Friday, June 15, 2012

"We're writing a book called Tales from the Tippy, but just the chapter titles."

Thursday morning the CILTs took a field trip up the hill and through the woods to Lake Village.

In transit we found friends like Maggie at chapel and cool things like giant stumps in the woods.

One we were at The Leadership Center we broke the CILTs up into three different groups to attempt to master Pipe Line. Each person holds a piece of pipe and when they all line up together they can make a ramp for a marble to roll down. The tricky part is making the ramp longer so it will reach the tin can on the ground a distance away.

It's interesting for us counselors to observe the different group dynamics. Who will step up? Who listens to other's ideas? Who creates a culture of positivity?

Next two groups had to figure out a group initiative called Keypad. We saw more people keeping in mind the idea, "a leader is someone who helps others be successful" this time around. I saw people being intentional about helping others and keeping their voice calm even when others were getting stressed. So many kids in this group are natural leaders, they just have to figure out how to all lead and be successful together.

Different parts of personalities emerge during activities like this, compared to swimming at the lake or doing cheers at lunch. I love that because CILTs do so many different things while they're here at camp, we get a clearer picture of who they are, what they're comfortable with, and where their strengths lie.

Our last problem solving activity brought us to the giant 12 foot wall. The goal is for everyone to get up and over the wall using their three lifts from the bottom and three assists from the top. The first person has to reach the top by themself and the last person gets no boost from the ground.

Because all 40 CILTs are working together here, it's easy to get caught up in the pressure of time or need to be heard and not work as a team. But this session stayed focused on supporting one another, both physically and emotionally, and got everyone over. I don't think I've ever seen a group complete this task so well as a unified team. For the majority of the time, we all had smiles on our faces and a chorus of cheers erupted every time someone got over the top. We all went went crazy when Joe finally jumped high enough to be the last one up. It was definitely an accomplishment to be proud of.

The CILT GIRLS banner got hung back up on the side of the Longhouse so Ellie and Olivia had to recreate a picture they took last summer. It was a dream for this pair to be here together as CILTs and now they're living it.

 2011                                             2012

All of the River kids hiked up for Lake Time in the afternoon. I love when I get to walk up with just a couple CILT girls, chatting the whole way.

I got to be partners with little Kieran again and we went off the rope swing and down the Wet Willy slides before joining the shallow end party.

Today was all about clay balls, mud facials, and chasing the boys in the water.

I don't remember ever going in the shallow end as a camper because we thought it was so gross, but now because the counselors and CILTs have made it cool, it's definitely one of the best spots to be.

I love that this is only the beginning. We have eight more weeks with this awesome group of counselors and hundreds of more kids. There have been adventures and heart-to-hearts and laughter already but there is so much more to come.

More afternoons of finding clay...

more kids that make us laugh...

more awesome moments with CILTs and their adopted campers.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on a mud hike with Eel River and Winnebago. We hiked out to the Wolve's Den and the Haven before ending up at Ghost Creek. The girls explored in the water looking for crawdads, minnows and waterbugs.

Two of the girls told me that this is their absolute favorite activity.

When I got back to River Village there was a dodgeball game going on so I dropped my backpack and jumped in. Last summer I think the CILT counselors played almost everyday, it was good to get back in the game.

We love spotting the CILTs doing great things with their campers.

Paityn and Katherine are doing a great job with their girls.  I loved hanging out with Meg this week, I'm so glad that she's a stayover.

Thursday night cookouts are one of my favorite dinners. The kids get so excited they get to have bug juice and watermelon and a cookie they almost can't handle it.

I love watching everyone hanging out-- Brave boys with jellyfish yo-yos, CILTs with bubble wands, counselors leading games, a crowd around four-square and the ga-ga pits, and Blazer girls with ice-cream sandwiches.

While we were working on our nursing home project we kept getting visits from the Day Camp counselors that were on a picture scavenger hunt. One task was to capture an endangered species... they found some Gingers in the wild.

The Day Camp counselors left but our photo-shoot continued...

because you can never have too many pictures at camp.

"Serenade the Day Camp staff" was next on the CILTs bucket list so we got practicing and selecting songs.

Which led to a porch dance party...

until we had to hike back up the TLC, hardcore parkouring along the way...

until we got to perform for all of the Day Camp staff.

It was so cool to have my old campers and current CILTs all in the same room. All of these kids are some of the coolest, most joyful and energetic, camp-obsessed people I know. It was awesome to see them all feeding off of each other's energy. The serenade was a success, impressive show choir faces from the performers, and then we added in their cheer as the grand finale.

We did the rock devotion when we got back to the Longhouse, it's one of my favorites. I love all ages of kids at camp but I have a special spot in my heart for these older girls and what they're going through right now in life. They each have their own story, but it's beautiful how they share with each other and have such a passion for growing deeper in their faith while they're at camp. They want their camp self, the best version of themself, to be who they are all year long.

I got to walk around camp with one of my girls and then sit in Main Field with another pair. It's these moments, these conversations that are the highlights of my days as a counselors and the moments I remember most.

Friday morning I got to eat some baked oatmeal and then watch the Wimmicks skit at chapel before saying good-bye. I'm in my friend Ruth's wedding this weekend in Northern Michigan so I have to miss a couple days at camp. I can't wait to hear their stories from the nursing home, closing campfire, saying good-bye to their first group of adopted campers, the stayover weekend and leading their own chapel on Sunday when I return. So much can happen in just a couple days at camp. I'm so thankful we've still got a whole other week together when I get back.

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