Tabula rasa

Normally when I go to Summer Plus, I teach creative writing during one of the two workshop sessions and then assist some other workshop leader in the other one.

I knew when I signed up for Mountain T.O.P. Adults In Ministry at such a late date that the roster of workshops might already be set in stone. I put on my application that I could teach “creative writing, or as needed.”

Well, I got my touch-base call from the AIM staff this morning, and while they offered to let me teach creative writing if I really wanted to to they sort of gave the impression that things were OK as they were, and that was fine with me. So I’ll be doing Summer Plus, but I won’t be leading a workshop myself, only assisting in other people’s workshops for both the morning and afternoon sessions. (This is what I do when I go to Kaleidoscope instead of Summer Plus – I assist rather than lead.) I don’t know what sessions I’ll be helping with, and the last few years the assignment of helpers has been more of an informal process, worked out during our planning sessions on Sunday night of camp week rather than in advance.

At the end of creative writing, I usually give the teens a blank journal. I’ve had a huge stash of journals, many of which were donated to me for this purpose by a friend a number of years back. I still had more than enough for one or two workshops, but almost all of the ones that remained had a cover design which my students would consider feminine.

I tend to have more girls than boys in the workshop, but even so I needed to be prepared. It’s worth noting that I often let the teens pick out a journal themselves, and many of the girls in the past have preferred a plain blue journal bound like a hardback book over that supposedly girly-looking model, which was spiral-bound. That’s one reason I had so many of the spiral-bound notebooks left.

I was at Walmart the other day and ended up buying three blank journals in more gender-neutral designs. It turns out I jumped the gun by doing that, since I won’t be teaching the workshop, but I’ll just save them for another year. (I may use one of them myself on the Sierra Leone trip.) At least it will be easier to pack, since I won’t have to bring my big box of workshop stuff.

There will be about 25 adults in camp — 9 or 10 in Summer Plus and the rest in Major Home Repair. The full-time staff stops updating the “who’s coming to camp” lists on the web site once training and camp season start — they’ve got a heck of a lot of other things to do that take precedence — and there were only about 15 people listed on the web site the last time that page was updated. Jan Schilling tells me that “Smitty” Smith is one of the additions, and I’m curious to know who else might be coming.

Helen Vickers tells me on FB that her husband Rick McNeely, a former Mountain T.O.P. full-time staffer who played the key role in creating Kaleidoscope, will be at Cumberland Pines next week as well — not in AIM but as an adult driver in the Youth Summer Missions (YSM) camp that will be taking place at the same time. The staff is usually pretty good about keeping YSM and AIM from crossing paths, but hopefully I’ll get the chance to see and speak to Rick at some point.

I still remember one year when Mountain T.O.P. used to have an annual fund-raising golf tournament and I was a board member. They had one of those contests where, if you hit a hole in one on a designated hole, you win a car. The insurance company which made such contests possible required that there be two witnesses at the designated hole, not players, who could attest to a hole in one should it take place. Rick and I wound up with that job somehow — we sat at the second hole and watched every single tee shot so that we could witness any holes in one. (Sadly, it didn’t happen.)