August 5, 2011
Today we started what I suspect will be a new tradition for campers who are here this week (our 4th Term campers and our 3-Weekers from Term 3): ExtravaGonzo day. From 5 until 8, we had 7 inflatables, a mechanical bull, 2 hamster balls, a dunking booth and lots of organized chaos.
We provided a variety of treats with absolutely no redeeming nutritional value cotton candy, sno-cones and funnel cakes (called “deep-fried love” by one camper).
Several campers who have been here for over 5 years said it was one of their favorite days ever.
I chose to walk around with a leather gladiator tunic and a Gonzo (from Muppet fame) latex mask.
Why? My explanation for the tunic was simple -Visigoths. Look, there is not much of a chance that barbarians wielding spears will attack Camp Champions. But if they do, I am prepared! I explained to multiple campers that they should simply stand behind me in the case of advancing Visigoths. Of course, this outfit would also help against huns, goths and gauls. Once again, unlikely, but it is better to be prepared.
Why the latex mask? Two reasons. First, I was working on the ExtravaGonzo theme. Second, I am an idiot. What was I thinking? Latex does NOT breath. Quite uncomfortable.
Coming Full Circle
When Susie Ma’am and I bought the camp after the summer of 1995, Horton and Carol Ann (the founders we bought the camp from) recommended that we hire two talented young women: Soni Dighe and Kathy Keiser.
Soni Ma’am worked for us for 10 years, Kathy Ma’am for 5. Kathy and her husband (both Marble Falls native) started to date seriously at camp and was one of our first great camp marriages.
[Note: marriage is not a standard service of Camp Champions. Having said that, we are always surprised how many quality relationships (counselors not campers) begin at camp between counselors. Susie Ma’am believes that it is because counselors are at their best. They are focused on a mission (helping kids) and eschewing the party life that is common in college. They are not wearing make-up and they are communicating openly and lovingly. In short, they are seeing each other at their best, and while becoming better. OK, I am off my soapbox.]
I share this because Soni Ma’am’s niece is at camp and Kathy Ma’am’s sons are as well. There is something somewhat oddly satisfying about serving the children of people who so wonderfully served other people’s children for years!
I also share this because Kathy Ma’am suggested a blog.
“No Energy Crisis Here”
This is a sign on the drive into camp. It was put there in the 1970s during the OPEC embargo. I have often wondered if it is not dated. But like fashion (except the bell-bottom jean) and music, everything comes back around. [Note on music: some of the most popular songs at our dances are the songs that Susie Ma’am and I danced to in our high schools. 80’s music is in. Journey, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Foreigner, Kool and the Gang and The Eagles have all been on playlists. Here is my question for my fellow parents? Does that make you feel really hip or kinda old. Yup - sadly, me too.]
The high cost of energy and the relative heat is forcing many electrical companies to create rolling blackouts in their areas. People are modifying their electrical usage, yet they are still having some issues.
I then look around camp and you sense that we have passed into a time machine. Our air conditioning comes in the form of breezes over the lake (which have been blissfully constant) and the one ceiling fan in the cabins. The cabins have no light bulbs in them. When it is dark and the activities are over, it is time to rest and sleep. One of the best things we ever did was take the lights out of the cabins. I suspect that we increased the nightly sleep by 30-45 minutes.
We do not have DVRs, game systems, computers, TVs or other electronic distractions.
And there is not crisis of energy. On the contrary, campers are on the go all the time. For those of you who wonder how do a 46 year-old keeps up with campers and 20 year-old counselors, the answer is that you never quite do. Smart pacing, energy marshaling and a daily 30 minute nap are must-dos. Having said that, their energy is contagious. I cannot count the number of days I am ready to call it a day before Torchlight. Yet I drag myself there and get a palpable boost from the community. Getting together, singing and laughing is better than a 5 Hour Energy drink. I am dead at 8PM, go to spend time with our Camp Family and then I am suddenly ready to blog until 10:30.
Now, if I could just find a way to harness this energy source!