Thursday, March 12, 2009
Five Things I Learned at Girls Scout Camp
I thought I might do this one now, lots of folks are looking for work and Camps all over the country are starting to hire now. I know your thinking – OMG why would I want to do that???? Well I’m going to tell you about one of my favorite summers as an adult!
At the age of 41, I was offered a job at a resident Girl Scout camp in NH. So, the first week of June, I went off to camp, bags and all for a week of training. A week later Fox (2), Hanna(9)and Katie(15)joined me. They were going to get a summer full of free horseback riding, boating and smores & Fox had a Nanny & allt he outside play he could manage. Jim spent the summer digging and then headed back to Idaho with the car. So what did I learn at summer camp…..
1. It is an amazing place for moms!!! Especially single moms. Free room and board for you and your kiddos and free camp for them while you play – I mean work. We had a wonderful army tent right on the lake. It had built in screens so I left the lake side flap up so we could feel the cool night air & wake each morning to gentle summer, morning breezes and loons calling. After Fox had nodded off each evening, I could lay there and listen to the night sounds. I truly loved that what a magical way to fall asleep!
I also adored working with the nearly 200 girls each week. We pond stomped, broke secret codes, we beaded and tie dyed everything we could find. We smeared avocado all over our faces and learned how to clean our skin!! We – well I had an absolute amazing amount of fun. And they paid me for it!!! I learned … what bliss really meant to me. How very vital being outside in nature and with children was to my well being!!!
2. There is a reason they tell you not to have food open in your tent. Chipmunks, mice,squirrels,ducks yes ducks)…etc. I had one very sturdy container for treats. A mouse tried his hardest for several nights around 4 am to break into my stash of M&M’s. I still have the container, with chew marks. One night a peanut M&M was dropped and forgotten. That little mouse played “roll the M&M” from one end of the tent to the other! This went on for at least an hour before I was able to snatch the M&M and throw the candy out the tent flap, he flew out right after it. Honestly I felt horrid that I had ruined his little game – but I couldn’t sleep. I learned …that living in the great outdoors – things like mice in your abode, just don’t seem to bother you so much.
3. You don’t have to cook or clean– for a whole summer!!!! We had an amazing camp cook! She prepared a vegan meal option every meal and they were gooooood! I discovered that along with the three miles or so I was walking everyday (the camp was 400 acres) & a mainly vegetarian diet ( I included one protein, an egg or a serving of chicken daily )– my body really liked me!! It slimmed right down, gained massive energy and I felt great!!! By the end of the summer I had lost 20 lbs. I learned …that my body loved a mainly vegan diet and lots of exercise – duh!!!
4. The camp director was not a nice gal – sad but true. There were only about five staff members out of about forty that were over the age of twenty three. So having the MAIN gal just not like you was a huge challenge for me. At 41, I still struggled with people not liking me then and it sent my empath senses reeling. I attempted to get along with her. When she nearly broke her ankle, I made sure when I saw her that I asked after her. My attempts to have some sort of friendship with her fell flat and it was clear my attempts were annoying her. So I just did my job and did extra when I could. I tried to be friendly. We never got on and she always made me feel uncomfortable.
At the end of camp we had an exit interview. She sat me down and gave me a great review on the job I had done with Program & how much all the extra things I did meant to her – which was nice! Then she dropped the bomb – it would seem I was too nice. Uhhhmmm come again…yes I was too nice & it had annoyed her all summer. No one could possibly be that nice and be real. I think that was the very moment I grew a pair and said,” I’m sorry that you feel that way, as being nice isn’t a problem that YOU have.” Where it came from – some inner well of anger and injustice. This was the only complaint she had about me – I was too nice???? She was taken aback but I think it made her think too. I was sure I had destroyed any chance at a good recommendation – but wow it felt great. I didn’t trash it by the way, it was glowing. I learned… to accept that not everyone will like me and that’s an ok thing. It has served me very well ever since.
5. Oh one last thing funny thing….. mosquitoes loved the gals from Great Britain. If you walked with them – you didn't get bitten – I swear those poor girls looked like they had measles by the end of the first month!!! So…I learned… if you are an American in Britain – watch out for the bugs!!!