Ok… so lets try and see if I will actually be able to write a real post today. I mean, sounds hard so I’m not quite sure yet.
**Amendment – if you actually chose to read this I really apologize in advance because your eyeballs are probably going to start bleeding at some point because for some reason I made this like my senior thesis or something. I’m cool.
So for anyone who knew me in college, you may remember that I was somewhat involved in this little operation for like all of college. Camp Kesem ring any bells for anyone? I mean I probably at some point forced you to buy like 5 pig roast “toothpick holders” or go to Cheeburger Cheeburger for a profit share. Ok so maybe I was more than somewhat involved, I mean whatever, maybe it took over my entire life for a while, no big deal.
In all honesty though Kesem was a really important part of my college experience. And yeah, we ALL worked really hard. And maybe there were some really late night venting sessions or breaking into churches late at night to make copies for free. I said MAYBE guys. And yeah, ok, so Flo Rida was kind of a diva and casually arrived roughly 6 hours late. So yeah, it was stressful. And a lot of work. But for that one week of camp, the week before school started in August. None of that crap mattered. Because seeing every one of those kids and the families was so worth it. True, camp never necessarily ran completely according to plan and nothing was perfect, and yeah I did momentarily lose it sometimes when a certain camper would talk for hours about how unfair it was that she didn’t have her homemade monofin with her at camp. Or my first year when a small child decided it was a good idea to try and cut her feet off in a air vent. (For the record, she didn’t, we intervened… None of that nonsense on my watch!) But truly honestly it did not matter at all. It didn’t matter that we were running on Redbull and singing Tarzan until we lost our voices. Because giving kids the chance to just be kids, and not worry about the scary “C” word that had brought them all there.
So obviously when I graduated college, I really felt like a part of me had been lost. I wanted to still be involved but I didn’t really know how since there aren’t any camps in my area at all. I had thought about being a Camp Advisor before but at that point in my life I was in no way capable of doing that. I actually remember that summer, the year after I graduated, feeling so upset and lost and angry the day that camp started. I wanted to be there!!! Because apparently the world just can’t go on without me? Get it together Kelly.
So whatever, that was sad. Eventually I had bigger problems to deal with and so I wasn’t so obsessed with what CKUR was doing. Still in the back of my mind though I was thinking about being a camp advisor. So in a moment of pure insanity I applied. Just because, I mean really why not? Worst they can do is say no. Short story, I got a position as an advisor for a camp in Michigan which I was pretty excited about because I have never been to the midwest and like for some reason there are a plethora of “Come Visit Michigan” commercials on TV and they made it look so beautiful even though I was fairly confused as to why they needed to advertise to us so much.
Immediately after I was so incredibly excited and like “OMG IM GOING BACK TO CAMP BEST DAY EVER” things quickly shifted to the classic Gob quote from Arrested Development, “I’ve made a huge mistake.” But even though I would have classified myself in the absolutely terrified category, I was still excited. Because I remembered how like somehow when those kids are there, nothing else matters.
So I flew to Michigan. Learned many things on the way… for instance, Chicago is like 5 minutes away. I had no idea. But I’m not great with geography, no offense to my fifth grade social studies teacher but that Pigskin geography stuff didn’t seem to stick with me. I found out that apparently, ok fine this is more conjecture, that the airport I flew into was probably someone who had a large backyard and in like 1974 was like, yeah. I’ll let planes land here. I’ll just mention that when I flew back home from that airport, at like 10am I was the first person in the airport that didn’t work there. I had to actually like call someone over from their conversation and tell them I wanted to go through security now so could, like, maybe someone let me do that? And finally, an hour before my plane was scheduled to leave that day, I kid you not, I was LITERALLY the ONLY person at the gate. At one point I was fairly sure I was going to get murdered. But I mean obviously that all worked itself out so its totally fine. Everyone else apparently just were smarter than me and knew that like no one ever is airport and came at the last possible second. Well now I know.
Anyway so yeah got to camp. The kids weren’t coming for a couple days as we finished up training. And I have to say, at first things were not at all even a little bit close to my fairytale fantasy land that I envisioned. Times were tough man. But it was pretty! The commercials didn’t lie! But then the kids came. Which was awesome. Time for camp mode, which means camp names and all. Surprise surprise my camp name is Luna so I spent the next week convincing most of the younger campers that I was the real Luna Lovegood and that Harry Potter was my best friend and that yeah, I was a Hogwarts alum. So that kind of made me really happy because that’s like my dream life anyway haha. such a nerrrrrddddd oh my god. All the campers were so great, they were adorable and funny and talented and super loved all the songs and were so amazing. I mean we did have the incident with the child confronting me about my lack of eyebrows and that was a sad time in my life, but it was ok. Even though I didn’t know these kids, I didn’t know their stories. I didn’t know who was related to who and what their family situations were. And that was kind of weird, but also kind of cool. By the end of the week, it was weird but like I actually was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to follow up with these kids, see them at reunions or next year at camp. Crazy how that can happen in such a short period of time. The point to literally the longest thing I’ve ever written post college is that going back to camp was one of the hardest things I ever did, but also something I can never regret. It completely reaffirmed that I want to work with kids and families, that I will actually survive uncomfortable and terrifying situations, and that I really need to get back to volunteering more. Because I love it so much. And you can see how much the smallest thing can be so important to someone else.
Other truly random things I discovered whilst on my journey:
1. Someone really should have given me a heads up that Michigan is actually the coldest place on this earth. Like it was 40 degrees in the morning. Really glad I didn’t bring any pants or sweatshirts or anything warm at all.
2. There is this magical place in Michigan that is like a Target but apparently better? And they like love it. I was kind of sad I never got to go to one. They have everything! All I know for fact is that their brand of fake oreos were pretty darn amazing.
3. Apparently there is a sport/game/something called Gaga Ball. Is this like a real thing to other people? I mean it looked fun and everything but I have NEVER in my life heard of that. So is that a thing? Anyone?
4. I am still not entirely sure what timezone I was in the entire time I was there. Like I thought the whole time I was that I was an hour behind, on Central time because Chicago is and Michigan is further away than Chicago. So I thought that’s just how things were. But then, there were these questionable time things that like didn’t feel possible if they were an hour behind. And then when I got picked up, my parents were like we were so confused when you texted us at 2 because we thought you were an hour behind. And I was like… was I not? So I really don’t know what the heck the situation is. And I need to look it up but I keep forgetting. Or if someone could just tell me is Michigan an hour behind or not? Because I feel kind of like I was maybe in some sort of weird time warp type situation.
Literally longest thing ever written. My bad. That was not my intention! I swear!