June 25, 2019
Camp right after breakfast.
Camp right after dinner.
Most of the time, the purpose of this blog is to give you insight into the camp experience.
Occasionally, I just feel like giving you a glimpse into life as a camp director. What is it like to be an otherwise normal middle-aged adult who manages the chaos of camp?
Today is such a blog.
Have you ever planned an outdoor birthday party or an outdoor dinner?
You begin excited. You think through tons of logistics, prepare for hours and await the triumphant moment . . . only to have the weather disagree. The clouds roll in and dump rain on your tables or bouncy houses. Suddenly, you must create a plan B, something that is completely different and inside.
Not too much fun, right.
Now imagine that the number of guests for your dinner or party multiplies by a factor of 20-30 and assume you have 30 activities planned for the event.
That is what a sudden rainstorm is like at camp.
OK, perhaps I am being a little melodramatic. Frankly, a little rain in Texas is usually a much-appreciated change of pace. My friends who run camps in Maine dread rain as it often comes for days – even weeks – at a time. Cabin fever is the enemy. I have been to conferences that offer 2-4 sessions exclusively on “rainy day activities”. A friend of mine once asked what we do when it rains here. I responded that we are often confused that the sky is crying – we occasionally stare in disbelief.
We generally like when it rains here.
But there is one time when I really do not want the rain: at the start of camp. Yesterday, we got a sudden storm that made us miss the first two activities of day one. I was a little concerned. After all, the first days can be a little uncertain, especially for new campers. We vastly prefer to dazzle them with a full slate of fun activities helps make the transition to “camp life” smoother.
But I really should not have been worried. Every cabin I talked to reported a grand time of card games, tent making, reading, story telling and (I am not making this up) games of hide and seek. [Note: I cannot fathom where one hides in a one-room cabin, but the campers seemed to find amusement. Perhaps I lack imagination.] A group of 7 year-old girls proudly announced that they painted their counselor’s toenails. The counselor (without the slightest hesitation or irony) proudly displayed a foot that looked like an experiment in modern art.
We provide our counselors with suggestions to keep a crew of campers amused when limited to their cabin and they rose to the occasion.
By third period, camp was in full swing with campers enjoying all the activities.
So my initial concern was misplaced. I suspect that cabins bonded quicker as a result. We have plenty of time to make sure everyone gets a chance to do everything.
And we got to see the sky cry!