So the kids are finally here! Yay! And surprise, I got assigned to be a counselor for one-week campers. This is definitely going to be a challenge, since K-West is designed for two-week campers, and that's what I'm used to. Thankfully, my co-counselors are incredible! They're names are Kyle (yes, she's a girl) and Diana. It's unusual to have two cos, but, for some reason, K-West was over-staffed on the girls side for this session, so there are 3 counselors in most cabins instead of 2. Anyway, I knew that since my girls were only going to be here for a week, that I would have to really dig in and get know them quickly. But, to my surprise, this first group has been absolutely incredible! As a whole, they are so outgoing and have opened up so quickly! They're mostly 13, with a few 12 year olds, going into 7th and 8th grade. Half my girls have never been to Kanakuk before which leads to them asking a lot of questions that I never would think of! There is so much to kamp that I always forget that others don't know or understand. So it's taken some patience, understanding, and discernment to work through some of those, but it's been great.
The kids arrived on June 1st, and it was a pretty chill day. As the girls got there, I met some of their parents and then just went through the typical unpacking and paperwork. The girls then went to "play in the pool"/ really have a swim test disguised as fun, and then we changed and headed out to the football field for an all-K-West picnic. yay for burgers with BOOYA! sauce. We got to meet out brother cabin, which is always awkward and funny with middle schoolers. Thankfully, my brother cabin counselors are a lot of fun and helped to break the ice quickly. The next day we had a lot of introductory type activities, like cabin competitions, kamp store, and a girls-side dance party! I got to get in front of whole girls side (like 200 people) and teach the ZZZ dance from Baylor! It was so cool! I even got to wear a sweet headset microphone! It was so much fun to get up and lead everyone and see girls from all over the country learning a dance that my friends made up.
Yesterday was our first "real day" of kamp, which meant it was also my first time to teach classes. I was a little nervous, because you never really know exactly what you're going to get scheduled to teach, and sometimes you just have to "fake it 'til you make it" and hope that it turns out all right and the kids think you know what you're doing. So, first period, I was scheduled to teach games class. Awesome. Got that. We'll play 'pterodactyl' (sp), which I though they would love. WRONG. Fail. They didn't think it was as funny as I did....so, uh, let's play psychiatrist! Phew!! They liked that one. Second period, archery. Ok, I love archery. Awesome! And Lia is teaching it with me! Too bad I strung the bow wrong when I was trying to demonstrate to the kids! Thankfully Lia was able to recover for me and we talked in British accents that rest of the time to try and make up for it : )...Now third period, kayaking. Cool. I can do this. And Lia is teaching it with me again. Awesome! Except I'm not the best at wet exits. In fact, they slightly freak me out. But one of us has to demonstrate it so that each of the girls can learn how to do it before they can actually kayak in the lake. But Lia doesn't want to do it, so here I go! Here's where the "fake it til you make it" comes in. Don't get me wrong, I can do a wet exit, it's just not always very graceful! Thankfully, however, I was able to put on my confident face and get er dun! I thought that the girls in the class would be nervous about it, but they did great! Only 2 of them got a little scared, but they all did their wet exits beautifully!
After lunch, I was assigned to work at the pool during free time. I was so excited! It had always been a dream of mine to be that counselor that gets to work at the top of the waterslide. And yesterday I got that chance! I guess most counselors don't like doing that because you have to get wet when you go down the slide at the end, but I really wanted to do it! It was so much fun to stand on the tower and meet kids as they came up and encourage them as they prepared to go down. The view from up there is incredible! Although the red slide that I worked is not as tall as the white slide, I could still see a lot of the lake and the surrounding hills. So beautiful! Later that afternoon I was scheduled to lead soccer elective. What?!?! Ok, I like soccer (don't worry Beth, I think it's great), but I'm just not the best at it. I WISH I was better and that I knew better how to teach the basics, but here we go! Again, fake it til you make it. So, thankfully, my co, Kyle, is a soccer player, so I pleaded for her help during F.O.B. (our rest period after lunch). She gave me some good ideas of games to play, so I felt semi-perpared going into it. We played knock-out, and I called on a couple of the girls to go over basic skills just to make sure that we were all on the same page (and since the girls were teaching it, I didn't necessarily have to teach, which is a good thing haha). And then they just wanted to scrimmage!! Perfect! So we scrimmaged!!
So real kamp really isn't too bad! I think I'll be able to get the swing of this teaching stuff pretty fast and continue to figure things out as I go.
Oh! I forgot to mention that 2 nights ago was Tribal night. I absolutely LOVE this night! For those who don't know, one of the longest traditions at Kanakuk is tribal competition. For the girls, the two tribes are Kickapoos and Kiowas. I was PROUDLY a Kickapoo haha. For the guys, there are Cherokees and Choctaws. My brothers are both Cherokees. Anyway, during the second day of kamp, all the new kampers get assigned to tribes. It's so exciting! Then, that night, we have our first tribal competitions and then we have a more serious time where Ward, our director, tells the kids all about the tribal traditions at kamp. It's really cool because we all go down to the tribal ring, where the kids sit around a giant fire with a teepee off to one side. Ward comes out in his full chief garb and then 5 of the men from leadership come out, too. They perform some traditional dances and really make the kids feel like they are a part of the tradition. The chiefs and princesses are then introduced for that term. These are one kamper from each tribe that are elected by their peers the year before. They prepare for their job throughout the year and then come to kamp prepared to lead their tribe! It's so fun haha. I guess I'm still a kamper at heart : )
Anyway, it's getting about time to move on and make a few calls before I have to head back. I miss you all, but, as you can tell, thoroughly enjoying my time in the Ozarks! I wake up every morning excited for a new day and a chance to get to know the kids better and share the love of Christ with them. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. I have about 2 more weeks until my next 2-4, so it will be awhile until I am able to update this again, but know that I'm thinking of you all and would love to hear from you!