Being in charge of a bunch of kids is really tough at first. Soon you learn how to do it, when to yell and when not to, that sort of thing. But even when you feel like you have the hang of it, they will exasperate you. I'm sure any parents reading this are laughing and saying "Oh, I know all this already." My least favorite Session was Session 2, because of this very issue. I had a Tribe of pretty good kids, Session 1, and two incredible CITs to help me through that first week as a Counselor. Session 2 I had the standard one incredible CIT to help me, and that Tribe was not full of good kids. There were these two kids, Austin and Avery, and one of them was really good, and the other was not, and I can not remember which name goes to which kid. They both had blonde hair and funky names starting with an A; once I got their names confused and the not-as-well-behaved kid did not let me forget this, repeatedly trying to trick me, which is why I now can't remember which name goes to which kid. The well-behaved one was incredibly forgiving of my mistakes in name-use, but that sort of thing is very difficult to deal with no matter what. On a similar note, there was a kid who, as near as I could tell, was able to injure kids he didn't like, and then make it look like an accident. I did not love that kid the way Jesus wants me to, and I reall wish I had.
On the other hand, it was not all difficult discipline, you know. During Session 5, I taught the Guitar Elective, which was an older group of kids, aged 12-15, and maybe that is why they were easier to handle. Additional factors include the fact that they wanted to be there, learning to play guitar, and also that things were a lot less structured here. A few years ago, Eric Anderson taught a Guitar Elective, but he had a bunch of troublemaker kids, and vowed never to teach that thing again. He then went ahead and wrote down Guitar Elective as a possible elective on the Elective Proposal list, and then got me to teach it. Little did he know, it would be awesome this time. I had never really had to do this before, so I had to quickly draw up some lesson plans, based on Eric's ideas. Next, I discovered that half of the Guitar kids already knew how to play just fine and shouldn't have signed up. I ended up teaching them basic music theory with a guitar slant, an important field of knowledge that they hadn't touched at all. Helping me through all this was a Sharpie and the Camp Cardboard Recycling Pile, from which I produced several practice fret-boards, chord charts and all manner of useful introductory music and guitar diagrams. Because the structure was loose, and because they knew what was okay and what wasn't, we were able to goof off sometimes, and suddenly Electives was a joy and not a chore. By the end of the week, they were able to play "One Name", a Christian song I've only ever heard at Camp, and did so at the "A Night At The Theater" performance event. Also, Nick and Henry sang a song they wrote about the KYBO*.
Photos by Julie Lewis and Dale Weyman
*KYBO - The Bathroom. Stands for "Keep Your Bowels Open". A beautiful, terrible place.