Wednesday, June 6, 2012

{Life}: Coming up for air.

Hello, long lost blog readers! Radio silence around here isn't the norm but there's a great reason - it's June and that means I'm at CAMP! I'm the co-director of Camp Gailor-Maxon so starting last week I've been up on Monteagle Mountain in Middle Tennessee running a month of summer camp. We're a little church, a little outdoors, and a lot of fun.

For the month of June I'll be hiking, swimming, singing, and laughing a lot, with some emails, spreadsheets, invoices, and leading interspersed. It is a full-year job of recruiting, publicizing, networking, hiring, planning, coordinating, and registering but it pays off when the kids show up.

Right now we're ending the staff training portion of the week so I'll share some pictures of what we've been up to so far:

Here's Beamer and Harley with me while I was packing to leave the night before. Beamer was still feeling lousy (actually, Jake reports he's still feeling bad now) and so he was lying around everywhere I'd go and just plop down so they kept me company as I did laundry.

I left at 5:30 in the morning last Friday and snapped this picture as I was driving (I promise I was being safe... it was just one click and done, I edited and instagrammed at a gas station). Got to watch the sun rise as I drove.

On the way I stopped and saw Elise, Luna, and Nate in Nashville. We had breakfast and chatted for a while. Elise just graduated with her Master's from Yale and is gainfully employed in Nashville. I'm so freaking excited for her and proud to call her my BFFL (best friend for life).

Driving into camp is always an emotional moment. Pulling off the interstate and seeing that road sign that says Monteagle is a special moment. It may be just a road sign but it is guiding me home.

(Side note: the free iphone app for the week this week is snapseed and I really love it - I edited the photo above and a few more throughout with it. It is hard to get used to but it allows you to fully edit in the app on your phone versus instagram which is just filters).

Dubose Conference Center in Monteagle is where CGM is and so the main building of the campus, Claiborne Hall, is synonymous to most of us with camp. I snapped this picture of Claiborne as I pulled up.

The first order of business was lunch - the chaplain for the month and I hit up Shenanigans on Sewanee's campus. It's one of my favorite places up here. Delicious food, chill environment.

That night the rest of the staff arrived and after unloading our night was spent in a massive jam session, singing and catching up. This was at one point when we sang "Come Thou Font" and Jillian busted out the cello.

Staff week has been filled with a lot of planning and teamwork. Here is my staff presenting their goals for the summer to the leadership team (co-director Cameron, Josh the chaplain, and myself).

 The weather up here has been gorgeous - 75 to 85 degrees and sunny. Here are the "boy cabins":

We've done lots of hikes while we've been training (doing run throughs to make sure we're prepared). The first full day we were here we did Foster Falls hike. Here we are at the bottom in the water hole:

And here's the staff (minus me) at the overlook:

Staff week is a lot of work but it is also silly and fun. Randomly one night we went to Sonic for half price milkshake hour. Here are some of the staff... just being themselves.

Brie dropped in one day to visit (and she'll be back! Yay!) and that was super fun. I love this shot of her leading an instruction session on music:

Another hike we went on was Morgan's Steep to the Cross on the Sewanee Domain.

The lifeguards led a session on pool safety. That was helpful.

We visited the Res on St. Andrew's-Sewanee campus. We take the older two camps swimming there. It has a floating dock and a place where you can jump in from rocks. It is quite beautiful.

We've been eating meals together in the dining hall and the food has been mostly good because we're not on the "camp meal plan" (read low-budget) yet.

The staff had CPR/First Aid training..

While they did that, I went to Wal-Mart. I made the mistake of going to my usual Wal-Mart, which happens to be the Manchester Wal-Mart. This would not be an issue except it was the day before Bonnaroo, so hippies were already stirring. It was quite the scene. Here's what programming and supplies for a month of camp looks like. The lady at the checkout was confused by my assortment of items - sheets (for making an altar cloth), mentos and diet coke (science experiment), sandpaper (sanding name tags), first aid materials, baby wipes (for the hike if someone cuts themselves), cake icing (in case someone goes into a diabetic shock), socks and globes (for sock and finger puppets), chips (for a game called Face the Chip), and more.

I snapped this picture of Claiborne on the way back to campus. I think it is my favorite yet.

Tuesday we went to Fiery Gizzard and did a simulated water rescue with the park rangers.

(don't worry - he isn't really hurt)

I took some pictures of campus when we got back from that hike. I like them...

Last night we went to the Cross to see the Transit of Venus. A professor had set up filtered telescopes so we could see it. It was very cool. Next one is 105 years away! I got to see Venus pass the Sun - it pretty much looked like a black dot on an orange circle but cool nonetheless.

After the astrology lesson, we went to Charles Houston's for a bbq dinner at his house. It was a lot of fun and I got to check out some of his art from a recent art show. I'm going to blog about all his art - he is so talented. I loved this piece, made from a salvaged authentic road sign.

We've been doing a lot of work planning - here's my system for coming up with family groups, one of the things I do. It isn't scientific, but it works.

Today we went down to a community called Sherwood. It was down the Mountain and we're going to be doing community service there.

The community has an abandoned limestone mine that was closed in the 1940's and now is overrun with kudzu. It was oddly beautiful.

And now some more shots of the campus, just cause.

It may be a few days, but I'll try to post another update while I'm here. Staying busy but lovin' life!

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