Saturday, June 26, 2010

Maybe I Should Write More

So I woke up this morning unable to open my left eye. Bad news bears. Sure enough, I looked in the mirror after peeling my eye open and it was a fine shade of pink. Darn pink eye. Fortunately, Camp War Eagle offers free medical care to its campers and employees and is wonderfully staffed with a great team of doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses. So I went on over to the Health Center and got some eye drops. Score! My eye is itchy and oozing, but it should be past this stage no later than Monday morning. I have a feeling I'll wake up with sealed eye again tomorrow, though. At lunch, I was discussing this with the wranglers. We decided that next week at the barn could be pirate themed. My name is going to be Salty, and I will wear an eye patch. Not only will this disguise the pink eye, but it will also remove the temptation for me to scratch it and infect my hand with germs. So when I went to Walmart today, I bought an eye patch for $2. Money well spent. I'm pretty excited to be a horse pirate.

In my last post I promised to tell you of my new favorite pasttime. It is called cold tubbing. Cold tubbing is the exact opposite of hot tubbing. I was unfortunate enough to be working outside all week during the hottest week of the year. It was in the upper 90's every day, and the humidity was high, but we were never blessed with any rain. And working in an arena full of dust didn't help. It was on a hot day, right after lunch, that one of the other wranglers, Alexa, and I decided to fill up two of the water troughs with clean water from the hose and then sat in them in our swimsuits. They each hold 110 gallons. That's 110 gallons of magically cold water. So we sat there in the horse trap, where all the horses live, in their water troughs. It was amazing. It was the first time all summer that I had felt comfortably cold. A couple days later, Alexa and I were joined in our cold tubbing by Rachel and Megan, two other wranglers, as well as several of the horses. The horses, though not getting into the trough, were curious about why we were sitting there in their water. They still would get drinks, and then happily drooled on us. Good times.

At the conclusion of this week, I have spent three solid weeks with ten and eleven year olds. It was fun, but also incredibly challenging. I was definitely stretched in my patience levels. I am still loving what I am doing, but I was very happy to be able to have a day off! I'm also really excited about this next session. It is a two-week session, and I am assigned to cabin 2, which is the second-oldest girls' cabin. I think they are mostly 16. I feel much more at home communicating and relating to 16 year olds than I do to 10 year olds. That hope alone is going to wake me up tomorrow and get me back to camp on time. Well, that, and that I get to wear an eye patch this week.

For my final thoughts today, I would like to reflect on a note of sadness. There are several counselors that have now left camp and are not coming back, and I am going to miss them so much! Megan, my fellow wrangler, is off to Texas and then Maine. We would frequently share long talks of deep subjects together, ranging in topics from demons to the book of Hebrews to cultures to our preferences in men. Alexa, another fellow wrangler, is gone but is coming back for 8th session. I'm still really sad to see her go, even though I'll get to see her again in seven weeks. After all, she is the co-inventor of cold tubbing. I am going to miss her pure joy and sincerity and her calling her back pack a "pack pack." And also Josiah, a counselor who was trained with me in horses, who was my closest guy friend at camp. I gave him an awesome haircut. He's off to Oklahoma to work for the rest of the summer. These three people will be especially missed! They are all amazing people. I'm really going to miss seeing them everyday. But with their going, others are returning. My cousin Jo is back, and so is Aimee! And my other wrangler friend Mel is back, too! And Heidi, who has been in the kitchen, is moving into the wrangler room and joining us at the barn for this session. So, though I am sad, I am also excited.

Basically, I love camp. I love that here is a place where there are so many Christians - good, solid Christians of my similar age, but in no way affiliated with Ozark. I love the constant reminder that it is our calling to be in the world, but not of the world, and these are people who are doing this wonderfully. They attend public universities and maintain a Christian lifestyle. They are working at a Christian sports and adventure camp for their summer, dedicating their lives to children who might otherwise have no contact with a strong Christian. And all their future plans are for going into the world, getting jobs that aren't in the church directly, and being a Christian influence and light in the world. After four years at Ozark, I was, sadly, getting into the mindset that you have to go to a Christian school and get a degree in ministry to truly be effective for Christ. This is such a falsehood. Around me all summer are 350 people who have never sat through a Bible class, but still know so much about the Bible and have a strong desire to serve and spread the Word. This is what we are called to - to serve and spread the Word. There is no requirements of education, only of faith and of faithfulness.

And right now, I'm going to stop, even though I know that I have a ton more to say on this topic. But, you see, there are three small children playing in the room where I am writing, and they are officially rendering me incapable of deep thought. I am so tired of children. I don't want to be spending my day off around children. So I'm going to post this and go into another room. I'll write again next week. I love you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blazing Saddles

Today contains scorching heat. I have suffered through three morning instructionals in the arena, and now that it is after lunch, I decided to take the time to finally write out my blog for last week in the comfort of the air-conditioned Counselor's Lounge. Lucky you!
Last week was very fun. My cabin was all ten year olds, and they had just barely turned ten, too. They were mostly space-cadets, and I had a hard time connecting with them. It was a bit of a struggle all week to stay involved with them. They all had good hearts and willingness to try new things, but they couldn't even remember my name or the names of the other girls in the cabin half-way through the week. Bad sign. In any case, I had plenty of other things happen to break up my week and make it fairly exciting and interesting. So, here they are:

  1. On Wednesday, we were getting ready to send out the third period trail ride, when a freak thunderstorm reared its ugly head and it began to pour. Luckily we didn't have any kids out yet, but all our horses were tied in the three arenas with their tack still on. And so began a crazed rescue of the horses, running down and bringing them back up to the barn. We brought up and tied 17 horses in under 4 minutes. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
  2. Then again that afternoon, the rain had cleared off and we had continued with trail rides. The last trail had left, when another storm came in. Those of us not on the trail prepared ourselves, and when the riders came in, it was all rescuing kids off the backs of horses to get them under cover from the storm. We were all soaked! We had to keep the kids there at the barn for over an hour, so we played some games and then put on the movie "Spirit" until a bus came to take them down to dinner.
  3. On Friday, I got to go to the horse vet with my boss, Penny. We took four horses in the trailer down to the town to get their teeth floated. Floating a horse's teeth involves sedating it, cranking its mouth open, then filing down the sides, which become sharp because of their chewing. So as the horses were drugged, I was allowed to put my hand in the horse's mouth and feel all their teeth both before and after the floating. It was fascinating! I had never realized just how big their mouths truly are and how many teeth they have. We were also getting one horse's vision checked, because he has been acting blind, and we found out that he has cataracts in his right eye. He is becoming fairly unresponsive to his rider, so we're thinking that the best option for him would to be for him to go to Horses for Healing, a therapeutic riding place where horses are lead around by lead ropes. He'd be perfect for it.

The rest of my week was pretty standard. I still love love love what I'm doing here. I'll be writing again this weekend to tell you about my week for this week and my new favorite camp pasttime.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Session One. Check.

I just got done with week one of camp! Only nine more to go!

This week I was assigned to a cabin of 11 year old girls. I was a little worried, but I ended up loving it a whole lot. All of the girls were amazing. They have been through so much, and their faith in God is so huge and beautiful. I have a lot I can learn from young people.

Sad thing: On Monday, I started feeling sick. I think I had a stomach flu that never manifested itself in actual vomiting, but there was a whole lot of nausea. My supervisor gave me Tuesday night and Wednesday morning off. I didn't even go to dinner. I slept for 15 straight hours and woke up feeling so much better! This is my new favorite remedy. But as soon as my illness was gone, some wicked allergies set in. Now I sound like a sick person, but really my only problem is an inability to breathe through my nose.

My mornings at camp are pretty full of feeding, grooming, and saddling horses. Then kids come up and I get to give lessons! It's a ton of fun. It is definitely never slow. My afternoons are full of taking kids on trail rides. We do three rides in just over two hours. My evenings are spent with my assigned cabin, hanging out at the special event and then helping with devos in the cabin. All in all, it is very tiring, but incredibly rewarding work. I absolutely love what I'm doing!

Feel free to send me mail at camp. So far I haven't gotten anything. :( You can send it to:
14323 Camp War Eagle Rd
Rogers, AR 72756

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mission: Orientation

I heard this conversation between two guys at the lunch table at camp the other day:

Guy #1: Is all those cupcakes gone?
Guy #2: "Are" all those cupcakes gone.
Guy #1: What?
Guy #2: It's "are," not "is." You said "Is all those cupcakes gone."
Guy #1: No, I said "Was all those cupcakes gone."
Guy #2: Um, either way, you're using the wrong tense.

The bad news is that everyone who works at camp is in college. I guess the good news is that half of them have successfully comprehended eighth grade English. I feel really good about spending my summer in Arkansas.

Seriously, I do really feel good about spending my summer in Arkansas. The kids will finally get to camp tomorrow! I spent the past eight days living a week of camp as a camper. It totally exhausted me. I'm hoping that living camp as an adult isn't quite as exhausting.

I've already made a ton of new friends. Everyone here is amazing. And I really love the mission of the camp. I truly believe that it is a God-driven ministry that makes a huge impact on the youth of Northwest Arkansas. If I was a kid, I would be so excited to get to spend a week here, doing all of these cool things. Even as a 22 year old, it's so fun and exciting. I mean, this week I got to go on a Blob! I went fishing in the fishing pond and, with four casts of a line, caught three fish. I was inducted into one of two tribes (Go Caddo!) and spent a week playing games on a team and running a crazy obstacle course on the last day.

Another thing that we did is called Mission: Impossible. It's basically just what it sounds like. In the middle of an evening event, the theme song from Mission: Impossible came on, and everyone scattered to their cabins and changed into dark camouflage shirts and long pants. Then we were handed our mission, and we all ran around in the dark finding our assignments. There were people going around, searching for us, so we'd have to drop to the ground frequently to avoid the flashlights. The maximum time allotted was 20 minutes. My cabin finished in FIRST place, completing the whole mission in 7 minutes and 38 seconds! We totally rocked it up. And that is just one of the nightly events at camp.

My hope is that I'll be able to post some more interesting stories here in the future. I probably won't have any posts for the next two to three months that don't have to deal with camp, so if you have no interest in that, you might check out for a while. But I really hope that you are interested enough in my life that, even though my posts become repetitive, you'll keep reading, because you love me.

And now, a shout out to my good friend Connor Farris, who drove down to Rogers on my day off to visit me! A big group of us got to go out to dinner, and Connor, being such the awesome friend that he is, bought my dinner. I think he really just wanted to be able to say that we went on a date. I guess that's okay. So, thanks again, Con-o!