Thoughts on Week One
By Todd Mitchell
Despite my reservations about working with kids, I survived the first week of camp. Survived isn’t even the word I would use. I thrived. I would have never guessed how contagious the glee, excitement, and willingness to learn kids possess would be. The week started off with me teaching a class of fourth to fifth grade campers how to create a radio news story. While at first this seemed like it would be much easier to plan than actually execute, I was happily surprised at the ability of these campers. Kids, ages ten to twelve, successfully interviewed, planned out and created fairly complex news stories considering many of them had never touched an audio recorder before. Suddenly, something that had taken me an entire semester of college to master, was executed with relative ease over the course of five days.
The surprise didn’t stop there.
Next I taught a ropes course class. There isn’t much teaching involved in high elements up in the trees, but there is a lot of learning. Seeing the initial fear in the eyes of campers who are suspended 30 to 40 feet in the air turn to pure adrenaline, fueled with excitement can put courage in even the most cowardly of campers. And just like that, with the snap of a finger, someone who didn’t even want to put a harness on makes a completely change of heart after seeing fellow campers shoot down the zipline with a smile ear to ear.
I wasn’t really prepared for how much of an impact these kids could make on me. I was expecting the summer to change me for the better, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly or at the magnitude it did. I have campers that are leaving at the end of the week that I am sure will leave me in tears and this is only knowing them for two weeks. I can’t imagine how it is going to be at the end of the summer having bonded with campers for a full seven weeks.