Now that I have my laptop down on camp, I can continue to post to my blog. This might be a long post because a lot has happened. Last week, I was doing Peddle Paddle, which is 2 days biking on the Elroy Sparta bike trail and 2 days canoing down the Kickapoo river. On the first day of biking, I told the campers that the holy grail of the peddle paddle program was to bike the entire Elroy Sparta trail, so of course the campers wanted to do it. That meant that we had to do 40 miles round trip to Sparta the first day and 30 miles round trip to Elroy the next day. On the way to Sparta, we ate lunch to late, so one of the campers was bonking really hard, but he still wanted to keep going. After lunch everybody perked up, so we made it. On the way back, we had some campers get dehydrated (their fault, we kept telling them to drink water). The trip to Elroy went a lot better because we made sure they got more food and they realized the importance of water and would chug water whenever we gave them a chance. Over all, it was a pretty brutal 2 days, but I'm really impressed that the campers made it, and that they were so determined to do it.
One of the cool things about the Elroy Sparta trail is that it is an old railroad bed and there are some really long tunnels on it. One tunnel is .75 miles with no lighting, so we had to bring flashlights and walk through the tunnels.
The tunnels actually made it really nice because it was cold in the tunnels so it was kind of like taking an air conditioned break from the ride. Coming out of the tunnel at the end looked really neat because where the cold air from the tunnel met the warm humid air outside, it would get really foggy.
After the biking, we had 2 days of canoing down the Kickapoo river, which was also an adventure because there were still a lot of trees down into the river from the floods earlier this year. In some places, we even had to get out and pull our canoes over trees. By the end of the 2 days canoing, I am actually really sore. We were canoing for 4-5 hours each day. The scenery totally made up for the work though. There are a lot a places where cliffs rise directly out of the river. I was looking at a lot of them and thinking how much fun it would be to go rock climbing up them because the water is always deep at those places, so you could free climb and the water would save you in a fall. There was a cliff directly across the river from our camp site, so I got to try climbing, but there was a lot of moss on the rock and not many holds in that spot, so I didn't make it very far out of the water.
When I got back to camp, I discovered that my birthday had completely come and gone without me even realizing it. The other counselors gave me a hard time about forgetting it and then decided to make up for it by making me a cake and giving it to me before the staff meeting in front of the entire staff. To keep with tradition, I made sure to take a picture with the cake, just like Mom would when I was younger.
One really cool thing that we did with the campers this week was to give them personal devotions time to read their bibles. We only had time to do it twice, for 30 minutes each time, but in my opinion, it was the most important thing we did all week. More important than the bible studies or the worship times. The first time that we did it, the campers were a little unsettled and didn't really know what to do, but the second time, they were really excited. I talked to some of the campers about it and they told me that this was the first time they have actually sat down and read the bible. In my opinion, it is an extremely important thing to do, especially for these 9th graders and they are sorting out who they really are and what they really believe. I hope that they continue to read their bibles now that they are home.
The week before last, I was working with the SITs (Staff In Training) which is the most amazing group of campers I have had so far. They just have so much maturity and depth to them. Sometimes when I was working with them, I would forget that they were still highschoolers. In fact they where so amazing that they each deserve to have a picture on here.
Devi "Sugar Cube"
It is really good that I had such amazing campers that week because I was really sick and they were the only thing that kept me going. The Saturday before they came, I was really tired and achy so I ended up going to bed at 8:00. Sunday morning when I woke up I still wasn't feeling real great and when I went to the bathroom I got really dizzy and almost passed out. I ended up sleeping for the rest of the day except for 4 hours in the evening, so I didn't get to greet my SITs or spend the first night with them. Monday morning, I still wasn't feeling great but decided to go for it anyways, so I met my SITs then. By the end of the day, I was feeling worse and had a really stiff, sore neck and back and a headache. I was thinking about going to bed early and asking my co-counselor to do devos, but we were planning on telling faith stories that night and I didn't want to miss it. So I took 2 tylenol and 3 advil (yay for mixing drugs) and had to lay down for part of devos, but it was totally worth it. There was so much depth and maturity in each of the campers stories. I got progressively better over the week, but it wasn't until Thursday that I could actually make it through a day without taking some kind of painkillers.
The reason I bring up my SITs is because this last week (while I was out on Peddle Paddle) they were back on camp shadowing counselors. When I got back to camp, I got to see them all again and I remembered just how much I like them and how happy I was to see them again.