:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

dinsdag 27 juni 2006

I'm starting to get annoyed with this place. They have me, a certified lifeguard, driving the golf cart around for most of the day (to refill the water stations), the veteran counselors are getting overbearing, and the evenings programs are very shoddily run. The three girls who plan them are nice enough, but when I try to give suggestions about how things were done at Ton-A-Wandah (because a lot of the activities are the same), they all say, "Oh, that's a good idea," and then move on to something else and forget about it. Counselor hunt was a disaster tonight because of their idea that we could 're-hide' once we'd been found. How are you supposed to run away and secretly climb a tree or anything with 140 campers running around trying to find you? They also had the campers split up into way too many groups - over 20 - meaning that a counselor had to accompany each group, meaning half the staff couldn't hide. If they'd made bigger groups, say 8 or 10, most of the staff could have hidden and then we could all have hidden well and been found once, the way Ton-A-Wandah did it, instead of this ridiculous re-hiding business.

And a couple of the other counselors are really starting to piss me off. There's this one girl, Vicki, who's never worked at a camp before, and yet when I mentioned that one of my campers (Margaret, the new girl) was at the nurse, Vicki waved her hand and whispered in a know-it-all fashion, "She's just homesick."
"No, she was actually sick before she came, and just finished a course of antibiotics on Sunday. She's still got a terrible cough and a headache."
Vicki shook her head, with a half-smile and that annoying, I-know-better-than-you, I-still-don't-think-she's-really-sick look. Finally I just snapped, "You can believe what you want, but she is truly sick," and walked away to talk to someone else. What I really wanted to say is, "You know, I have five years of camp counselor experience, while you have two days' worth. I know when a child is faking it, and your being a second-year nursing student does not make you an authority on a camper of mine that you've never even met!" But, of course, I didn't say that. She sits at my table, so it's better not to get too deeply into it. However, the 'real' camp nurse (not Vicki, the student who pretends she's a full-fledged nurse but has never even heard of lupus, the autoimmune disease that my roomie Mel has) confirmed for me that Margaret really is still having problems with congestion, etc., so I was right. Margaret has been to other camps before, longer than this one; she's comfortable away from home, and she's made some good friends here already. If I wanted Vicki's opinion, which I didn't, I'd have asked.

And then there's "the other Jess". There are three at this camp - me, this other Jess (who's one of the three evening program planners), and Jesse, the baseball director (who is awfully cute... LOL). Anyway, "the other Jess" has been here three years, and, granted, she does know a lot about the camp and how it's run, but my hackles went up within ten seconds of meeting her. I place a lot of stock in pheromones and first impressions, and I knew from the first moment I met her that we were not going to get along. She hasn't really done anything outright mean, but we just don't click. And tonight, I was putting my last two girls to bed, including Jordan, a veteran camper who had just had candy from Snack Shack and was thus very hyper. And Jess walked right over me, saying, "Time for bed, Jordan, let's go," and hustling her along. Then, out of the side of her mouth, she said to me, "That's the one good thing; they do at least listen to me."

Excuse me?! The first thing that I wanted to say was, "Uh, they listen to me too!" but I realized how juvenile that would sound, so I kept my mouth shut. The fact is, Jordan is loud and easily excitable, sure, but she's been here before; she knows the drill, listens to the counselors, and follows instructions. It's not as if "the other Jess" has some magical power to make campers listen, just because she's been at this particular camp for longer than I have. And Jordan is my camper, not hers. All I had to do was look her (Jordan) in the eye and say, "It seriously is time for bed now," and she calmed right down and nodded at me (in a way that said, louder than any actual words, "I'm not really out of control; I know I have to go to sleep; I'm just just having fun stalling.") I understood, smiled and nodded back, ready to close the door. And again Jess came walking over me, "Okay, for real, Jordan, go to bed, let's get moving." She gently pushed her inside her room and closed the door.

At that moment, I had to walk away, because I was about to say something I would have regretted. It's better not to piss off the people in power. But if anything like that happens again, I need to find a concise way to say something like, "You know, you've been at this camp longer than I have, but I do have a ton of camp experience - actually more than you - and I know what I'm doing. I'd appreciate it if you'd let me handle my own girls instead of walking over me as if I'm incompetent. The girls need to respect all of us, not just you, so please don't try to do my job for me."

On the other hand, being in a dorm setting rather than separate cabins, things are just done differently here. Maybe it's perfectly normal to be telling girls other than your own assigned campers that they should go to bed. Maybe I'm the one with the problem. But like I said, my hackles went up about Jess on the first day of camp, and I didn't like what she did to me tonight, whether it's normal or not. Sigh.

I also haven't gotten particularly close to anyone here yet. Well, okay, my roommate Mel and I are fairly close, and I've gotten to know a couple of other people (Laura, John, Meghan...), and I like almost everyone aside from the aforementioned two girls, but it still seems like every time I start to get a little closer to someone or we start to talk a little more, that person then sort of pulls away and doesn't seek me out the way I do him/her. I've complained about this before when it comes to friendship - me having to make all the effort - and this has now happened three or four times already, with staff members of both sexes. I thought Mandy in particular would be a good friend, after we discovered that we'd swum in meets against each other's schools, but she seems to be cooling off towards me now. I'm really starting to wonder if I'm saying or doing something that makes people not want to be friends with me. But maybe I'm just paranoid.

To end on a good note, a few things I do like about this camp:

1) Counselors having separate rooms from campers
2) Having modern showers, toilets, and sinks right down the hall
3) The food
4) Being surrounded by athletes with similar mindsets
5) The Internet access
6) The athletic facilities, especially the access to weights and treadmills
7) The low camper-counselor ratio
8) Having other water sports besides just swimming and canoeing
9) Being in a blue state (awesome bumper stickers around here :))

And despite my complaining, my schedule is actually pretty easy:

A day: (1) riding, (2) off, (3) waterfront, (4) waterfront (boat), (5) golf cart
B day: (1) golf cart, (2) off, (3) golf cart, (4) waterfront (boat), (5) golf cart

So I take our ONE camper who takes riding class over to the beautiful neighboring Camp Laurel and read/kill time while she takes a lesson... I lug water coolers from place to place on the golf cart and refill water stations... and I ride along on the waterskiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding boats as the 'official lifeguard' while the kids (one by one, all in life jackets) take turns at the various activities. (I haven't had to teach swimming yet, but that might come tomorrow, in period 3A, depending on which of the lifeguards has that period off and which of them take the morning boat shifts.) So it's not hard at all. And yet... somehow I'm not thrilled to be slacking off. The bottom line is, I was hired to be a lifeguard and swim instructor, not golf cart driver and hurry-up-and-wait gal. I've told this to all the appropriate people, and they did at least get me on the waterfront for three periods (out of ten), but that's still pretty ridiculous. I don't hate the camp, not by a long shot, but one week has passed and I now have the answer to my internal question: I do not think I will be coming back next year.

Big, big sigh.


Blogger Robin said...

I don't like people enough to deal with them in a camp setting. You're a brave girl.
The other Jess sounds like a flaming bitch. I don't think the girls will respect her at all. RESENT her,possibly,but not respect her. Would you??

I would think the discipline thing would be like the unwritten mom code. If my child is misbehaving and I am present then I will handle her. If I am not there and you are there,then you can talk to her. You DO NOT overstep your boundaries and say one word to my child if I am there!! It should be the same way with campers!!

As for making friends,hmmmmm....I don't know what to tell you. My guess,if I may be so bold as to guess,is that people probably don't know what to make of you.
You are so good at many things. There are not a lot of people like you....well,not that I know of....lol.

Kids love you. I know that from your camping blog last year. You really care about these girls and I am sure it shows. I bet that can be intimidating for someone who isn't so secure. Making friends isn't very difficult when the friend you are trying to make is worth it.

Just be yourself and don't fret. People suck...you know that.
Be happy knowing you won't have to work there next year.

1/7/06 17:55  

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