I have been at Camp War Eagle for six days now, and it is awesome. I get up every morning at 6:45, throw on my boots and jeans, and head to the barn to feed the horses with the other wranglers. Once we're done feeding, we all have a devotional time, sitting on the concrete barn floor. I think this is fantastic, as I know that later in the summer, when I am completely exhausted, I will need this time to focus myself on what gives me strength. After devos, it is down to the dining hall for breakfast. We haven't had any kids yet, as we are still in orientation, but once they get here, right after breakfast I'll head up to the barn, help groom and saddle the 24 camp horses, and take them to their respective arenas, depending on what they are doing that morning. Right now, before the kids are here, we're just riding the horses some to get them used to having people on their backs again.
All of the camp horses are really good. I'm getting to know their personalities better. Some of my favorites: Foxy, a Missouri Foxtrotter; Hazel, a really easy-going appaloosa; Heidi, a barrel-chested palomino; and JB, who, despite years of kids on his back, still listens rather well to instruction.
I really like all the other wranglers. I am, by a long shot, the least experienced of them when it comes to horses. A couple of them have done rodeo, or worked at dude ranches, or at least own their own horse that they ride quite frequently. I was told, however, that every year in the past, they had hired a wrangler who knew nothing about horses, and so that is a small comfort. I have already learned so much about horses and what running a large-scale facility is like, so this summer is becoming incredibly valuable to me. I have been blessed to be paid to learn and gain experience and ride!
So this summer, I will spend my mornings and afternoons with kids, teaching them how to ride and taking them on trail rides. Considering I had never in my life even received a riding lesson, I wondered at how it would be to give one. So far I have given two, and they both went really well. I think I'm really going to like that. And the trails here are beautiful! They are all wooded forest trails. We went on a long one the other day out to a place called the Point that overlooks the lake. It was gorgeous!
Right now, I'm staying in a camper cabin, because it is still orientation. Next week I will move over to staff housing. There are a couple very important differences between camper cabins and staff housing. The first is that campers stay in camper cabins, and only staff stays in staff housing. I will still be assigned to a cabin each week of camp, but I won't sleep there with the kiddos. The second is the overall temperature. My camper cabin peaks right now at 92 degrees at around five o clock. There is no joy in this. The staff housing has a little bit of air conditioning in the central room, which saves the whole building from being scorching hot all day. The third difference is the set-up. Camper cabins are one room, 14 bed cabins, with a central bathhouse or two for everyone to share. The staff houses are four rooms with a few more beds, connected bathrooms, and a large central living room. This space has couches, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a washer and dryer. Success!
And now on to the bad news. I really wish I could attach a couple pictures onto this post to let you see how beautiful camp is, but, alas, I have lost my camera! I know exactly where it was left: on a window table in Columbia Traders in Joplin. So if you happen to be the person who picked it up, you will know it is mine from the pictures of me and Krystelle that are on it. In a couple of paychecks, I will be getting a new one. Sad day. I loved my camera, and I had a huge memory card. This will be my third digital camera. I'm pretty sure my sister is still on her first. I have bad luck with cameras, I guess.