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.