Got a letter from the Girl Scout council asking me to think about being a camp counselor this summer. I didn't realize I could still apply for it this late in the spring! The request makes sense, though, considering that I'm considered to be a council volunteer/Adult Girl Scout by virtue of being in Campus Girl Scouts, and also considering how strongly Indigo, Rainbow, and others have been urging me to apply—there's apparently a big counselor shortage these days.
Sigh. I've been walking around for a few days now in a state of nature-appreciating, camp-missing melancholy/euphoria. I even requested a couple of books from the library related to camp and Girl Scouting...and dug up the portion of my CIT notebook that I have here...and looked for camp people online.
It's occurred to me that a lot of the collections I've been building over the years, including my CD collection, my T-shirt collection, my collection of dress-up clothes, etc., the desire for which I attributed to the intricacies of being an older sister and questing for gnosis in an earlier post, may actually have taken shape during CIT I, when I realized that wearing flashy, distinctive mixtures of clothing was a great way to get campers' attention and keep them interested in what I had to say. My desire for a good sturdy mountain bike also stemmed from camp, when I had a crummy racing bike, which really didn't work well with the gravel on the roads to Manor House, Skyview, Kiamecia, and The Glen. Part of creating my own website, too, was camp-related—I wanted to create a repository of camp songs and CIT notebook observations. (I still want to do that!) As much as I credit MSA with changing my life, camp did, too, to a great extent. My current enduring love of spontaneity and spectacle, for instance, are definitely things that I picked up at camp and nurtured through subsequent summers.
Even with all that I've done over the course of the past five years, I've still considered going back to camp every summer. I really do want to go back, just like I still want to be an RA at MSA—and perhaps there's still time enough to do both. This summer is out, but perhaps the next two summers could be devoted to camp, with the summers during grad school devoted to MSA. There's a thought. I wonder whether returning to camp and/or RAing at MSA could provide that next MSA-style revelation I've been theorizing is necessary to pull me through things...
I worry, though, about being able to pull myself away from the flow of technology and online responsibilities. Can I, at this point, go without technology for a summer? I'd pretty much have to shut down my email account and blog for the summer. My Jablog moderating duties would be impossible to fulfill. (Though by the time I'd actually be able to go back to camp in another year or so, perhaps the order of things here at Jablog will have changed, too, such that I'm not the only person qualified to answer a lot of the questions we get.) I wonder if I would need to keep the same camp name, "Koi," that I had during CIT I. So many campers can't spell it right...though I do like the name.
Possible solutions to a few of the above problems, I suppose, include keeping a "camp journal" that I could blog later; maintaining correspondence via letters, rather than email; and actually picking up a phone every once in a while. My "24s" (24-hour days off) could be strategically planned so I could actually see people at least once or twice in the summer—which, as things are now, is really about all I've come to expect in a given summer. I also worry, though, that I'm just too out of shape for camp—would I be able to make it through demanding 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. days or keep up with campers?
One of the great things about camp, though, is that while things you do there matter, there's also lots of room for flamboyant silliness. As far as things mattering goes, I remember situations during my month as a CIT where counselors attending to things in a timely manner kept disasters from occurring. When you're a counselor, you matter to the dozens of girls you come in contact with in the dining hall and in the unit. You also have to document everything and make sure you haven't left anyone behind or missed subtle interactions between girls. Such responsibility and autonomy as a counselor can be rather frightening and overwhelming—hence why counselors come to value their "personal time" so much, because such time alone is necessary to stay sane and functional. (Heh...perhaps I should apply more things I learned at camp to my existence here at the university, neh? That last one there is one I've been forced to relearn the hard way.) Such responsibility, though, makes it better when you get to be silly and use your marching-band voice singing songs at the top of your lungs...or get to make snow cones...or go swimming...or draw silly pictures...or ride horses...or braid hair...or lead long lines of campers around...or head/foot tables...or run haunted houses...or put on a skits, etc. Those are the good times...
Edit: In more recent news, Jason and Erin may be making me a talking pony (Schizo!Pony?), which will say things like, "Come, Margaret, play with me!" "I WANT TO KILL THOSE WHO PARTY LATE AT NIGHT ON THE FOURTH FLOOR!" and "Here, kitty kitty..."
MD (07:39:17 PM): It might be Erin's old Bride Pony. With a new paint job.
MD (07:39:23 PM): And solder.
Need I mention that this rocks quite a bit? The engineer, on the other hand, thinks the pony should say more pony-like things, like "I want to eat some grass. I am a pony." I think it's pretty hilarious either way.