just tall enough to reach the beds from standing on the bottom bunk but me... ::sighs:: ;-) I didn't kill myself. That's what counts, eh?
Meeting with more and more people. Everyone seems nice. And there is actually someone here who is shorter than I am. She's 4'11. :-)