Summer Camp

6 Jul

That feeling when you realize you haven’t written anything on your blog in seven months. Oops.

Anyway! I went to summer camp. And boy was it a doozy.

Michaela is in an all-girl Boy Scout troop. She loves it. She’s made great friends, developed skills she wouldn’t otherwise (setting up a tent, starting a fire, knife safety), and had the chance to serve as a leader (which she’s great at, obviously). And while Scouts isn’t my thing, I love it for her.

The thing about being in an all-girl troop is, you need an adult female chaperone for all activities. Including the week-long summer camp the troop goes to in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead. This year, when I was feeling particularly frustrated by work, I thought, “Screw it! I’ll take a week off and volunteer to be the female at camp.”

Reader, that was… Well, mistake is too strong a word. But there were definitely moments where I regretted volunteering to chaperone.

The camping itself was fine. I had a roomy (but dusty and bug-filled) canvas tent on a platform to sleep in, and a cot with a thin mattress. I set up my camp chair outside and my mosquito net inside and was generally comfortable. The weather was nice (but very cold at night, in the high 30s/low 40s, making me happy for my warm sleeping bag and the three layers of clothes I slept in each night). The scenery was beautiful, with big trees and clean air. The food was decidedly mediocre but included in my fee and cooked by other people.

We drove up on Sunday and on Monday, I had a mental breakdown. I was just so far out of my comfort zone and Michaela was being very teen-y (not nice) and I had some challenges with the other chaperones… It was just too much. As I was holding in tears in the cafeteria during breakfast service about what a terrible mistake I’d made in going, I decided to flee. Once the scouts went off to their various merit badge classes, I got into my car and drove into Lake Arrowhead Village, found a coffee shop, ordered a chai and a croissant, and spent the next few hours working and regathering my patience.

When I went back to camp, I was in a much better place mentally. From there, each day got better (until they didn’t; we had a doozy of a Thursday and Friday). Michaela had a good time, and that’s the most important part for me. We left on Saturday morning and I have never been so happy to take a warm shower and lay in my comfy bed as when I got home that day!

In hindsight, I feel like I got the full camp experience. Homesickness, pride at overcoming it, laughs and nice time outdoors, lots of hiking (I was averaging about 16k steps/day), sleeping in a tent, etc.

Would I do it again?

I guess?

At least if I ever volunteer again, I’ll have a better idea of what to expect!

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