Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ok, So I Guess Breaks Are NOT the Best Time to Write...

I meant to write at some point in this last break but that didn't really work out. I have noticed that when I'm home the LAST thing I want to do is sit at my computer all day or even for 15 minutes. Especially this last weekend because it was my last weekend to be with my best friend Sam before he goes back to Chicago. Oh well!! It was a fun weekend and now I'm back to work, and I mean WORK.

This week is really intense. Its my first experience doing cares and I've been really nervous about it. Its really frustrating not being able to communicate with a lot of these campers, but I keep reminding myself that if its too frustrating for ME I should imagine what its like to live like these campers. Always being asked the same questions over and over without anyone understanding your answer. I feel guilty about my difficulties understanding the campers, but they don't seem to hold it against me.

So this is when I see that working at camp isn't all sunshine and puppies. Not all of the campers are kids necessarily and it still makes me somewhat uncomfortable to dress someone my age. I feel really crappy that I'm so uncomfortable and I know that the campers can see my poorly concealed horror. I feel awful about all of it. I really hope I can get used to this ASAP because I feel so guilty.

It seemed as though I had such an open week this week because I only have 3 nature sessions and before this week I wasn't much involved with helping in the cabins because the kids were able bodied, but I am working so much harder than I have any day before. At least I'm sure I'm earning my meager pay now. :)

I'm excited for my nature sessions that I do have, though, one fishing session (which hopefully will go better than last time) and one session in which we will be looking at owl pellets or microscopes, depending on which group I'm working with. My two other programs were canceled :(

So now I'm off to finish my work day (which hopefully won't end at 1130 pm like last night) toodles, guys!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Last Full day With the Campers...

I'm excited to go home. I need to get away from here for a few days. I am a little sad though because these campers are cool and I'll miss them (though I'm sure a lot of other campers will be this cool) but mostly because I'll miss literacy hour. Since this is a literacy camp, there are two hours in the day dedicated to literacy skill building. Its nice as a program staff because that's the time I get to get my programs together for the rest of the day and to blog. I don't know how often or not I'll be able to blog without literacy hour but I guess we can all just wait and see.

Like I said yesterday, I'm bringing the boys fishing today during their program time. I am so excited! I really really hope this goes well. I want them to have pleasant memories of the nature program.

We put together a dance for the kids last night. It was really fun, though getting all the decorations put up and together was HELL (lets not talk about that). The kids loved the dance. the boys put on nice clothes (CLEAN clothes!) and cologne, and the girls put on dresses and did their hair and some even put on lipstick!

The boys got to the dance before the girls (obviously. primping takes time) and oh my goodness there were some NERVOUS boys there before the girls arrived. One kept pacing back and forth from the gym to the rec hall door saying, "where IS she?!" Awesome.

Eventually the girls got there and the party began. There was no shortage of junior high style boy-girl dancing. It was wonderful. The staff got really in to it too. We walked around and danced with kids or tried to convince kids to dance and in some cases we just sat and talked to the kids who didn't want to dance. It was a fun night.

Soon the dance ended and the "clean up staff," which I was part of, did their thing. The clean up was relatively quick and we went back to our quarters and showered and went to bed. Going to bed was my favorite part.

So now I just work through today and tomorrow and then I'm going HOME! I swear if there are tornadoes again as I'm trying to leave tomorrow, I'll drive through them. I don't care. I want to go home.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Such a Gloomy Day! Its a Little Nice...

There is no sun and its been raining off and on all day... Its WONDERFUL. Apparently the girls, my one and only program group today, are VERY tired because they had a bad camp out last night due to the rain and thunder. Their counselors asked me to do a low key program for them today and maybe just read them a book. Deal. I want to sleep too.

I found some more cool stuff in my nature area today, too!! I found owl pellets, sterile and ready to be dissected by the teen group next Friday!! Then, the next group that day will look at the findings under a microscope! I'm really excited about that stuff. Next week is gonna be awesome.

I have one more group of boys tomorrow and I'm a little nervous. I'm taking them fishing and I hope they enjoy it this time seeing as how the last program with them was an epic fail. I'm still working on getting good programs together. I mean I've only had 4 classes so far and these things aren't immediate. Hopefully fishing will go well. I don't actually plan to fish personally, however. I'll be baiting hooks and taking off fish the whole hour. I guess this is what they call Karma.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holy Crap It Is HOT AND HUMID!!!

I am trying to move as little as possible so to remain cool, buts its not working. I am in no way cool (ohh... :( ). My programs today went really well though. I brought the first group of kids (girls this time) on a nature hike through the woods where there are little reading posts where you can learn about the trees in the area etc. There was some complaining, but the percentage of girls complaining today was equal to the percentage of boys NOT complaining yesterday, so it was pretty decent. :)

With the second group of girls (a younger group) I brought them on a shorter hike with the objective of gathering fallen leaves. When we reached our destination, where crayons and paper were waiting, we made leaf stencils! The girls were really in to it and the pictures turned out great. One of the counselors from the girls' cabin asked if I wanted to go with them on their camping overnight tonight and I SO did, but tonight was my only night off and I wanted to get away from camp. I told her to tell me in advance when next week's camp out is, so I hope the girls next week are just as fun and friendly!

I'm starting to get antsy from being around the same people all the time which is pretty normal for me, but its extra hard when you're with people who don't know you very well yet and don't know what ticks you off so, of course, they don't know to avoid doing these things. I'm trying to shrug it off, but there's an added challenge when its hot and humid all the time and you don't get much sleep. I guess that's just life though. I really really wanted this job and I'm lucky to have gotten it and I'm not going to let the stupid little things I feel keep me from enjoying it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 2 of Campers, Day 1 of Classes.

So after my classes today I decided that I need to never make pinecone bird feeders ever again. It was a sticky nightmare. Since we couldn't use peanut butter (due to allergies) we used corn syrup and grain based bird feeder. Corn syrup is really sticky and it gets everywhere and I think one kid ate some of his. Whats more is that the kids didn't really seem o enjoy the program much at all, so tomorrow I'm starting over with new program ideas involving coloring. Kids love coloring, right?

I'm starting to feel like I'm not doing enough around here. Its hard being a program staff because there's a lot of free time and not always a lot that needs to be done in the cabins. This week the cares are minimal, so program staff has a lot of free time which I have been using to sort through things in my new room, but I'm affraid that since people don't SEE me working they'll think I'm not doing my part. I'm sure its a silly unfounded fear though because I don't exactly go around looking for people who I don't think are doing enough work.

Oh, so on the wildlife front, I saw a fox today. It walked right by the window of my program area and stopped to look at me as though saying, "What? I'm a fox. What of it?" I liked the fox. I also caught a toad like 20 minutes ago and Randi wouldn't let me play with it because we had to come to the computer room where I am now. Lame. I miss my toad. His name was Arnold.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day One of Campers!!!

The campers are here, and holy crap I still don't feel ready! There's so much to do still and I want to tell them to go home for like 2 more days!!!

I feel bad because I don't balance multiple tasks well, so the tasks I'm supposed to work with people on have been forgotten because the things I have to do on my own are so much more important that I get done (and they are still not complete). To make matters worse, today my program area was moved AGAIN so I had to take alllll of the stuff I had moved in to my "classroom" and move it to another class room way far away. I was pretty pissed. Then, I entered my new classroom/headquarters. Its beautiful. There's a huge picture window overlooking a green marsh filled with cranes (the bird) and a little porch that overlooks that same marsh. There are little glass display cases holding models of habitats including a fox taxidermy, a carved wooden loon model, and a forest display. There is also a computer with a digital microscope which I thought was really cool but the computer was ANCIENT and I didn't know if the microscope thing would work. This is when Anna opened a small closet revealing a WALL of telescopes! Nice ones too! I'm way excited to look at lake and marsh water under these microscopes with the kids! COOL!!!!

So now I'm about to go shower and hit the sack because this is going to be a BUSY week! Wish me luck! I'll try to write sometime before I go home, but no promises!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time to Start the REAL Work!!

Training week is over (thank God) and I had NO time to write over my break, so here I am after my first day back to camp. No campers for Woodland yet, but Lakeside(the side of camp I don't work on) got their campers today! YAY! Today was just an in-service day for program specialists (that which I am).

It was nice to have that time to get the rest of the stuff together that I need to get organized for my classes this week. However, I have had NO time to help with the planning for the night activity assigned to me. A lot of other people have taken charge of that and I feel really bad about it. We're doing a Harry Potter theme this week and I'm in charge of organizing our "Yule Ball" dance! I'm really excited but, again, really busy and having a hard time balancing everything I need to do.

Oh, btw, the fates did NOT want me to get to camp today!!! My GPS decided to give me really stupid directions, but thankfully I looked through the directions before going too far and turned completely around and made the 10 minute drive BACK home to get directions off google. That paired with slow downs at Walgreens and driving slow downs, I was a half hour late to my first activity. Thank goodness this was just an in-service day!

So now I'm in a new room (YAAAYYY!!! No more squeaky bed in Rotary!) so that's good, but its a blackhole of death for cellphones because its in the lower level of a building so the basement. The good thing about this is that its nice and cool. The bad thing is that its stanky. Speaking of stanky the showers and toilets in my new building are DISGUSTING. That is all.

Ok so I didn't want to be up too late and I didn't want to walk back to my room alone in the dark and I wanted to have time to shower and it seems that ALL trains have left the station, so I should go before the raccoons and that evil cat start roaming (rumor has it, I missed that goal too).

I'll talk to you all soon about my first campers!!! I can't wait! :D

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Haz A Sleepy

I'm tired. Really, really, REALLY tired. I haven't been getting much sleep between working and trying to make friends but last night I had the added challenge of all of a sudden being a super light sleeper.

Well I shouldn't say SUPER light, because I'm pretty sure the loud squeaks my bed makes when I so much as wiggle a toe could wake everyone in my building. It took me a while to fall asleep and when I finally did so I kept waking up due to this squeaking. I just hope this light sleeping ceases and only returns when I'm doing night watches when the campers get here.

Though I was EXTREMELY irritable all day (which was expressed in me just being quiet because I don't want to snap at people who I just met and I have to spend the rest of my summer with) some good things did happen. When I was leaving my building to go to breakfast this morning I found a frog!!! He was super cute and little and green and he was just sitting at the door on the inside like he was waiting to be let out. I picked him up and held him for a few seconds and then let him go in the ferns beside the footpath to the dining hall.

Then something good happened that actually turned out bad and I got upset (but this might have happened yesterday. I don't know, the days are mooshing together). We did some little group thingy where we grouped up (as you usually would for a group activity) and everyone was given three pipe cleaners. We were told to make something that represented us using only these pipe cleaners and share it with the group.

Some people made some really cool and meaningful designs accompanied with beautiful explanations and stories. I of course made a monkey, my explanation being "cause I really like monkeys." I thought it was pretty legit and it was a REALLY good monkey! The leader of the activity then explained to everyone that we were gonna be all "symboly" and crap and take apart our designs to make one big design with our pipe cleaners that represented the group. Enter heartbreak. I took apart my beautiful purple, blue, and green pipecleaner monkey (but not without MUCH whining) and contributed to the "group effort." Whatever.

Oh, bonus short story: We had swedish meatballs for dinner and everyone judged me because I didn't have potatos with my meatballs. Well SOOOOORRY I didn't want to ruin my delicious meatballs with icky potatos! People....

Ok I want to go to bed early so that's all I'll write for now. I think I'll go swimming for a little bit and then shower and go to bed. Good night! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"We Have a New Record For Longest Camp Tour!" Yeah... that was my guide who broke that record.

So today the counsilors from this camp AND from the North camp got here (the one from North are only here for two days). There was much merriment and tours. Though we had already done tours, I still didn't know my way around camp very well, which is why I wasn't too upset that the program leaders had to go on these tours too.

I still don't know how to get around here too easily, but holy crap I know about some pretty obscure locations. This tour went for almost 2 hours. I knew of most of the locations but it was nice to see where the fishing dock USED TO be and where you ARE NOT allowed to bring campers. Really, my life was so enriched by that.

Now this could have just bothered me because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feel constantly for the past two days without much sleep... Well, it was probably because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feet constantly for the past two days without much sleep... Ok, its definitely because I'm cranky because I've been working and on my feet constantly for the past two days without much sleep. What of it, punk???

So now THAT'S over. I left early so I could go meet the nurses and tell them about my "condition" (the one where I turn in to a werewolf at the full moon, as well as my hydrocephalus). I have never been happier to have a health condition in my life. There was talk of that tour group going down to the farm which is quite a hike away and all of the other groups had been done for a half hour. Bleh.

Yesterday after my post I had a few emotional moments. First was my realization that this job is going to easily be as stressful as and sometimes more stressful than any job I have ever had. That didn't bother me because i knew it would also be the most rewarding job I've ever had. What got me was looking toward those days where i wouldn't even have time to brush my teeth because I'll be running constantly and everything that can go wrong will go wrong etc. You know, those days that we all have sometimes. I thought about having a day like that and not being able to go home and hug my mom or pet my dog or hang out with either of my sisters or my nephew. Just thinking about it upset me and I got a little teary, but I won't let that ruin my experience here.

Later last night I had another emotional moment when I realized that I have never been to a place where I feel like I fit in so well. I mean I haven't made best friends for life relationships or anything, but I don't feel like an outsider here. These people actually have a lot in common with me and that's awesome!!

Well I'll leave you on that happy note. Its almost dinner and I'm HUUUUNGRAY!!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Holy Mosquitos, I'm Here!

Ok so I realized I said I would write everyday but that's not gonna happen here. I'll be lucky to have time every other day I think. Also, this kayboard is stupid so sorry for typos.

So let me tell you about yesterday!!!

I started my drive to camp by saving a baby ducky's life on my way to the gas station. I was driving the the station and I saw a buncha duckies with their mommy and about a half block or so away was another lonely little ducky who didn't know where his mama was. I assumed the duckies up ahead were his family so I pulled over and scooped up the baby ducky (which was easy since the little guy just flipped out and threw himself on his back where he then got stuck. How are ducks not extinct? Hilarious.) So I brought him off of the street and over to the mama and they waddled off and lived happily ever after (awwww).

After that I got my gas and drove to the highway where I sat in non moving traffic for a good half hour. I think the traffic on the way to camp added about an hour to my commute and I made up some really awesome songs on the way about drivers I didn't like. Fun!

So I eventually got to camp and settled in with my new roommate (atleast for the next week) Jasmine! She's super duper neat. Actually, all of the people here are pretty awesome and I've made some pretty solid connections.

While walking around camp I saw MORE baby things! BABY SKUNKS!!!! So friggin cute, I wanted to hug them but they were stinky and angry. One of them was barking at someone. Yes, I'm sure these were skunks.

So the mosquito's are pretty awful here. Especially when you're walking through the woods and they attack you. Ick ick ick ick ick!!! I'm covered in bites despite deepwoods off. Nasty.

So I really like the work I'm doing and I'm super excited to actually get started! I'm going to be teaching nature classes to younger kids. The side of camp I'm working on is more focused on communication disorders so I have planned some really fun activities that stimulate communication skills. I was also really excited to learn that I will be teaching fishing skills to these kids on nice days. YAY! Seriously, I'm excited. I'm putting to gether a lot of other lesson plans too, so if anyone has any ideas of fun nature related activities let me know!

We've decided we're doing themed weeks and our first week of campers is going to be Harry Potter week. So cool.

Well I want to get back to socializing with the other program specialists, so I'll write again later! Toooodles!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who am I? Who are you?

Hi! I'm Emmi. I'm the queen of random, and I should be going to bed because my first day of work is tomorrow, but I really want to tell my readers (likely just my mom, my sisters, some close friends and a cousin or two) about myself, even if they already know all there is to know!

So, here it goes!!

I'm Emmi. I said that already, but it seemed like a good place to start. I have a dog. Her name is Pepper Anne or just Pepper and I love her THIIIIIIIIISSSSSS much! I like being silly and making people laugh, I made a little life for myself in that during my high school years when I was in improv. It was fun.

I'm really scatter-brained and you will likely notice that in my longer posts such as this one.

Oh, also, I'm the real deal Auntie Em. I would link to my sister's blog and prove it, but I don't know how.

This summer... whoa I totally forgot what I was typing for like a minute there. This summer I'll be working at Camp Courage, a camp run by Courage Center. I'll be a "Nature Specialist" as they call it, so I'll be teaching nature classes to kids and adults at the camp. I'm not 100% sure what to expect, but I am told that Camp Courage caters to a wide variety of people. Throughout the summer Camp Courage hosts kids and adults with physical and mental disabilities, families and kids who have been affected by cancer, and a huge variety of similar clients.

These plans for the summer are largely why I'm starting this blog, so that people back home can know what I'm up to if and when I get a chance to write. If I don't have time during the sessions I'll for sure write after every session (so like once a week). If I like this whole blogging business, I might keep it up through the school year and next summer and FOREVER!!!!!!

There's just so much about me I don't even know if I'll have time to cram it all in one post. I'm pretty good with creativity, but I have no idea how on earth to change the settings to make my blog look cool. When I figure that out, this blog will be sparkly and awesome. And it will breathe fire. Out of your computer and all over your face. Face fire.

Where was I???

Right! So who want to know more about me?! I like beading. Well actually I love beading, but beading has commitment issues and is not ok with us "labeling our relationship in such a serious manner." Whatever, beading. You know I love you and you love me.

Anywho, I'd like to start to sell my beading jewelery, but I don't have time to make all of the pieces and take pictures of them and stuff. Most of what I make I give away as gifts, so there ya go. If I ever get this business going, YOU, dear readers, will be the first to know.

I am in college, studying sociology with a minor in German. Ich liebe deutsch sprechen! Manchmal, wenn ich bin betrunken, ich spreche nur Deutsch. Ich schreie dann, "KEIN ENGLISCH! ICH SPRECH NUR DEUTSCH!" Dann ich weine. Es macht spass. :) I don't know if I did any of that right, I'm only in Intermediate German 1 this coming semester. Use google translate for a rough translation, though!

Anywhozles, I clearly enjoy speaking German and NEXT summer, if I don't still have this blog going, I will hopefully get it up and running again when I *crossing my fingers* go to Germany! Again, this is only if stuff works out financially.

I like dogs.

Ok so its not LAAATE but its 11 and I have to get up early tomorrow to finish packing for my first week (a training week) at Camp Courage! Wish me luck and I hope I have time to get back to you before a week from now!!!

Much love!