Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Summer of 2008, Ligonier, PA - Part 1

Being an introductory post to this topic, this may be a little dry.

This summer, I was a Summer Camp Counselor at Ligonier Camp & Conference Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. It's a Christian Summer Camp of the traditional summer camp variety, if that makes any sense, and it is a pretty awesome place. I ended up there for the summer because a friend of a friend said they needed more guys, and I needed a summer job. They really did need more guys, and I am incredibly glad that I was there.

LCCC, as it is called, is actually a fairly complicated operation. There are three Camps: Summer Camp, which runs all summer; Next Level, which is more intense/extreme, exclusive to older campers, and only runs the first third of the summer; and On The Edge which is outside groups like church youth groups coming to Camp. There are Summer Camp Counselors, Next Level Counselors, Wilderness Staff who run all kinds of activities, Counselors In Training (CITs) who are High Schoolers who love Camp so much that they'll clean the toilets, Next Level CITs whose job remains a mystery to me (not that they are idle, I just don't know what they do), and a whole bunch of other staff, some of whom live and work at Camp year-round. I was a Summer Camp Counselor, and this meant that every Session I was placed in a cabin with at lesat one CIT or Co-Counselor and up 10 boys, and collectively we were a "Tribe". I was specifically a "Unit 2" Counselor, and this meant that my youngest was 8 years old and my oldest 13, but mostly they fell in the 10-12 range.

Camp is divided into "Sessions", which are either one or two week, and kids come to Camp for a Session. Sometimes kids stay for more than one Session, but that is rare. Anyways, two-week Sessions are less popular than they used to be, but a lot better than one-week Sessions, because there is just a lot more time to do awesome stuff. Camp is, as you might expect, very structured; a typical day at Camp runs something like this:
  1. Staff Meeting in the Dining Hall. Sometimes this closed with singing, other times with a little devotion or sermon type thing from someone.
  2. The kids come down for breakfast, having been woken by their CIT.
  3. At the end of morning announcements, we disperse for our morning rotations, which were decided at the staff meeting. This might mean...
  4. Bible Study!
  5. Prison Dodgeball against at least one other Tribe. The best games involved as many Tribes as possible.
  6. A "Skill", such as Archery, Riflery, Frisbee, Swimming, Volleyball, Hockey, Basketball, the Craft Hall, etc. When it's Skill time, counselors trade tribes and teach kids they don't know very well.
  7. Now we would all return to the Dining Hall for lunch!
  8. After afternoon annoucements, we all go to our Duty Areas (haha, I said doody!), which meant cleaning up some section of Camp.
  9. Rest Hour. Oh we love Rest Hour.
  10. If this is a one-week Session, it's time for another Skill. If this is a two-week Session, it's usually time for Electives! Electives are little classes, such as Target Sports, Guitar (which I taught), Boom Whackers & Stomp, Gospel Choir, Drama, Fitness, Swimming, etc. Sometimes in a two-week Session, it would just be extended Action Options. What does that mean? See below.
  11. Now it's time for Action Options. Many kids believe Action Options to be Free Time, but many Counselors have called it, in jest, Calvinist Free Time. This is to say, you only think you have a choice. The kids get to choose what they're gonna do, but it's from a limited set of options, such as The Rec Deck (Foosball, Ping-Pong, Chess, & more), The Pavilion (Basketball, 4-Square), The Pool, The Hub (the Camp Store), The Craft Hall, and maybe something special, like Chubba-Chubba-Can-Can (a game which I will not explain at this time).
  12. Dinner! Yum. Dinner also closes with the Run-On Skit, which introduces that evening's Wide Game. This year, the skits were all about Indiana Groans and the Legend of the Crystal Flamingo (Gasp!)
  13. After Dinner, everyone descends down a massive hill to a flat field to play a Wide Game, which means a field game. Selections include: Gold Rush, Medic, Ninja Warfare, Spy vs Spy, Predator, and (new this year) Siege. I do not have the space to explain them here.
  14. After Wide Game, there's a little bit of downtime, which means a trip to the KYBO ("Keep Your Bowels Open", aka the bathroom).
  15. Then it's time for Club, which is a lot of loud music (generally about Jesus), jumping up and down, hand motions, maybe a Silly Skit, maybe a Scripture Skit, or maybe Club Talk.
  16. Bed. Finally. Well no, first, evening devotions. One time I was able to give a little talk/sermon in which I connected Judges 3 to 1st Corinthians 12. Look them up.
  17. Now the kids would go to sleep, or else get in trouble and lose some priveleges, and we Counselors would sit out on the decks and chat quietly, or go to the KYBO and brush our teeth or take a shower.
  18. Bed. Finally.
Now, not every day was like this, but that's a standard day. I woke up at 6:30, cause Staff meeting was 7:30 and I am really, really slow in the mornings, and I'd get to bed around 10 or 11 I think. It's not like it's easy to stay up when there are hardly any lights around.

I will be writing a lot more about this, that's for sure.


Alex said...

Tim, I'm just now getting to read this after my long trip to Turkey. I find your description of camp fascinating.

1 What is "Boom Whackers and Stomp"?
2 What is "Chubba-Chubba-Can-Can"?
3 Ligonier uses more jargon than Imago Dei. Congratulations.
4 Hey, Tim, we need to call the bathroom the KYBO. Dude.
5 Best part: "Now the kids would go to sleep, or else get in trouble and lose some priveleges"

Timothy S. Milligan said...

1. Boom Whackers are plastic tubes of a certain size that, when struck, produce a note. Stomp is a Broadway musical production in which people make music using everyday objects, like buckets. Imagine these were fused into one and performed by children.
2. Chubba-Chubba-Can-Can is a game in which a bunch of people grab each others arms, forming a ring of people, with a trashcan in the center. You are out if you touch the can. You win if you are the last one not-out. Good luck.
3. Yes, probably.

Arathon said...

I made an effort at the Judges-Corinthians connection, but I failed. I am sure it is there, though. That is to say...I believe you.