Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rewind: Summer Camp

The week of August 13 thru 17 is a blur.  Every morning, we woke up early and headed out to Lucketts for Girl Scout Day Camp.  Daphne was a camper, and I was a volunteer in the Arts and Crafts center.  It was the first Girl Scout Camp experience for both of us, and I'm happy to say it was a (mostly) amazing one.

Daphne and "Spirit."
Daphne started each day arriving early with me, so she was considered a "super camper."  Super campers get special privileges, like donuts in the morning and popsicles in the afternoon.  After her daily donut, she headed to the flag circle to meet up with her group of 20 Daisies for morning flag ceremony and announcements before heading off to various activities.

Waiting for Morning Flag
She got to visit me in arts and crafts, she got to go fishing, hiking, letter-boxing, and swimming, she got to try tie-dying, stencil painting t-shirts, leather working, and gimp (braiding plastic strips into bracelets, key-chains, etc), she got to learn sign language, songs, and dances, and she got to cook on a camp fire. And she got to meet a lot of great people. 

Foam and Pipe Cleaners...Sigh

On the last day, the girls traded SWAPS and signed each others' t-shirts, and I was lucky to be able to watch from the window above and get a few pictures.

I also got to take a break and go down to the pool to watch Daphne's group's "regatta" on the last day.  But more on that later.

Eyes on the Prize
Daphne was pretty sad when camp was over.  I had to practically drag her off the premises.  At the end of the day, I joined her at super camp for one last popsicle, and we took one last little walk in the woods:

Happy Camper

Daphne said she wished camp was 15 weeks long instead of one.  I'd say that means she had a pretty great time.

My experience was slightly less amazing, as working in Arts and Crafts was not exactly what I was hoping for.  The main problem was one difficult person on our crew, who was very negative and cranky, and who screamed at the girls.  Screamed.  At the girls.  At Girl Scout Camp.  It was pretty horrible and upsetting.

Also, I was disappointed that our team did not get together prior to camp to do any kind of planning, so I had no input in the crafts that were chosen or how they were organized.  The Screamer planned everything in advance, without the rest of us.  And I have to say, I was not impressed.  Most of the crafts were things made of foam sheets and pipe cleaners.  Somehow, I expected something  I mean, it's GIRL SCOUTS.  Girl Scouts existed long before foam sheets and pipe cleaners.  I thought it was a real cop-out.  And as it turned out, one of the crafts was exactly the same as one they did last year.  Ugh.  Almost everything Daphne made in arts and crafts is going to end up in our trash, and then eventually in a landfill where it will never ever biodegrade because it is made from foam sheets and pipe cleaners.  It could have been SO much better.  Girl Scout camp crafts should be keepsakes, not throw-aways.  I have so many ideas.  Maybe next year.

The one craft that WAS cool, was thrust upon our crew by one of the camp directors, much to the dismay of the Screamer, because it actually required some effort.  The girls each got to paint a wooden regatta boat, which they would race in the pool on the last day.  We actually had to set up paint tables (the horror!).  There was a lot of stomping and muttering under her breath by the Screamer, but this was a great project that the girls enjoyed and will probably actually keep.  Unfortunately, this project was also poorly planned, as no one bothered to open the kits prior to camp to notice that we were going to need to carve grooves into the bottoms of the boats to attach the rudders to the bottom.  There was quite a scramble, some tense moments, and some minor incidents involving super-glue, but we got it done.  Unfortunately, most of the boats capsized immediately upon entering the pool, but the girls didn't seem to mind.

Look Ma!  No Foam!
In spite of the less than ideal experience in arts and crafts, I am still so happy that I was able to volunteer and be part of such a fantastic camp.  All of the other volunteers were great, and it was really special for the girls.  And for me to be able to watch Daphne from the window and see her making new friends and playing and smiling and participating so full-throttle was awesome...something I will never forget.  Plus, I got to make my OWN tie-dye shirt!  Which I LOVE!

I am so ready to start my own summer camp for adults.  I just need a financial backer.  Who's in? to do something with this day.  The house isn't going to clean itself.  Pictures and tales from the lake coming soon!


Gye Greene said...

The screamer: Some people just gots problems.

Boats flopping over: in Cub Scouts we had a boat race thingy like that. One guy (or maybe his mom or dad) had the clever idea of sawing the hull in half, the long way, then joining it with dowels. Like outriggers. Very stable.

But someone would have to plan ahead and bring a drill, and the right sized dowels. And a little saw.


Gye Greene said...

Oh, also: "Things you would keep" -- totally. At Boy Scout camp, I made a little leather coin purse from a kit. Had a main compartment, a front compartment, and was whip-stitched together around the edges.

Used it for a few years until I started carrying guitar picks and things in with my coins. But I do still have it. :)