When I was a kid, I loved attending the very camp I'm now helping run. I remember getting all excited as I packed my duffel bag and made sure I had batteries for my camera. I would pick out a special notebook or journal to take to record all the great things I was about to experience and learn and all the people I was about to meet. I even remember being so excited for camp that I would have trouble sleeping the night before we packed up into our 18 passenger van and begin the drive to whatever location we were traveling toward for the week.
Now that I help run the whole thing I find myself wondering how in the blazes I got a weeks worth of clothing into a small duffel bag, how I ever slept on the floor with just a sleeping bag, why I never thought to buy rechargeable batteries rather than lug around a bunch of AA's, and I'm having trouble sleeping because the nightmares about everything going wrong are starting to pop up.
For those that don't know, the camp we run is based on poverty and disaster relief. This year we're in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with PA being a new location for us (which brings it's own lovely nightmares 'cause everything's new). While I've been working with this group for close to 16 years either as a camper or a volunteer, actually running camp is a whole new adventure.
First off, holy paperwork Batman.
There's a file for EVERYTHING. And there's all these bases we have to cover and all these forms we have to fill out even though most everything is already on file. There's lots of systems in place that aren't really functioning properly anymore and should probably be axed. We've got probably a dozen different things going on every day with several groups attending each week.
Second, we're going to California for a convention a week after we get done camp this year. So that's only making the whole experience that much more hectic due to all the stipulations of timing and plane flights and who's going where when. (FYI, we aren't a huge organization, so you would think it'd be easy to wrangle everyone. Spoiler alert: it's not).
Third, it's my first year helping to run the show. So not only am I learning the ropes as they get thrown at me, but we have a new location in the mix that brings its own challenges, and we have the conference to contend with.
Fourth, I spend my birthday at camp. Which honestly I'm not too bummed about. I mean, yeah, I had secretly hoped that my 30th would be a great birthday to spend with my best buds in upstate NY, but that'll have to wait for some other time. But because of the fact that I'm away, my family will ask what I'm doing and then when I tell them I'm in the thick of camp, they all kinda grimace and say, "Oooohhh....sorry about that."
I for one, plan to wear my light-up shoes and buy myself a Frosty from the Wendy's down the road.
T-Minus 15 days until I turn 30.