Monday, July 14, 2014

You Can't Ride in my Little Red Wagon

There are certain songs that I hear that invariably remind me of the summer. Everything about them seems to perfectly embody the sense of boundlessness that is summer. They're the songs that make us roll down the windows and crank it up.

And they are the songs that just deserve to be sung at the top of your lungs, or if you are a camp counselor, shouted at the top of your lungs. I'm not sure if I could tell you my "summer song" from last summer, but this summer that award by and large goes to the following song:

If listening to that isn't for you, the gist of the song goes "You can't ride in my little red wagon. (Repeated by campers) Front seat's broken and the axel's draggin' (repeated by campers)" sung in three increasingly loud refrains. And it is glorious.

I'm convinced that at any given time that song is stuck in at least 10 staff members heads, and I am almost always one of them. This is only one of many silly songs and dances sung during Camp Beech Cliffs morning circle each day, but it always the loudest. It is sung so loudly that the older campers who don't sing in the morning anymore had to relocate up the hill to have a chance to hear the counselors and be heard by everyone else.

It's those moments in the morning, right before my real work picks up, watching the kids have competitions over who can sing the loudest, that I feel I can fully appreciate just how incredible my job is.

Seriously. If you sat me down and asked me to design the perfect job for me, I don't think I could have made it as satisfying as the one I currently have. My job has basically allowed me to pool a lot of the skills I worked tirelessly to acquire during college, and I'm using this post as a way of expressing gratitude that I was lucky enough to find this place.

My job, put as concisely and interestingly as possible, is to design and facilitate challenge course curriculum for the kids from 7th to 10th grade. Not only do I get to spend all day facilitating the ropes, but I spend my mornings teaching the kids different technical skills and spend the afternoon developing and putting leadership skills into practice with the Leaders-in-Training campers. I'm actually excited and awake (relatively) in the morning for the first time in my life because I'm just so thrilled to do what I do (and I'm not physically capable of staying up past 9:45 after a full day of work. That probably helps.)

As if that wasn't enough, the high ropes course is brand new and totally kick ass. When I first showed up to camp at the beginning of May for ropes training, the course barely had all the gear it need to function properly, so I got the incredible jobs of building the course from the ground up (not literally, it was designed and physically built long before I showed up.) But I've been creating, adapting and purchasing all the resources I need to do my job.

Part of the reason I am writing this post is to try to fully appreciate how I am doing exactly what I want to do with my life (for the moment.) Since I graduated, I have been somewhere between "exploring" and "floundering" in figuring out what I want to do with myself and haven't been doing much of anything too legitimate. Don't get me wrong, I've been having a great time, but I've spent all this time wondering what I should do.

So I am still really far from having it all figured out since this job only lasts through September but it's more of a start than I had before I came here. It's really great to know that I am pretty good at something I actually want to do. So now I just need how to start turning these sorts of things into a full time gig.

Featured here are Lily Pads in the foreground , Islands in the Sky on the right, Burma Bridge behind Lily Pads, and barely in the left corner, Pirate's Crossing. 

Leap of faith is on the left and Power Pole is on the right. 

On the left, Vertical Play Pen (possibly one of the most fun elements I've encountered),  a rock wall, cargo net and on the right is the Giant's Ladder. 

I'm trying to keep myself from just blathering incoherently about how everything is like, totally awesome. But it's really hard. My bosses are so empowering. They trust my decisions and have faith that I'm designing my program in the best way I can. My coworkers are so great, and I am fortunate to live in community with about 20 of them. Staff housing is very lively in all the best sorts of ways.

Those of us who live in staff housing get to do exactly what all the campers wish they could do, live at camp. in the evenings we can go stand up paddle boarding (apparently this is called "SUPing), take the canoes out, shoot on the archery range or do high ropes if we want. Today I went SUPing for the first time on the beautiful Echo Lake and ended the event by doing yoga until I fell off the board and just laying on the board, drifting on the lake with the group. It was really quite ideal.

This is the part of the post where I was going to seamlessly transition into what a beautiful place Mount Desert Island is, but I think I'll save all of that for a later post, but to give you a hint it's the sort of place where Martha Stewart and the Rockefellers have summer homes.

So until next time, enjoy your summer!

Here's a bonus pic of me on the high ropes!

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