Thursday, February 2, 2012

Answer to: Sooo, whatcha doin' now?

I could not be more excited to say that I am officially done with my undergrad classes! I will graduate May 5, 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Leisure, Youth, and Human Services with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation!!!!!!!!!!!! I received an internship at Fox Valley Special Recreation Association! I was hoping to get this internship and cannot be happier! I have also moved back to Camp Courageous! It has been awesome to be getting back in touch with friends from the summer, as well as meeting a few new ones. Right now, we have all been doing work jobs, or basically all the stuff that we don't have time to think about when we have campers here. I have been working with two other girls in the pool cleaning, painting and doing other odd jobs. This past week I have removed every speck of rust (give or take a speck or 12) from and polished every inch of stainless steel in  both the women's and men's locker rooms and have moved on to doing the same for the stainless steel on the pool deck. Glamorous stuff, right? Not so much, but as Camp is a non-profit organization it counts on it's program staff and generous volunteers to make up for the lack of cleaning personnel or a service to come out and do these things for us. Most of the program staff (aka counselors) also teach swimming lessons to the kids of Monticello. A few of these kids have special needs but the majority do not. These days are quite different from the regular schedule of Camper Camp. Here's a rough outline of what I will be doing when campers come:

7:20-Wake up
---For me personally, this varies from about 7:20 to 7:25. The great thing about camp is that we have a uniform-staff t-shirt, pants, comfy closed toed shoes. Usually the pants that you see first are the perfect ones for the day. Brush those teeth, throw your hair up, and you're ready to go! 
7:30- Counselors in cabins
---Wake campers up
---Help get campers dressed and ready for the day
---Go to nursing and administer all medications
8:30- Breakfast
---Get campers food from kitchen who have special diets
---Help campers get breakfast if they need help
---Help campers eat breakfast if they need it
9:00 First activity
---The activities we do are based on that group's interests- not on their abilities. Every activity is adapted so every single one of our campers can experience and enjoy it. Every camper climbs the tree if they want to, every camper walks the Burma Bridge (airplane cable over a ravine, tightrope) if they so choose, and every camper gets the chance to fly down the zip line if they feel so inclined.
10:00- Second activity
--- We have lots of varieties of activities at camp. There are the camp traditionals arts and crafts, camping out, canoeing, archery, swimming, and those sorts but we also have yoga, the nature center which houses lots of different animals from miniature horses to a ferret to a desert lizard that the campers care for twice a day, to adventure activities (zip line, climbing wall/tree, tight rope, high and low ropes courses) and TONS more.
11:00- Third activity
12:00- Lunch
---Meds passed
---special diet food passed
---Help campers with lunch (if needed)
---Help campers eat lunch (if needed)
1:45 Rest Hour
---Rest hour is a time that the campers (and counselors) can go back to the cabins and relax and recharge for a full afternoon. Typically two staff members (counselors) are on Rest Duty with the campers to attend to any needs and to hang out with them. Counselors work one or two rest hours a week.
2:15- Counselors in cabins
2:30- Fourth Activity
3:30-Fifth Activity
4:30-Sixth Activity
5:30- Dinner
---(repeat steps from breakfast and lunch)
6:45- Evening program
---This is a time when all the campers and counselors come together and do activities as a whole camp. In the summer these were usually some sort of water incorporated activities where every person at camp would be soaked to the bone. This winter we will do more indoors activities. 
8:30- Bed time Meds
8:35 Head to cabins to get ready for bed.
9:00- Night Duty in cabins
--- During night duty two to three counselors sleep in the cabins to attend to any needs and personal care that needs to be done through the night. We check campers at 11pm, 2am, and 5am and then we all start the day together officially at 7:30am (sometimes the day starts much earlier than that, as some of our campers are so excited to be at camp they may not sleep past 5 or 6). Night duty is sometimes tough because we work a 14 hour high active day, sometimes don't sleep at all at night and then get up and work another 14 hours. It's ok though, some of our campers look forward to their week at camp all year long and the amazing staff at CC are willing to go the extra mile for them. We do one or two night duties a week.
9:30ish- Staff back to the staff dorms for the night.

All through out the day we attend to personal care and the needs and wants of our campers. We strive to make everyday better than the last so they can have the best week ever.  In the meantime, we also laugh non-stop, create amazing memories, and build friendships that will for sure last a life time. I cannot explain the energy at CC. The staff here are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. People who change every activity to something related to Harry Potter for that one camper who loves to pretend he is Harry. A director who dressed up as Micky Mouse just because he saw a camper dressed as Minnie. An entire staff who put on 80's prom dresses for Fancy Thursday dinner and dance ridiculously with their campers. While every day isn't peachy keen, there is an unrelenting supply of support every which way you turn. The staff who live at camp are truly a family, and an amazing one at that. I cannot wait to see what this Winter and Spring seasons have in store for me!