Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What's up

It's been a bit of a rough week. I was down for a few days with a high fever and a migraine, which was super fun. Being ill is definitely an opportunity to get home sick, because it's a break in routine and you suddenly have a lot of down time on your hands. I've managed to avoid getting sick all camp, despite all 37 of my campers having the flu. But I did choose a good few days to get sick, with 35 degree weather, so it was nice to get to stay inside.

I am thinking of everyone on the Wilson/Crossfield side of the family back home and sending absolutely all my love. I wish I was there to be with you. I love you all very much.

Here are a quick few photos from the week.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Days tick by

It's a little scary to remember that I've been on camp for forty-five days. What's scarier is that i have been here for longer than I have left. Camp finishes in seventeen days, which is overwhelming for my campers, who's journey as a camper here at Birch Trail ends this summer, and is a bit overwhelming for me to, as my own journey is coming to a close also. I think I'll miss camp a lot when I leave, but not as much as I will in June next year when everyone's back, and I'm, not. I'll miss the sunsets over the lake ever night that seem infinite and complex. Part of me will even miss the half an hour of cheering ever meal, which too seems infinite at the time.

But above all I'll miss the people here. The campers of course, who might keep me up at night and drive me crazy with their questions about kangaroos and asking me to say tatertots; not to mention their inability to get out of bed at 8.15 for breakfast every morning and the sassy that only a fifteen year old girl can master, but are endlessly entertaining and funny and interesting little people. I'll miss witnessing a girl finally crack that chord transition between C and D on the guitar, after so much practice her fingers bled. I'll miss the look of satisfaction when an nine year old finishes a friendship bracelet, or washes out a tie-dyed shirt to reveal the intricate pattern she's designed. I'll miss the late night moments with soda and laughter in the cabin; the random dance parties and seeing my TM girls with their camp little sisters. I'll miss the energy in the lodge during a meal, and part of me (a very small part) might even miss how my girls respond when muck muck gets served for dessert. But I guess that's why you come to camp as a counselor; to share these moments. To catch a glimpse into the life of a child, play a subtle part in the formation of their mind, of who they grow up to be. And I feel pretty lucky to be able to do that.

Beyond that, there are the staff. It's impossible not to bond with the people you live and work with for two months. We share the ups and downs that come naturally with working with children, and of course living with children. They just get what Birch Trail is like more than anyone at home can understand because they live it too. I will treasure the memories I have from camp, days and nights off, and I know that there are people here that wil stay in my life for a long time after I leave Birch Trail.

But for now, I have seventeen days to make count.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Moments to treasure

It's been over a month since i boarded that plane from Sydney and left my home, my family and friends and everything normal. I remember taking a walk with Marli a few days before I left, thinking this would be the last time I would be able to walk through streets and feel absolutely at home, familiar.

But within a month, Birch Trail, and Nort-west rural Wisconsin has become a home of sorts. It's kind of funny what living with this many people (and kids for that matter) does to you. Kids definitely make you appreciate the little things, the small moments. So I've started a list of moments to treasure.

  • Driving down the highway in an unnecessarily big truck, drinking ice cold Arizona iced tea for the gas station near camp, blasting some random country radio station as loud as we can without our ears hurting.
  • Eating our weigh in ice-cream at Wests in Hayward and dancing to Taylor Swift with strangers.
  • Floating down the river on tubes, without any clue where we where, what time it is, or how much time had passed, with our renegade sunscreen floating behind us. 
  • My favourite Welsh lady falling asleep on my shoulder on the car ride home.
  • Nights spent sitting on a bunk, drinking soda, and talking with my TMs way past their bed time.
  • Buying ridiculous caramel apples in Duluth with Nisha, Natalie and Sarah and sneaking them in as movie snacks at the cinema.
  • Choosing a random diner in a tiny town (Spooner, WI) for lunch and having the best meal ever, despite the fact that there were more dead animals displayed on the walls than people in the restaurant. 

Activities on Camp!

I thought I'd give you a sneak peek into the activities that go on here on camp! I am the project head of the Camp Play and Guitar, but at the moment I also teach sailing and paddle boarding! Other activities include water skiing, Tie dye, rock climbing, mountain biking, knitting, glee club, riflery, archery, land sports, swimming, fishing, canoeing, gymnastics and a whole lot more!!

4th of July

I was both excited and nervous for the Fourth! I knew it was going to be crazy! And it was! The night before, TM decorated the Lodge (which is where we eat all our meals) with HEAPS of 4th of July decorations! So it looked super cool!! They went round early and woke up all the cabins with noise makers, music and lots of yelling!

Before breakfast there was a flag raising and everyone recited the pledge of allegiance (which was kinda creepy not gonna lie!) Then Rocky, one of the TMs girls sung Star Spangled Banner before Breakfast kicked off! Breakfast was waffles with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream, and then every year turns into a whipped cream fight (in true BT style). So I copped cream to the face and hair, always fun!

After breakfast, there was a 'cabin decorating competition' which was super fun! And then of course, the frosting fight, which is exactly what it sounds like. I still have frosting in my hair even now.....

After we'd all cleaned up, (ice cold showers yum yum) we boarded yellow school buses and headed to North Star Camp for Boys, which is a boys camp about an hour away for the 4th of July social. It was seriously entertaining to watch them all together. But North Star were great hosts and I think they all had fun!

They all collapsed into bed that night which was magical for the counselors! I wish everyday was the 4th!!


Camp is crazy as usual with lots of exciting things happening! Here's a bit of an update on Colour Wars which we just had!

During first session, we have Pandemonium Colour Wars. The camp splits into five teams; red hearts, green clovers, blue fish, yellow stars and orange suns. TM, my girls, are the captains of the teams. They pretty much wait their whole lives to be captains so it's a really big deal for them! There are lots of special secret initiation traditions when the girls find out what team they're on, but I of course can't tell you about them, or they wouldn't be secrets! But Pandy lasts for two days and is full of cheering, and races and activities! The Leadership Team and the TM counselors are on the neutral 'purple' team, and we spend the weekend hanging out and handing out 'colour bands' which is what the girls earn to get points for their teams. They can earn colour bands for doing a whole range of things, not just for winning activities. From cheering with enthusiasm, to being good leaders to putting on sunscreen to being supportive and encouraging to the other teams. It was an awesome two days!!

Not all of TM are captains in Pandy, because there is colour wars second session too called TIAD.

Orange Suns cheering featuring their amazing mentor counselor Lian!! Each team is allocated a 'mentor' to help them lead their team.

Blue Fish captains cheering!

Orange Suns cheering.

Red Hearts Cheering!

More Orange Suns cheering!!

Some of the captains...

Green Clovers cheering!

The lovely miss Lian!

Bridget, the Yellow Suns Mentor!


Yellow Suns!

Cheering Blue Fish!

My two of my amazing co-counselors!!

I have a special place in my heart for maples hehe!!

Some of my TM girls!

TMs and maples!