Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Ok Miss Wright, Sean can be your sidekick and Henry will be the villain."

Top 10 Highs of the Day
1. So many people wore pink today because it's the 10th Anniversary of Mean Girls Release (and on Wednesdays we were pink).
2. KCraig came to my room today to start figuring out our first draft of girl cabins for YL and Wyld Life Camp. I love thinking about personalities and figuring all of it out and moving people around to see what will work best. Granted, things will probably shift and change by the time we go but it's fun to start planning.
3. My students are starting to write Super Hero stories and I get to be the hero in both Garrett and Henry's stories.
4. After school KCraig and I took Maddie on a date to Starbucks to talk about life and camp.
5. I went to Blue Mile, on Kriger's recommendation, to get a new pair of running shoes and socks to avoid getting blisters running. My new shoes are pretty sick.
6. Taylor Fischl and I had a dinner date at Chipotle--you can't beat the most delicious burritos on earth and one of the most positive people I've ever met.
7. I made a trip to Target and found a new hat for the summer (thanks @mshadid) and a surprise for my girls at Wyld Life Camp.
8. Lucy Dewolf, Julia's little sister, wrote about me in school and I got to read her essay. Oh my goodness--I felt so incredibly loved. Compliments from kids are one of the very coolest things.
9. I've been off my friendship bracelet game for a couple days but finally finished one today. 2048 has been sucking too much of my life, I think I may need to give it up.
10. I asked, "What should we add to the CILT Jar for 2014" in a couple group messages with CILT girls from last summer. They sent dozens of ideas and my phone was blowing up for a couple hours. It makes me so excited for camp.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Did you know the dotted lines in the middle of the road actually mean something?"

While on Spring Break, the Dewolf family always goes to eat crab one night. It's tradition for them and pretty big deal-- she was telling me about it while they were still in Siesta. I couldn't tell you the last time I ate crab so I told Julia she would have to take me once we were both back in Indy. 

Tonight was the night that Julia, Brooke and I went to Joe's Crab Shack to experience a lobster feast. Most people probably don't even realize that Indy has a Joe's Crab Shack, but it's there just off of 82nd St down the road from the Container Store.

We shared a steam pot, put on bibs, used the cracker-thing-a-ma-jig, and got our hands quite buttery. Julia was the expert--she even knew how to make the pincher's move. Brooke was terrified of all seafood at first, but by the end of the meal we had her eating crab and shrimp.

The girls wanted to dessert so I suggested Huddles. Neither of them had ever been there so that cemented the fact that we needed to go. I used to be a weekly visitor with Molly Henry back in the day, but haven't been there in months. I secretly texted Odle to meet us there and she surprised the girls ten minutes later. Julia had just been talking about how she really wanted to meet her.

Odle and Brookie are low key best friends in the halls at the Cathedral. They're the kind of friends that wave over crowds of people and occasionally talk.

Oh la la Olivia, aka Turtle, aka Odle is a rock star and I'm thankful that I've gotten to see her so much this year. She and I are totally different in a lot of ways but we're still big fans of one another.

We had to made one more quick pit stop before heading back to Fishers when we saw this statue in a field. These girls are both into spontaneity and climbing and whimsy and fun.


Being a Young Life leader allows me to see beauty all over the place that I might miss otherwise. I see Christ's love in the friendship between these two girls. I see his creativity and optimism in Brooke. I see his compassion and loyalty in Julia. They're teaching me too as we walk through life together. 

Today Julia told me about one of her teachers who was complaining about being an adult and said that it was way worse than being in High School. She asked him, "Well have you ever met someone who really likes being an adult?" because she knows how much I love it. He gave her a look and said, "Do you really think adults go around talking about how much they like being an adult?" Little does he know that I actually do have that conversation with people.

We get to create the world we're living in right? No matter what age you are, you get to choose what drives you, who you surround yourself with, what fills your time and your attitude. You're in control of your own life. I want to always be living my life to the full and believe that the best is yet to come.

Monday, April 28, 2014

"After reading these I don't think anything could wipe the smile off my face. People just rock." Love Tanks

When we first did Love Tanks at Young Life I thought it would be the only time. But the kids who came kept asking when we would get to do it again. The ones who missed really wanted the opportunity to do it too. Because of their enthusiasm, Love Tanks have become a staple here and an end of the semester tradition.

I was especially excited to see all of my girls tonight--the freshmen crowd, a whole mix of sophomores and a great representation of the upperclassman. I love these kids.

Kids came tonight in anticipation of getting to write Love Tanks and they were pumped. We had posted it on Instagram and texted our kids about it. Then today they showed up. From the friends we haven't seen in a long time to the every-single-week kids and everyone in between. It was good to all be together.

I love watching the connections that form between leaders and kids in this space. Newer leaders like Jackie, Abby, Connor and Lisa who are all diving in and showing up week after week. Sean, who has been gone for week, was able to come tonight and the kids were thrilled. We love all of these leaders.

It's crazy that we only have about a month left of Young Life this school year. Only a month left of gathering in this gym (especially because we'll probably be in a new location next year). Only a month more of meeting all in one place like this to worship and grow together. It has been such a tremendous year.

I love that it has become a regular thing to have Nick, Ryan and Carter play guitar together to start things off. It's so cool how the kids know these songs after weeks of attending, they can sing along without even looking at the song books for some of them. We sing because we believe the words that we're saying and what they tell us about God and his love.

Ryan talked about the woman caught in adultery and the crowd that was ready to stone her. Jesus told the crowd that whomever was without sin could throw the first stone. One by one they dropped their rocks and walked away. That situation has grace, mercy and justice all over the place and the kids pointed it out.

In these love tanks notes of encouragement, we get to show grace to one another. We get to make our words matter. I asked the kids to raise their hands if they had ever done Love Tanks with us before and about 75% of the room stuck up a hand. Then I asked if they had held onto those notes and still knew they were. Every one of those hands went straight back up. What we say to one another sticks.

Many of the kids shouted out that their notes are taped to their wall or that they go back and read them when they are feeling kind of sad or alone. I love that these words can stretch past tonight, that weeks and months from tonight that they can continue to have an impact. Maybe we know just what one of our best friends needs to hear. Maybe we can take the opportunity to point out a quality we love about someone we're just getting to know.

With just a few minutes left, we all delivered our notes into the love tank bags. Our hands were cramped but it was well worth it. Everyone couldn't wait to get home and read the papers stuffed inside their bag. Shauna Niequist says, "Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways," and tonight we got to live that out.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"He's got more tanks than the Russian army."

One of the perks of having 5th period prep is that I get to visit kids in all three of the lunches. Back in the old school there was a year of 5th period prep that I would have lunch dates with different kids. One group of girls came to my classroom to eat every Tuesday and another set of girls ate with me on Thursdays. Today the Pizza Bagel Posse came down to my room to eat lunch with me. Cami, Maggie, Caitlyn, Elise, Julia and Cecilia are so funny and talkative and creative and goofy. I think we may have to repeat this lunch.

Myers and Nick showed up with a couple of foam swords just in time to take our picture.

I drove to West Lafayette after school to meet up with camp friends for dinner. Just as I got out of my car I spotted Hannah Blachly and Liz VanO walking down the sidewalk. Liz saw me first and waved with a confused look on her face. Then Hannah spotted me and attacked me she was so surprised. We just all happened to be going to dinner at Chipotle so I got to hang out with them for a little while.

Soon enough my friends Maggie, Claire Smedley, Lizzy and Claire Edleman all showed up for dinner too. Everyone was happy--busy with Grand Prix or excited to get to camp. Dinner was a storm of funny stories and What Are the Odds dares.

Out at Tecumseh we met up with everyone on the porch of the Nightengale. It's Coord Training Weekend-- a gathering of all the people who will be in a leadership position this summer. This weekend makes it feel like summer is just around the corner, like this year holds so much potential and this new group of people has something really special to bring to the table.

We played a new game called Spike Ball in the field while we still had some day light. It's kind of like volleyball and 4-square. You and a partner work together to pass the ball and then hit it on the net trampoline.

We made it inside to do introductions, including Becca and Marie who were video chatting in to our meeting from their schools. Everyone took a personality test and as a group we talked about where our strengths, relational needs and balance all lie. Whether you're an Otter/Golden Retriever mix or a Buck Toothed Lion you fit in to this puzzle of people that are better as a whole.

After the "business" part of the night we gathered around the table to play a dice game called Farkle. You roll 6 dice and try to score points based on different combinations of numbers, 1s that equal 100 and 5s that equal 50. You can pass the dice and your points on to the person beside when you feel it's too risky to keep rolling. If your roll is of no value than you Farkle, get no points and it's the next persons turn. Basically it's a game of luck where Mike got three Farkles in a row, Dillon had the comeback of the century and Todd had the highest mass of points of the night on his very last turn.

After breakfast Saturday morning, we walked out to Middle Earth for chapel. We sang One Thing Remains together and talked about camp's mission and vision statements. There's something so special about just sitting on the pine needle covered floor, completely surrounded by these tall pine tress, away from distractions and noise. It's simple here.

Tom led us in some stretching and some relaxation while we laid down on the ground. It's a rarity for me to sit and do absolutely nothing at all so this was pretty extraordinary. If only Tom could be around to help us start our day like this all the time.

Next we headed to Trader Jim's for an intense Team Building Scenerio. I was blindfolded and linked up with Claire while the other coords were with their partners. The four teams started in the four corners of the room. All we knew was that the blindfolded person would have to walk through the room collecting puzzle pieces and eventually we'd all put the pieces together. Our sighted partner would stay in our starting corner and give us the directions of how to get it all done.

What I couldn't see was that the room looked like this. Hanging ropes, discheveled tables and chairs, ropes stretched across the room, mouse traps, balls and hula hoops and and random other objects like a denim dress and animal pelt. We collected the pieces as we carefully made our way across the room meeting distractions and surprises along the way.

Afterwards we debriefed the activity, drawing connections between what we experienced in that room and what our role will be this summer. I love these kinds of conversations. There is so much heart, enthusiasm and creativity in this group. I've got faith in all of these people to do a tremendous job this summer.

This summer we'll be working with:
Maggie and Todd (Pathfinders)
Dayna and Pippin (Warriors)
Claire and Mike (LV Directors)
Becca Hough and Jimmy (Blazers)
Becca Huckstep and Dillon (Braves)
Sarah (CILTs), Ellyn (Cac), John Amy and Luke (Lake), Llama and Meg (Pool), Joy (High Ropes)
Matt Radding, Jamie and Marie (RV Directors)
Joel and Tom (Directors)

We ate our lunch and dinner out on the porch of the River Lodge. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to do this in the summer? Maybs this will have to be part of the CILT Jar Challenges.

Before going back inside we played some more Spike Ball, this time with three person teams. The oldest kids in camp, aka Pathfinders and CILTs, have a lot of spirit but this game is not our strength. Good thing we excel at taking great pictures.

We spent the afternoon and early evening brainstorming, learning, talking, practicing and planning. Big ideas and little things that will make this summer great. One of our What Are the Odds Dares was that we would all dress up in costumes for our Dairy Queen trip Saturday night. No one was upset about having to dress up in ridiculous costumes to get our milkshakes and blizzards.

The workers were a little thrown off at first but they didn't make a single comment or ask why we were dressed so crazy. The guy working the grill just stared at us with a huge smile on his face. Other customers couldn't help but stare too but no one approached us.

We asked a woman to take our picture before we left and she was totally into it, very excited to be an extreme photographer and squatting to get the angle just right.

Back in the Health Center we had a vocabulary lesson on what all the kids are saying. Do you know what ratchet, 5ever, bae, ilysm and basic all mean? We played Camp Counselor Fishbowl with the coords before we went to sleep and now know exactly how to act out our friends like Fabs, Riley, Margaret, Kellie Coval, KJ, James Black and Molly.

Sunday morning we ate breakfast at the lodge, had a devotion about the little things that Jesus did, practiced CEDOS together on fictional counselors and created SMART goals for the summer. I got to see Sophie for a quick second during lunch because she had worked Candle Creations that morning. After putting together the new puzzle for our theme we said our good-byes and everyone packed up to head home.

It was an awesome weekend and I'm thrilled to be working with these people. The next time I'm back will be with the rest of the CILT counselors so we can focus in on what we're doing and preparing for our kids. Then before you know it the whole staff will be here for our week long training. I'm pumped to be back for another summer.

I had dinner at El Camino with Emma and Liz back in Fishers. Over chips and queso I got to hear about their weekends and we talked about the end of the year. We're looking forward to things like Bob Goff, the Color Run, our last Wyld Life Clubs and Michindoh at the beginning of the summer. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Miss Wright can you play some soft jazz while we work?"

In a bold change of days, the bible study girls met this Thursday morning at 6:30 am. Waking up this early isn't fun but it's a whole lot better when these are the people I get to see. We listened to My Lighthouse and talked about the stories of God leading the Isrealites with a pillar of fire through the desert, Jesus calming the waves in the storm and Jesus walking on the water with Peter. Over and over and over again God shows his power and fulfills his promise to lead his people.

Cami, Maggie and I all just happened to be wearing stripes which is really fun. After we took a picture Maggie accidentally left her phone in my room when she went to class. So I took the liberty of adding some pictures to her phone by inviting kids to takes selfies every period and during lunch. By the time she came back to get it in the afternoon we had added about 150 photos of different HSJH people. Maggie's so lucky.

When we started working on our homework during 4th period Sean raised his hand and said, "Miss Wright, can you play some Soft Jazz while we work?" There's no way I could refuse a request like that so I pulled up Pandora and started a new soft jazz station. The music worked like magic and the kids were writing machines.

6th period rolled around and I told the kids that we were going to continue with Soft Jazz through the day. Henry raised his hand and requested we play Cool Jazz instead. I obliged and made a new station. Did you know that Cool Jazz features more brass instruments while Soft Jazz is mainly composed of piano pieces? I didn't either. The trumpets and trombones didn't have quite the same effect so we switched back to the ivories.

Freshmen tell me on a regular basis that they miss being at HSE Junior High because of the teachers. They say that the teachers they had in 7th and 8th grade really care about them and they don't see that in the HS. I'm sure that there are awesome teachers in that building too, but it's quite the compliment for 15-year-olds to say that they notice how much this staff cares. Mr. Hodgin and I have to agree that really do care about our kids so for the past couple days as kids walk by we look them in the eye and say, "We care about you." Sometimes they smile, a few say, "I care about you too," and a handful just look super confused and keep walking. It's amazing.

The Friendship Bracelet Club met this afternoon. They helped me stuff, seal and alphabetize 140 letters in just about 15 minutes. You've got to love assembly lines and the old adage, "Many hands make light work." We still had plenty of time for making bracelets and singing along to HS Musical 3 and Camp Rock.

Back "home" at the Lackey's house the girls were ready for their sports. Mer and Laura both had soccer and Olivia had to go back to Cathedral for tennis. Between practices we squeezed in homework, studying bones, a project on Edgar Allan Poe, 2048 strategy, some fun and dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I'm a big fan of these girls and wish that this nannying job wasn't so short. I'm heading to camp tomorrow for training so they'll get a new baby-sitter the rest of the weekend. Tonight Olivia said, "I feel like I just got to know you and now we'll like never see you again." Hopefully that's not true. Even if their parents don't leave again soon we'll have to go get ice-cream or something fun. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Do you play sports?" "Life is my sport." "Oh. Is it really hard?"

The FBC Queen Cecilia created a new pattern a couple weeks ago which I immediately learned and started replicating. We're calling this one the kaleidoscope because it reminds us of the way patterns of color in a kaleidoscope are flipped and replicated. Almost all of the bracelets I've made recently are this new pattern.

I'm staying with Olivia, Meredith and Laura for a couple days while their parents are out of town on a trip. I've met Laura a couple times before but am really getting to know all three of them. This afternoon we made soda--yes, they have one of those make-your-own-soda-machines-- before going to dinner at the Arbor Grill and seeing some Hamilton Proper friends.

Laura and Mer both had soccer tonight so I got to hang out at the Fishers Soccer Club for a little while and help Laura and Hadley start new bracelets. The rest of the night was filled with car dancing, homework, composing music on the computer and stories before bed. More fun to come with these girls tomorrow.