Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work on Crew!

So, granted, I am loyal to two dear summer camp programs. Pleasant Vineyard in SW Ohio is where I spent 3 blessed summers. I began as an unschooled young'un of 19, counseling my first summer away from home (the longest I'd ever been out of Sturgis, as I was going to a community college and living with my parents the first 2 years of college.) And by the last summer, I led the Junior Staff program. God knows how deeply I love and miss that place. Ever since the first summer, I haven't gone longer than a handful of months before finding myself there again for some reason or another, whether it's helping out with a weekend program or just seeing some of the friends who live nearby while taking time to walk the trails prayerfully. Both for people who have walked them in the decades before me and for the ones who will walk it in the years to come.

My second camp is actually a camp and conference center, Cedar Campus, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I spent the last 2 summers there and the seasons between them too. Still not quite sure where I've spent the most time, if I were to count all the days at both Cedar and PVM. It was at Cedar where I began not quite as a newbie, as I'd already put in 3 summers as camp staff, but a newbie to the area. At Cedar (as opposed to PVM), I was an adult although one of the youngest on staff. I had my BS in English and was fresh off the plane from 6 months in China. This made me appreciate the international crew and guests so much more, as I had had a taste of what it was like to be a stranger in a foreign land. There was also the added plus of rubbing elbows with InterVarsity staff from all over the midwest, many of whom I had met through involvement in CMU's chapter.

At both places I have been brought to both temporary and long-term meaningful friendships, and greatly increased my EQ (ala Susan Vaal, that's Emotional Quotient). Before working at a summer camp, I had always thought it would be amazing work. You get to be outside all summer (when it's not raining, anyway), you get to do great and fun things with kids (and some tough things, but still good), you become more fit because you're playing with kids, it looks great on a resume, and you probably make some incredible friends along the way.

Now, it's true, the types of camps I have worked at aren't the ones you go to in order to make a lot of money, and I worked my way through college with loans, some of the money from camp staffing, and employment while at school; but even though it's cliche, the experience working at a camp and giving of yourself for others is priceless.

Consider summer camp staff!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It still gets me

Somehow, I don't know why I just don't get it through my head.

A couple weeks ago I was filling out the forms to substitute teach in the state of Michigan, and in several parts of the application, it clearly stated that you must have all these materials and extra paperwork filled out and present with you when attending the orientation session. If not, you can't be signed up to substitute teach and your application will not be considered. So of course like a good rule-follower and desirous of a position as I am I tried to cross the t's and dot the i's as required.

One thing I didn't do, though: I was supposed to get fingerprinted before going. And realized it late the night before orientation while re-reading the directions. But in one place it led me to believe that fingerprinting results are sent directly to the agency. So there's no form I must have with me at the session. So the morning of orientation, I woke early to drive to the sheriff's department. Because I'm slightly neurotic. Couldn't find it, though, since the meeting was in a another county and I was running out of time. So I went to the meeting hoping it would be alright anyway, and that they wouldn't say I couldn't go to the meeting and have to wait another month till next month's orientation session.

Out of six attending new substitutes, who do you think was the only one able to turn in their paperwork? Yes, you guessed it. Here I was freaking out about not having done everything right, and the other five had more undone than me! I really should lower my expectations of myself, I suppose. Oh, and no one else had been fingerprinted either.

So many times I have gone into a situation thinking I don't have everything as required or needed to make a good impression. I should have more self-confidence than that! Because again and again, it just so turns out I have been more conscientious than others. I have paid more attention to details. I have been a perfectionist. But is it still a perfectionist when you see there are many things you have let slide in the spirit of just getting it done because time was of the essence? I really do not think that's perfectionism or detail-orientation.

What do you think?


Saturday, February 14, 2009

There and back...

The edge of the world!

I've been to kingdom come and survived.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My next project

I'm going to do it, finally. All these years of reading books and seeing noteworthy lines, my brain has been telling me I should write these down. Yes, it's true I write them down sometimes; but that's really only every 20 books or so. It helps that lately I have taken in some great literature and am therefore urged more strongly to put the plan into action.

So I'll be writing them down here in blogger as a way of also sharing them and dialoguing with you fine folk about some of my favorite lines.
To begin, I'm sending those interested on a hunt. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has my favorite line on page 211. It begins with a D. But really, people, you have no idea what the lines are trying to convey unless you've read at very least the 10 pages before it as well. Preferably the whole thing. Often in a book, a line can be drawn out of context and you still can take away meaning from it. In this case, I don't think so. But if you've read it or are reading it, I love this line because the anger, frustration, and inability to do anything to change the situation are fully felt there. It's exactly what I would have done, and Juliet's words are my words; the book draws you in that well!

Secondly, I'm reading Rabbit, Run which Jamie, I really think is going to depress me. At least there's good imagery and description. At one point, Updike likens a couple's held hands as they rush to their car to a starfish jumping! But the book feels similarly to Native Son, with Rabbit just having this sense of not fitting in. I still have trouble believing that people therefore feel subconsciously licensed to do idiotic things when they're already in a precarious position. But what can I say, I'm only 40 pages in. The line I like, though, is a moment which stops the book and is one of those times you can take the line out of context safely. In fact I'm certain Updike meant for this to be so. It's page 28 of my first edition, where the elderly gas attendant with some whisky on his breath says, "The only way to get somewhere, you know, is to figure out where you're going before you get there." That line just screams, take me out and put me in your brain! doesn't it? :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Granddad always said

It's easier to get a job if you have a job.