Quatre Way to the End

I’m nearly at the end of my 3rd week, which marks the half way point for two of my campers. This means that I’m over a quatre of the way to the end of the summer.
These last few weeks have flown by. I feel as though I’m stuck in a tangle of new names and faces. I feel as though I’m not really doing a decent job but the kids seem to like me which is reassuring. Having said that, I’ve been teased on the ground and used as a climbing frame with the kids in horse back… a climbing frame who gets elbowed in the eye, kicked in the chest and headbutted in the face. I’m trying to make myself believe that this makes me the better counsellor… though I don’t believe it is. It’s surprised me but it’s been sweet seeing how easily kids warm to me, even when I think I haven’t done my best by them.
I’m trying to explore as much as I can on my days off although the unpredictable weather has restricted this on a few days. I’ve hiked my first mountain, tubed down a river and spent about 4 hours in a Walmart… all firsts and hopefully not the lasts of my adventures!

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Timid first steps

Despite a ridiculous journey here, settling into camp has been exciting. I’ve been assigned 11-12 year old girls who will be under my care for nearly 8 weeks. They don’t arrive for about another week or so, so the next few days will be filled with me brushing up on my techniques and learning more about the camp.
Meeting new people is always hard and doing it jetlagged is even worse. I’ve finally got used to the time difference about 4 days in. It’s really helped as I’ve finally began to remember names and the layout of camp and now I can start settling into a routine with my fellow leaders. I’ve been lucky in that while its a small community with a lot of strong standing friendship groups, I’ve been included as a whole. If the kids are as nice as the leaders and have as great an attitude as they’re said to have I can’t wait for them to arrive. If this continues in the way it’s began, I’ll be well on the way of having an amazing summer.

Saying goodbye

Unsurprisingly, the last few weeks have been filled with goodbyes. It’s had me reminiscing over the last couple of years.
Two or three years ago, I never would have considered going abroad alone. I would never have even applied for Camp America around that time, so it’s seems especially crazy that I’m going to be on my way there tomorrow.
This last year has built my confidence, pushed me way beyond my comfort zone and taught me new skills. While I’m giving up a lot of those activities to take on paid work in September, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. Doing all of these different thinga has helped me make decisions for my future.
There’s a poster in my Scout hall that says that Scouting is about teamwork, fun and adventure. When I started my gap year that was exactly what I hoped for. I’ve been incredibly lucky, with volunteer work, with the sporadic paid work and my parents continued support and encouragement. My gap year has been better than I could ever have hoped and I can only hope that it’ll continue when I return to the UK.

MIA

Well, I’ve been missing in action for the last month or so. I swear I’ve got some good excuses!

The last six weeks have been filled with camps and trips away and extra volunteer hours and birthdays and anniversaries and god knows what else.

My camping trips have made me feel as though I’ve finally cemented my position in Scouting and I was asked a rather important question on one of the camps. I have been asked to step up as Akela in the new school year. Our Cub pack’s current Akela is stepping down after many, many years so I’ve got some big boots to fill. Hopefully my personal enthusiasm and hard work will pull me through the difficult first months, especially with a team of dedicated and caring leaders behind me.

My trips away have pinged me back and forth to more Northern parts of the UK, discovering some new places with friends, and re-exploring old places with family. It’s been strange leaving these friends and family members behind with wishes of luck for the states. It’s felt almost final saying good bye to many of my friends. With so many of them still in education, I won’t get to see them again until October half term or Christmas. I’ve accidentally not seen people for that length of time but this time round it seems different. I’m about to go on my biggest adventure so far and I think the sheer distance is what’s made me think October as a million years away.

Regardless, I’ve still got stupid amounts to do in preparation for leaving for America, so I’m going to cut it short here. Hopefully I’ll get a few blogs out while I’m away but I’m not going to make any promises!

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Nearly Finished Holidays

Well, I think my fortnight holiday ended up being busier than normal term time, what with extra meetings and journeys away and all. Having said that, it has been brilliant fun. It’s been months since I saw a lot of my family and friends just because of camps and fundraising and the such like.

One of my close friends (probably closest when I think about it) was one of the people I visited during my holiday. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her so it was great to hang out again, despite having to take her to hospital with her gammy shoulder more than once! Around the hospital visits, we went to a museum where we learnt that cutlery only refers to things that cut, not spoons and forks as well as knives. We certainly didn’t know about it so we’ve both been spreading the word about the truth of cutlery! She’s just moved house so I imagine she won’t see this for a while but since she asked to be mentioned I thought I couldn’t put it off or I’d forget!

I also spent a couple of days with my aunt and uncle with their little boy. I say little boy, and by that I really mean baby. I’m kind of determined to become the favourite cousin so I spent an awful amount of time pulling silly faces, cuddling him and singing him nursery rhymes. I’ve been working on building train tracks and Duplo buildings so I’m pretty sure I can declare myself as the best toy builder in our family!

The second Saturday brought a day of laser quest with the youth group, where I got thrashed. By teenagers. Half my problem is that I was trying to shoot right-handed instead of left. At least, that’s the excuse I’m going with. The kids loved it, and that’s really what’s most important. It proved that we had to do more with them. Allowing them the opportunity to be competitive with each other meant that I managed to begin finalising a few ideas that the young leader had started to put forwards to me. Having been shot down with the idea of having more regular meetings that everyone would be able to attend, I had been feeling a bit down about the youth group. I decided to pitch the vague idea to the kids who were there and they all seemed keen on it. Having something I can actively do for the group means that I feel a bit more positive about it. A few weeks ago, I was torn about returning to the group when I get back from America but if there’s less negativity within the volunteer team I wouldn’t hesitate to get stuck in all over again.

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