Who says you need to be enrolled at the University of Mississippi to earn a degree in being a housewife and mother? All a girl really needs is a summer as a camp counselor. This is long, and I might ramble a little, but it covers some of the funny things that have happened at Kamp lately.
Every day is an adventure and in every adventure there is a valuable lesson.
Life Lesson #1: Who knew you could turn off the water in an overflowing toilet? I sure didn’t, at least not until Sunday morning when our toilet turned into Old Faithful. Sally came running out of the bathroom screaming “ITS OVER FLOWING! I DIDN’T DO IT! WATER IS EVERYWHERE!” Not exactly what I wanted to hear on Sunday Funday, but hey, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I ran to the office and since it was Sunday the maintenance man was gone—of course. Thank goodness for JP who came to the rescue and fixed our clogged and overflowing commode. He is also to thank for explaining how to turn of the water to stop the geyser. Good information to have for the next time we have a bathroom disaster.
Life Lesson #2: Sick kids always think they can make it to a trashcan; sick kids are always wrong. This one is a little gross, but definitely an important part of Kamp life. One of our sweet Kampers was super dehydrated and felt bad all morning. The nurse told her to sit in the shade and drink water. Unfortunately, the hydration process did not happen quickly enough and it wasn’t long before we saw all of her breakfast. After carrying her to a trash can, holding back hair, carrying her to the next trashcan, holding back hair again, and then finally getting her to the nurses trashcan, I had the pleasure of hosing down the pool deck. It could have (and has been) much worse, but cleaning up someone else’s breakfast is never fun. I guess my mom cleaned up plenty of my messes and God sure cleans up after us all the time, right?
Life Lesson #3: Kids need lots of practice putting in contacts. On this issue, I can speak from first hand experience. I practiced for weeks until I finally got the hang of poking something into my wide-open eyeball. One of our girls went to the doctor and got contacts for the first time THREE DAYS before Kamp. Lucky for her, she has a counselor who has worn contacts almost every day since the fourth grade. So for the last two weeks, I have been putting in eight year olds contact lenses because she insists on wearing them. I know she’ll have to learn how to put them in on her own, but our rustic (for lack of a better term) bathroom is not the place to practice!
Life Lesson #4: Speaking of things kids need to practice—cleaning. Other than cleaning up bodily fluids, I have picked up more socks, wet swimsuits, scraps of paper, wikki sticks, zip lock bags, ribbon, beads, envelopes, crazy creek chairs, friendship bracelet string, waterbottles, and shoes than you can possibly imagine! Who knew kids needed so much stuff for two weeks at kamp!? Clutter has an entirely new meaning when you live with eleven eight year olds for fourteen days. We clean Barn 3 every morning, but somehow by bedtime every night it is absolutely destroyed again. Teaching girls how to sweep, mop, clean toilets, and windex, is such a challenge. Clean in their eyes is not clean in the eyes of an adult. My co-counselors and I have to go behind them almost every day and finish their jobs, but hopefully their leaning at least a little bit about cleaning up after themselves..?
Life Lesson #5: It’s easy than I thought to differentiate between real tears and fake tears. I never understood how Dawn could tell if we were faking it or not, I thought I was such a great actress! Now I understand.
Life Lesson #6: Learning how to French braid makes you a SUPERSTAR. These curly locks haven’t seen many French braids, but this summer I am learning the art of the French braid. Its taken some time, and I’m not ready for pig tails yet, but I have mastered the cute little side thing that goes up into a ponytail and my sweet co, Lauren, is being so patient in teaching me! The girls will sit for hours waiting on you to finish as long as the end result is something resembling a braid. Maybe if I have a daughter one day she won’t have to be as patient as my Kampers!
Life Lesson #7: Sometimes we have to do nasty gross things to please the kiddos (this goes along with Lesson #2). On Sunday Funday, after the toilet episode, we set up different water stations on the lower fields for the girls to rotate through. Rather than walking to different stations with my girls, I was assigned to the “greasy watermelon” station. Tara and I had the joy of covering a watermelon with Crisco and having the girls in the slough throw it around and try to catch it before it splashed water all over them. We used our hands to coat the watermelon with Crisco, word to the wise—Crisco does not come off of your hands easily. Two days later I found some underneath my ring—sick nasty, I know. In the midst of the first rotation, a few girls found a dead fish floating in the water. It took literally 2.5 seconds before the water was evacuated and the girls were standing on the shore and screaming about the fish. So what did I do? I waded into the water, picked up the fish by the tail, and set it on the grass so it wasn’t in the water. Yep, I did. It wasn’t worth listening to them scream or miss out on the activity so I just sucked it up and touched that smelly, gross, dead, slimy thing.
These life lessons have been accompanied by so many more.
At Kamp, patience is key, patience with kampers, other counselors, and with myself. It is so frustrating to repeat myself for what seems like the 1000th time. Sometimes I don’t understand why my girls won’t put on their swimsuits and waders the first, second, or even fifth time I say it. But the more I think about it, aren’t all children the same? When we’re young we don’t listen. Our parents have to tell us a million times not to speed, but when do we stop speeding? When we get a ticket that costs us $250. When do my kids finally put on their swimsuits and waders? When they realize they’ll have to sit out of the pool and miss the fun. Isn’t our relationship with The Lord the exact same way?
We are commanded time and time again to obey our Father, and regardless of our efforts, we are never completely successful. Rather than giving up on our imperfections, God forgives us and gives us a second chance, and a third chance, and a fourth chance…and on and on and on. He gently reminds us that we are his beautiful creation and that He will love us no matter what we do wrong. His patience goes beyond our imaginations. Crazy to think He will forgive me no matter how many mistakes I make.
Being a counselor at K-Kountry has without a doubt been one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life. I have learned so much and been blessed to spend my summer around Godly men and women who love investing in kids lives. But ultimately God our Father is the one working. He is moving through Kanakuk and working in the hearts of children from across the country (or Kountry). As counselors we may be called to do some really disgusting things, but if one life is changed it is all completely worth it. Every bad day, krazy party, cheer, canoe trip, homesick kid, and memory—its all for The Kingdom. I cannot believe I have the opportunity to spend four weeks living on the K-Kountryside, the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
This is my new favorite verse from a former camp counselor:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16