June 14, 2016
A very considerate camp parent asked Susie Ma’am and me about our schedule and what we do for time off. Since one of the purposes of this blog is to share what it is like to be an “adult” and parent in the world of camp, I thought I would share the answer.
The daily schedule during camp is really packed. We attend flag-raising every morning at 7:45 and have a Leadership Team meeting from 8:40-9:10 where we review how camp is going. [We have become quite enamored with this meeting. In just 30 minutes, we get a feel for which campers, counselors or cabins need extra love or assistance. We learn what special activities are happening and any trends worth noting. We end up with a wonderful feel for how the camp is going and assure that our entire team is on the same page.]
Each day typically ends when we post the blogs after torchlight (around 10-10:30PM). We allow ourselves a siesta most days after lunch for 30 minutes or so and try (when possible) to join a yoga class at 4:35.
Other than that, there is no set agenda. Last week, we averaged 4 hours each day meeting with cabins and Senior Campers, but we have no Friendship Games or Man Caves this week.
We wake up ready to embrace the challenges and joys of each day. We have no idea what they will be, so flexibility is key: it could be inclement weather, a homesick camper or the annual inspection from the Health Department. Some days we get through our to-do list by lunch and find ourselves hanging out with campers or counselors while other days the list remains untouched and cruelly grows. [Note: all camper-related items take priority and get done, but if we have administrative tasks, they get bumped rather quickly on busy days.]
The biggest transition from “normal” life to “camp” life is the loss of free, personal time. We never say these words in the summer, “I wonder what is on the TV” or “what should we do now?” We do not get a chance to be members of the Marble Falls community in the summer. Essentially, we “go dark” with our friends and family. We join our counselors in the no drinking pledge, so we do not have wine while cooking a meal. Instead, we eat our meals in the Fillin’ Station with the campers.
Our home also becomes transformed. Our living room becomes the main meeting room. We host Friendship Games and Man Caves. Our kids’ rooms house staff members and visiting researchers. Even Dodger (our basset hound) shares her food and water bowls with Lucy (Leah and Robbie’s dog).
When described this way, camp might sound terribly restrictive, but we have found it wonderfully delightful. We do not “have” to run flag-raising and talk with homesick campers, we “get” to do so. We find the variety interesting and stimulating.
We allow ourselves one or two evenings “off” each week and one full day off every three weeks. An “off” night typically means we see a movie and go to bed early (boring? Perhaps, but very refreshing). On day offs, we still attend flag-raising and the morning meeting, but we allow ourselves the luxury of turning off our walkie-talkies. That simply means that is someone really needs us, they will come by the house.
To be clear, I do not think we could maintain this for a year, but we are good-to-go for 12 weeks. When we get tired, we simply remind ourselves how quickly the summer disappears. As a result, if we have a tough day, we think about the campers and counselors that we will most miss and focus on them (as well as take that siesta).
PS Amusing camper comment of the day: A few of the 8th grade guys approached me and shared a thought,
“Susie Ma’am is so cool!”
“Right? How did she end up married to you?”
PPS The picture today shows a recently minted 18 year-old. Her shirt is a gift from her cabin. They decided to make it for her, persuaded her co-counselor to buy the shirt and they spent a couple of days decorating and signing it. I love that.