Camp!

Friday I left camp after a week.  It was a week with the CITs and it was incredibly fun, from Sunday’s arrival to leaving on Friday.  I met many new friends, lost my voice, jumped in a lake, and slept in a tent. There was also singing, dancing, cooking out, and beads. That’s a great place to be.

Zach is there now.  This is his first week at camp and I am, sadly, the helicopter parent making sure he will be okay before he leaves. But, before going, he had already made some friends with other kids in the cabin – that’s a good thing to see.  They were talking about whatever and whatnot.

Still – it was hard to leave, even though it has been years since I spent the week there. What a wonderful place is camp, removed from the outside worlds, where everyone is kind to each other and filled with joy.  Leaving is similar to breaking up with a girlfriend or possibly drug detox.  I’ve only experience one of those.

Today, Lucy expressed her displeasure to be leaving camp. She wanted to spend the week, to which I say “I bet you could do it.”  She’s a bit more outdoorsy, a bit more far out than Zach. I suspect Zach will go to camp each year and call it good, but Lucy may shoot for a counselling gig.  Of course, they are only 4 and 7, so there’s no use in predictions.

Things that I will remember from camp:  Succeeding in my green swim test; moving firewood with Audrey; Canoeing across the lake with Jose; a young, young boy who had a rough day; all the Chapels, including the Lost and Found Raffle; dancing in the dining hall; feeding Antwan apple crisp; DeShay’s life lessons; my surprise and pride at the closing campfire ceremonies; a night time CIT Sleepy Hollow hike; working with some day campers; a young man’s predilection for sandwiches; getting my nails painted; Camel College; my beads being tied by a former camper; selling slushies with Erika; many other counselors who are way younger than I; Patrick and Marissa; Sour Patch Kids; Iroquois cabin; seeing old friends.  That’s the short list.

What I enjoy most about camp is the allowance for joy. Everyone is allowed to be happy and joyful and are not seen as peculiar for it. There is much high-fiving and complimenting and a lack of ulterior motive and sniping. Yes, there is some dark mumblings between friends, but it is a place to be happy and yourself.

Well, now Zach is there and I know he will have fun.  I hope he loves it like I do.

Now, I am back in real life and it was a rough transition. It is a nice place to be, though, with a nice lady I like hanging on to.

Camp Camp Camp

Tomorrow, I’ll turn down a long and dusty driveway to spend a week-ish at good ol’ Camp Pendalouan. It’s been a great bit of anticipation, looking forward to something like this. There’s many male CITs, you see, so there is some hope I will be able to wrangle them or something like that. I had at first assumed it would be a week of lounging in a hammock.  This is not the case.

While I am there, four of my students from school will be in attendance. This fact boggles the mind, frankly, and it will be super weird to be “Matthew” to every camper whilst they call me “Mr. Abel.”  Never mind I spent MONTHS encouraging the kids to call me Mr. Matthew to no avail. Life, man.  Life. What will these kids think of ol’ Mr. Abel the camp counselor.

You see, many people don’t know this about – they weren’t there when I was Teen Director (which was basically a standard counselor position with more sweating).  It was a time in which I was loud, crazy, obnoxious.  Now, I am quiet, crazy, and obnoxious – which is an easier pill to swallow.

Camp is very much a home to me. It is the place I go to feel at ease, at peace, and comfortable.  Things are said at camp I say rarely elsewhere. Belief in myself is at it’s maximum within that acreage.  Except for when swimming. I’m not a strong swimmer.

So, to camp I go. There will be no “Ronald McDonald,” I hope. Not even the Spanish Version (you where a sombrero).  What there will be will one heckuva good time, and a week of memories for a whole mess of children.  Fun awaits.

34

I have reached a point in my life where I don’t keep track of my own age.  Several people asked what my year would be in 2016. Several times I subtracted in my head. 30 was about it for birthdays and me until 40 comes.  34 is not very old at all.

However, I was brought low this week. Pendalouan’s Alumni Campfire found me the butt of several “old man” jokes, to which I said “ha-ha.”  Then, during a robust version of “Ronald McDonald,” I strained my calf muscle.  This put me out of commission for a few days – I could barely walk on Monday.  I walk again, now, but I still am not at “top speed.”

Which is fairly discouraging.  I’ve been doing Couch to 5k for several weeks and had finally reached week 5 – the week things get Real.  Running is out of the question for at least another week, so I’ll be starting over.  Encouraging people surround me.  Which is nice.

I have spent the past year going through a lot of stuff.  Nothing too bad, but frustrating, shouldn’t-be-happening events bombarded me at work, and our family kept getting ill.  Well, the end of the school year arrived and brought some needed rest – but now we are scrambling to help a friend of the family.

It is as they say:  things will never be perfect.  There’s never a “right moment.”

Anyway, the same troubling school year brought me closer to several people filling me with support and camaraderie.  I would have gladly sprained both calves to keep the reunions and events of Sunday.  The upside of sick children is always cuddling, despite their average temperature jumping over the surface of the sun’s. And I’ll have my wife in sickness and in health.

33/34 was not the greatest year of my life, but it wasn’t anywhere near the worst.  I spent much of one year of my life unable to use a toilet, getting stabbed by needles at regular intervals, and on an all-liquid diet!  (the worst part of that was I don’t even remember it!)

There’s a lot more living to get to, anyhow.  Birthdays are still pretty fun, so I’ll go ahead and keep having them.