Overheard at Camp
Last week I was a cabin leader at Camp Maranatha for the junior high girls. It was a week full of sunburns, caffeination, mud fights, raging middle school hormones, and giggly girls…and it was a blast. I had nine girls in my cabin which means nine times the drama. Nine times the tears. Nine times the memories.
The week is always nuts, see so for yourself:
As my third year being a cabin leader, I was confident going into the week. The last two years taught me so much about how to deal with situations and how to manage a wild group of junior highers. I had a twelve pack of Mountain Dew Voltage that would be my saving grace. I had it figured out:
- I would pace myself throughout the week, trying to avoid highs or lows.
- I would take breaks from the girls, escaping into town in the middle of the week to do homework.
- I would spend energy developing a sense of a family, limiting the drama that plagued last year.
SURVIVE THE WEEK
I wanted to return home in one piece and keep my emotions in check. Simple enough. But junior highers will eat you alive if you let them. Adolescence is a funny time. Most of the campers have never experienced the vast amount of free time the camp allots them, causing them to run like mad throughout the entire day. Young girls get homesick and cry at night while the older girls are so wrapped up in thoughts about the opposite sex that they miss their chance to become leaders and mature.
It is sheer madness trying to lead a group this diverse. I always feel like I’m trying to juggle a cat, a potato, and a knife. It’s tricky business and I absolutely love the challenge. By the end of the week, I always learn so much about teenagers: their stage in development, how they handle situations, their cognitive ability, and how they are socially.
This year I kept a writer’s notebook to jot down my thoughts throughout the week. I wrote about my struggles and insecurities and I also wrote down what my campers said. I kept a running log of their hysterical quotes I caught while lounging in our cabin. Let me tell you, teenagers are hilarious. The last night at camp, I shared their quotes with them. We laughed and laughed and laughed. I hope they remember the power of writing because of it.
They better not…or I’ll slit some throats.
I wished I was 15. (Declares a 14 year old)
Her face is shiny.
My blanket smells super weird.
I butt-scooted the whole way.
He threw up all over my grandma’s rug. I thought we were going to get arrested.
I ate dog food once and my mom had to call poison control.
I always wake up staring at you.
Get away from me.
I cried my eyelashes off.
Where’s your brother? I don’t know. That’s your job.
When I was little, I had imaginary heffulump friends that lived in the cigarette lighter of my mom’s car. Once she shut it and I said, “No! You killed the heffelumps!”
You have Cheeto dust in your hair!
I can’t find my robot head.
This relates to your poop story last night…
Can I use your slip-flops?
THERE IS A SPIDER! I CAN’T TOUCH IT!!! IT’S UNDER HER BED! WE’RE GOING TO DIE!!!
Did that fall into my Mountain Dew?
I hate double-knotting my shoes.
Let’s go get sugar. Sugar, sugar.
I haven’t fangirled this hard in forever. Even for Justin Beiber? Nah, he’s gay.
Yeah, junior higher are crazy creatures, but they’re crazy creatures I love hanging out with. Man, I can’t wait to be a teacher.