14 June 2009

Bridges to a Brighter Summer


What a whirlwind of a week! This time seven days ago, I had just gotten home after watching the Pens in game five at a party at Billy's house. I had told everyone goodbye and was in my room focused on packing as quickly as possible so that I could get to sleep.

It's hard to believe that, now, one week later, I am sitting in a dorm room back at school, feeling completely good emotions. This week has been exhausting and overwhelming at times and has definitely moved me out of my comfort zone, but even just today has made all of the hard work and training so worth it.

When I got here on Sunday, I was unsure of myself and just tired of driving - after I moved in, I was pretty much beat. I didn't know more than a few people, and I was anxious to see how the week would play out. After a few hellos and a small gathering in my room, we realized that we needed to be ready to leave before 5 a.m. and that we should probably get some sleep, so we parted ways until the next morning (or, if you prefer, later that night.)

The kayaking trip definitely had its ups and downs - perhaps at the time, I felt that it was a lot of downs, but now, looking back, I can see that it was an overall positive experience. We were exhausted and eaten alive by bugs on the beach, but we got to know each other and built our team. We also saw some beautiful scenes and gained some wilderness experience and confidence. I had never been kayaking before.

The rest of training consisted of a variety of people hired to do workshops for us on everything from conflict resolution to coaching to CPR training. Some sessions were more helpful than others, but, for better or for worse, we were generally in training from eight or nine until five.

After our training during the day, we did lots of counselor bonding activities: everything from going out to eat to bowling [see above picture and below video] to just hanging out. video
Jeff and I watched the Pens in games six and then the victorious game seven, shaking the building, I'm sure, at the final second with our jubilous (Yes, I am making it a word.) cheers. That Friday night just happened to be the day that the six senior members of the Leadership Team moved in and the final night before the rest of the students came - read: hall decorating frenzy.

We got started on our hall decorations after picking an overall theme on Thursday: TV channels. After divvying up the individual channels (200G-GSN; 200B-ESPN; 300-Discovery; 400-MTV), I was asked to switch rooms with a few other counselors before the students got here, so I was moved from the Game Show Network to MTV just before going to shop at Wilson's, a store with such a combination of useless nonsense and genious contraptions that is an overpriced, convenient time-killer. We decided to focus on making all of the big wall spaces (about ten or so since I had more than doubled the size of my hall) different MTV show themes, such as Road Rules, Spring Break, and My Super Sweet Sixteen. We spent a few hours on Thursday planning things out and cutting out giant decorations out of brightly-colored paper, but we didn't get anything finished or posted, so we had nothing to show for ourselves when we went to bed due to sleepiness Thursday night. Friday, though, we got out of training early after a final run-through at lunch at William's, and we got right on our glamming up the drab dorm space. By the time the LT arrived (early, of course), we had shown significant process but were still struggling to fill up the smaller spaces. When all was said and done, the two LT girls on our hall had helped us to create a montage of instruments, music notes, money, Road Rules, The Real World, an iPod, My Super Sweet Sixteen, a television, and the trademark MVT astronaut. We went to bed anxiously awaiting the arrival of 67 campers bright and early the next morning. See the next blog for more...

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