In my last post, I kind of glossed over the camp week itself, especially for those of you who can’t watch the video for one reason or another. It was a tremendous week.
At Summer Plus, I taught Creative Writing in the afternoons. You never know, with a workshop like creative writing, whether you’re going to get students who are interested, or students who got their first choice of workshop in the morning and who got stuck in creative writing because they were assigned to it. This week, I had the former – and I also had two helpful and enthusiastic assistants, one of whom (Diana Woodlock, daughter of Mountain T.O.P. executive director Ed Simmons) is a teacher and coach. We basically ended up with only three students – fewer than originally planned – but that allowed us to have a ratio of one adult to one child.
Family members were sort of a running theme to the week. Several long-time AIM participants brought family members for the first time. Gwynda (Eversole) Patterson brought her husband Greg, Doug Warner brought his wife Peggy, Robert Matthews brought his son Bobby. I think Diana’s husband Barry was also a first-time participant, although I might be wrong about that one.
In the morning, I found myself assisting in Jan Lloyd-Gohl’s newspaper workshop. Seriously. Jan had the idea of a workshop that would produce a camp newspaper. I grumbled playfully about not being able to get away from the newspaper business, even on vacation, but in truth it was fun helping out. The kids really got into it, interviewing workshop leaders, fellow campers and friends of Mountain T.O.P. One boy drew cartoons. We solicited questions from all of the Summer Plus campers for a “Dear Abby”-style advice column, and the questions were farmed out to various adults to answer. (All of the answers were published under the pseudonym “Aunt Blabby.”)
Several of the kids touched me particularly. One of our creative writing kids was a sweet young girl who has already, at her young age, had to be treated twice for cancer.
One of our Kaleidoscope kids, to whom I’d given one of my spare Reed Bradford crosses, was right on the borderline age between Kaleidoscope and Summer Plus, and got to return for Summer Plus, and so I was delighted to see her again.
After our afternoon workshop each day, we would break the teens into small groups and lead them in a little discussion about our theme word of the day, a character trait like “courage” or “patience.” On the first day, I was reading the prepared questions which had been given us by the staff, and one precocious young woman asked me if I was a therapist. I finally had to show her my business card to prove I was a newspaper reporter, and she playfully referred to me as her therapist for the rest of the week. On a more serious note, she revealed a day or two later that her father was recovering from a stroke, and I told her I’d pray for him.
Do you remember how I fell, badly scraping my knee and elbow, on the first day of Kaleidoscope? Well, on Thursday of Summer Plus, we were playing tag and … I fell, tearing off the small scab that remained on my knee and adding some new scratches.
I got to play several fun games this week. I’d been jonesing for UNO during the Kaleidoscope week but forgot to bring my deck. I brought it this time. I also got to play “Apples To Apples,” about which my co-worker Mary Reeves is always gushing. I loved it too. I may have to buy it some time. And we played “Fact or Crap” one night, which was a real hoot as well.
I also played “Taboo” with the creative writing kids, partly as a way of teaching them about finding new ways to describe things.
I enjoyed tie-dyeing so much during the Kaleidoscope week that I made sure to participate this week. This time, I made another shirt for myself and I also made several to give as gifts.
As I posted to Facebook, I had the same room and the same roommate this week as I’d had during Kaleidoscope – “Smitty” Smith from Smyrna. I didn’t even realize Smitty was coming back for the second week. (He always does home repair.) Smitty and I were the only repeat AIM campers, although Doug Warner had a similar schedule; he was an adult camper in our Youth Summer Ministry at the same time Smitty and I were doing our first AIM week, and then he returned to do AIM with us this week.