Thursday, July 17, 2014

"And then the driver instructor said I had to back around the corner without hitting the curb and I said, 'No problem!' "

The shedule for this morning reads, "CILT Adventure Part 2" and Cara asked, "Is that when you hike to that place and take a whole bunch of pictures?" Yep, she's right. After chapel we filled our water bottles and then headed out. 

Smoon, Arielle and I hiked in the back of the pack with Erin, Kelly, Brenna and Gaby. This means we chatted and reminisced while helping Brenna get her boot over logs and unharmed through the mud. This hike is one of my favorite things.

When we reached the top of the Gish we started our classic CILT girl photo shoot. How many pictures can a group of girls take in half an hour?

My people. My favorite homies. My gals. My crew. My CILT Pack. My right and left hand. My Smoon and Amber.

WOODEN NAME TAGS! You can barely see them, but I promise they're there.

My friend Gaby told me today about her friend that labels all of her instas with, "Here's to..." Today is a day she'd love. Here's to adventure, fun, friendship, laughter and life to the full.

Now you can see the wooden name tags for real.

I wish that I could bottle up CILTs so that I could break out during the year. It's one thing to have pictures and memories but I wish I could keep so much more. I'd hold onto their voices, the funny things they say and the way they take care of each other. I'd collect their laughter and the way their faces light up when they see their friends. I'd keep their hugs and how they hold hands with each other. I love this CILT life and wish it lasted for so much longer than six weeks out of the year.

Smooncat is the bomb.
I'm so glad we're friends.
I don't want her to leave.
I'm mad at Madison, WI for taking her away.
We all wish she could stay.

Session 3 is always special for me because it's the end of another era. We've got six whole weeks of fun and adventures behind us now-- 120 CILTies that have touched our hearts and impacted our lives. But this group is the one that we say good bye to for real. Hanging out with them has been so easy and so fun this session. I'd rather be talking with them than be doing anything else.

I was talking with Erin O'Awesome today about how special this place is. If you open your eyes, there are pictures of friendship and love all over the place.

I wish you could meet my friend Natalia. She's a riot. When we got back to the Riv today she was walking around by herself singing a new version of the song "Fifteen" that she wrote about grilled cheese. It was amazing and beautiful.

I'm thankful for little, crazy, adorable girls like Emma that are always going at 100 miles an hour with their hair a mess and no idea what's going on around them. They might struggle with staying in their seat at school, but here they're free to run wild all week long.

When I looked around the flagpole area this morning I spotted dozens of CILTs with their campers. They were playing or holding hands or sitting on a bench talking and it made me so proud. We love when we see our CILTs really loving their kids and taking advantage of all the time they have with them.

I got two AMAZING surprises in the mail today from two of my favorite people. The one and only Annie Fazzio mailed me a HUGE bag of CRISPY M & Ms that she got in Copenhagen while she was abroad this summer. They're my favorite kind and you can only get them in Europe. Then I opened a care package from Miss Olivia Kinsella and found not 1 but 6 bags of Sour Patch Berry Kids inside. She couldn't find them when she sent us a care package earlier and freaked out when she found them in Target this week. When my friends send me things like that it shows me that they really know me and are thinking of me.

This afternoon the CILT counselors walked all over River Village to see our CILTs in action. Teton and Catawba were having their weekly friendship bracelet buddy time on the pavilion and I got to see Kelly and Maggie. 

Today Ellyn got to come along with us as we toured the Riv and completed our team. Working every day with these friends has been one of my favorite parts of this whole summer. They're the kind of people I just always want to be around because of their hearts, their attitudes and the way they live life to the full.

After running across a few games of Running Charades, we found ourselves at Ft. Disco. Seemed like just the spot for our daily pic.

It was also the perfect spot to see Cara laughing and playing with one of her campers as she taught her a new game.

We decided it was necessary to make one last trip to our secret room. Still stuck on where it is?

We took turns saying, "Remember when..." and then talking about something that happened this summer. I love that so many of our memories and all of the campers of our summer overlap so that our histories are all wrapped up with one another.

It was my night off but I didn't want to miss the last regular night of CILTs or of having Smooney here... So I drove into Delphi to pick up dinner at Monical's and then came straight back to camp. I got to talk with Erin O'Awesome during Trading Post and play with campers in Main Field. When four cabins headed to the pool for Water Aerobics I headed there too so I could watch four CILTs lead the activity. Music was playing and everyone was in the water splashing.

Near the end, Maddie and Emma, two Catawba girls, got out of the water because they were freezing and came and snuggled up beside me to get some of my warmth. I love working with the CILTs but sometimes it is fun to hang out with eight year olds like these girls.

Arielle, Smoon and I all worked on our PLs on the Longhouse Porch for awhile and Ellyn read An Abundance of Katherines. When the CILTs girls started trickling back we headed inside to hang out with all of them.

We did devotions in the Party Room tonight and wrote letters to ourselves. I followed Smooney's idea and wrote a letter about what this session has taught me. I love that even though I've been a CILT counselor for so long each Session is a new and unique experience. I learn about myself and these kids and it's hard to really explain why it's so special. I don't want it to end.

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