Thursday, July 7, 2011

A week of lessons

It has been an interesting week to say the least.  I'm still at camp.  This week was our girls week program.  I've never been around during this week before.  In fact, when I worked here full time I switched it from a half week, end of summer program to a full week.  I then left camp before that summer.  This week (4th of July week) was becoming difficult to fill with boys camp so it became girls week.  It's our 2nd largest week of the summer right now with about 50 girls signed up.  We have a female program director for the week who did an amazing job putting together a new spiritual theme and program.  There is a really good group of female counselors for the girls.  We sent our junior staff home for the week and just kept the senior staff.  They are older and there are fewer issues with male staff mixed with female campers and counselors of about the same age.  I love that someone made that decision; I've heard some of the stories over the last few years.  Overall, this week has been running very well, I think.  There are even a few new ideas that I might carry over to boys camp next week.  To be honest though, as well as this week has been running, it's been a difficult one for me.  I really began asking myself why I came back.  Wondering why I thought that after being away for 5 years I could come back and run a program.  I talked to my friend Liz on Tuesday night and told her how it was a really long week.  Her response was that it's only Tuesday.  Yeah, one of those kinds of weeks.  But through this week, I've learned a few lessons:

1.  Conflict. While talking to Liz I was really avoiding the rest of camp.  I had no desire to be where the rest of the campers or staff were.  Monday and Tuesday really got to me.  I had some issues with a staff person.  I wont go into details because it isn't important.  But know that I was pretty discouraged about some things.  That's when I was questioning whether or not I would last the summer.  Liz mentioned that I really must not like conflict.  I've realized she was partially correct.  I don't really go looking for it.  But I can deal with it if it comes up.  What I don't like, though, is petty conflict over nothing.  And that's what it was.  And after a day or two, it went away like nothing happened.  You may be thinking I should still talk things over and normally I would agree.  But I know well enough to leave this one go.  Things actually are okay on this one.

2.  Patience.  I don't know that this one needs more explaining right now.  There were a few other little mishaps that came up that taught me more patience too.

3.  Serving.  I really planned to be in the office most of this week working on boys camp.  Instead, I've been in the kitchen helping prepare food and cleaning up.  I'v been helping run activities and running ranges.  I've even worked the camp store.  And it's all okay.  I feel a little behind on a few things, but I'm getting it all done.  And I think that it's only fair that if I am asking my staff to serve, than I need to lead by example.  I am much happier filling in these little gaps than I would be in the office.

4.  Chivalry.  Let me explain before you judge this one.  I think that chivalry is all but dead in America.  Far too often we view chivalry as just what we do when we want to date someone.  But I think that it's more.  This week we have about 6 or 7 male staff here.  And we have 50 girls plus about 20 or so female staff.  As a man, I think that it's important to treat women with a level of respect for more than just the purpose of trying to date them.  That means helping female counselors build fires if they've never done it before.  That may mean taking some extra time to explain how to shoot the gun, or the bow and arrow.  It may mean sending an extra guy to help load and unload canoes at the lake.  I think that this week is a great opportunity to show the girls, campers and staff, what a true man is supposed to be.  One who acts in such a way and expects nothing in return.  I hope I did a good job of explaining this.  I'm exhausted right now.

5.  I can!  Through everything, I've learned that yes, I can make it through this summer.  I may have been away for a while, but things are working out.  I'm getting reacquainted to how things work.  It's going to be a great summer!

6.  Camp is a LOT different when there is a group of girls instead of a group of guys!  We hear a lot more pleases and thank yous.  And less belching and other random noises.  We hear hair dryers in the morning and more people come to breakfast with clean clothing faces.  We smell more fruity body spray and less nasty BO.  The pool has fewer campers trying to dunk the counselors or playing water polo and more people lounging at the side of the pool with their feet in the water.  Camp is very different.

Those are just a few lessons.  The bottom line is that this week is running successfully.  As much as it's been a difficult week personally, I'm thankful for what I've learned.  I look forward to many more lessons.


1 comment:

  1. Great insight on the chivalry! It's so true.