Category: Work

midsummer update

It’s been awhile.

In case you’ve forgotten, we look like this:

Tired & tanned pretty much sums it up, I guess. Look how brown Ben is! I wear sunscreen religiously, so I’m still pretty white. :-)

This was a picture from yesterday, Saturday, which we spent mostly at the mall since it has been SO HOT outside. Trust me, though, I’m not exactly spending my summer chillin’ at the mall. This week will be our third week of camp, and on Friday (the 13th) we will be halfway done with our regular camp season. It feels like we’ve been at it a lot longer than three weeks, though, with the week of training before camp started and then all the weeks of preparation and our two weekend teen retreats which came before that.

Camp so far has been very challenging but at the same time it’s gone well. We have a lot to be thankful for. We had a counselor get injured the second day of camp, but she is doing well now and her injury wasn’t terribly serious, thank God. We’ve been without a pool for the first two weeks, even with the heat wave last week which had us dealing with 100-degree-plus temperatures, but the pool should be ready by the middle of this week and we’re all pretty overjoyed about that. Our staff are awesome — it’s probably the strongest year I’ve seen so far in terms of staffing. The kids are needy as usual, but that’s normal. They keep me very, very busy.

My brother Jesse is working here for the summer — having him here makes me happy. :-) He does a lot of work in the barn and definitely makes camp more awesome. This week he will be counseling about a dozen little boys, so pray for him! Haha. It’s been lots of fun working with him during the week and hanging out on the weekends. Here we are da beach…

Look at me snuggling up to all these good-looking men! Hmmm … it would be sketchy except I’m related to them, lucky me.

Hard to believe camp will be over in a month! The weeks seem so long, but before we know it, it will be August 3rd and our fourth season of camp will be over! And of course there’s another milestone coming up too … somebody’s 30th birthday is a couple of weeks away … who could it be? :-)

Got to go … hope everyone’s summer is going well. See you in August or whenever I’m back on here.





Things I learned at a camp fair

Today you’re going to get a glimpse into something you may never have witnessed: the Camp Fair. Ben and I just got back from one last night, a two-day affair at a university in the lovely mountains of VA, where we spent two long days standing in a drafty hallway along with recruiters from many other camps, calling out things like “Areyoulookingforacampthissummer?” and “Wannaworkatcamp?” to the 18-to-22-year-old masses rushing by our tables, and listening to the same songs play on the same slideshows over, and over, and over, and over.

It’s quite an experience. I’ve done this before, but it had been a while …. and I’d never been to a camp fair at this particular university before. It was a good fair as far as fairs go; free lunch, lots of traffic (almost too much – at times I felt like I was being stampeded), nice people, and quite a bit of interest from the students. It also afforded an opportunity to learn some new things, such as …..

  • Students will rarely take candy when you offer it to them politely. Students will hardly even take candy if you shove the candy bowl in their faces. But if you start talking to someone or move away from your booth for even a moment, students will DASH over to the table and take HANDFULS of candy.
  • When given the chance, mature adults who walk by your table will take much MORE candy than the college-age-ers. So don’t be fooled when a nice-looking gray-haired teacher asks if he or she can have some candy; say “yes,” do NOT cheerfully say, “Take all you want!” assuming that they are a grown-up and they know that this means, maybe, 2 pieces. THEY WILL CLEAN YOU OUT.
  • Some camp recruiters are not very honest with the students they are recruiting. How do you know this? When you hear the recruiters screaming things like “COME TO CAMP, IT’S ALWAYS FUN!!” and “MAKE TONS OF MONEY!!”. Anyone who has worked at a camp knows this is not, as a rule, true. Always fun? Tons of money? Ha, ha.
  • It’s not always hard to tell if a college student is a good fit for your camp or not. For example, take this brief conversation I had:
    Friendly, Helpful Me: “Looking for a summer ministry opportunity?”
    Twentysomething White Male: “I’m looking for a JOB that pays OVER TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.”
    It was not difficult to realize that we did not want him, and he did not want us. End of story. That was simple.
  • People who work at camps are a funny lot. Generally speaking, they are not afraid to be the center of attention, they are quite persistent in getting that attention, they are eternally optimistic, happy, chatty and sometimes childlike, and they have few qualms about being perceived as unusual or weird. This comes from years of entertaining small children by persistently doing unusual and weird things in order to get and maintain their attention. Obviously, given the difficulty of this task, the only people who would stick with it would be the optimistic, happy ones. No one else would make it. So there you have it.
  • There is much talk at camp fairs about a mystical thing known as The Blob. The Blob is highly sought-after. It is desirable. It is rare, and highly prized/touted by those who possess it. To those who have never heard of The Blob, an exchange like this one might seem odd:
    Student: “Do you have A Blob?”
    Recruiter (proudly): “Yes, we’re one of the few camps in (insert state or region here) who do!”
    Student (ecstatically): “YESSS!!! I love The Blob!!”
    Of course, you wouldn’t overhear many conversations like this because camps who do have A Blob advertise it with prominently displayed pictures and large-print captions that say “WE HAVE A BLOB!!” It seems like Blobs are where it’s at in the camping business these days. Of course, I wouldn’t know, though, because our small camp does not have one. I’m ashamed.

Not only did I learn all those fascinating things …. we also got a lot of names of students who are interested in working with us this summer. And I picked up lots of brochures from other camp booths (as I always do) to steal ideas from. And possibly located a new T-Shirt vendor. And heard about a game which is a strange and awesome cross between Ultimate Frisbee and Dodgeball. So it really was a pretty cool camp fair. :-)

returned from the dead


I’m back. And so, so ready for Christmas break!!

I’ve been extremely busy working the last few weeks. I finished school, then work got CRAZY. I work for a charitable organization and one of the major things they do is a Christmas food & toy drive to benefit needy families in the area. We gave out food to over 1,000 families and toys to over 1,000 children. People give a lot of food & toys for the drive, and the work is done by volunteers. Ben and I helped manage the volunteers, interviewed clients, gave out the food & toys to clients, among many other things. We would work 12-hour days several days a week, and the last few weeks we have worked much more than that, basically living at the warehouse where the whole thing took place.

It was pretty dang arduous …. and I am relieved to be done since you can’t keep up that kind of pace forever … but it was really successful I think. I feel good about it. Plus we got the warehouse AMAZINGLY clean yesterday (thanks to a steady stream of volunteers). It had been very messy before, and by the time we left yesterday it was just … shiny.

It was an incredible feeling to be done with something I’ve been working on since the first week in September. The last volunteer walked out the door, the haze of dust from sweeping the floor finally cleared, we looked around at the clean space and the leftover food stacked so neatly on the shelves ….. I quickly went over to the computer and pulled up the Hallelujah Chorus on Youtube. We have a great surround sound system in the warehouse. I turned that baby up LOUD and blasted the Hallelujah Chorus. Ben & I ran skipping and dancing around the warehouse, to the amusement of our co-workers. Good thing none of them had a video camera handy. ;-)

So now I have one day to get my life together (ack!) and tomorrow morning EARLY EARLY we get on a plane headed for Minnesota. I can’t wait to see my family and spend a nice long holiday week with them. YAY.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!!!