But now ~I’m back~ and have had time to let my time sort of “marinate” to see how I felt about everything. I, as I’m sure many humans do, tend to romanticize experiences so I tried my hardest not to do so with what I did this summer but am still finding it hard not to do so. Sure, there were shitty parts of work, but I felt so lucky to have worked at Treetops with the amazing staff.
That being said, I think the best way I can sum up or generalize things is by saying I learned a SHIT ton this summer. I learned how to emergency dismount off of a horse (I was cantering straight into a tree), how to harvest pretty much any type of vegetable or fruit, how to navigate the beginnings of teenage angst in Junior Camp first hand (a girl in my tent verbally abusing me and others on occasion), and most importantly how to take a shit in the woods properly (there’s an actual technique to leave no trace). I also continued to keep learning stuff about myself- ehmahgawd, a huge cheesy ass point but nevertheless, it’s true. This story picks up where I left off in May with summing up my college career as a person and athlete for those of you people who have read my other stuff (THANK YOU!!!!).
So about myself and this learning thing I did while high (in the peaks of the ADK, LOL got you! <3) this summer: when initially finding out I was hired to work at Camp Treetops for the summer, I was excited. A mother effin’ job?! It was more than I could ask for. As the time came closer to leaving home for CTT, I began to seriously doubt my ability to take care of children. I mean, I had coached volleyball camps before, I’d tell myself. My psychiatrist (explanation here) had also cleared me to work which created a sort of buffer of confidence I could see on paper, but as I left, I couldn’t help but worry about how I was going to deal with myself on top of others.
I gotta say, however, I found it truly humbling being around a group of both great counselors and campers who each had their own set of personal things they were working on, and to be honest, that is what kept me going at my low points. My brother’s girlfriend and her sibling, for example. Both had their parents pass away recently of cancer in the last two years and remained visibly strong throughout the summer I was with them.
The kids often kept me afloat too at many points- even though they can be such shit heads (and I say that lovingly of course) they are often so genuine, silly, and pick up on your energy more than you think they do.
But anyway, for those of you wondering what I had to have been doing all day where I couldn’t have been answering my phone until obscure hours of the night, I’ll give you a sort of layout of what a normal day was for me.
~SKIP THIS SECTION IF YOU HAVE TREETOPS-ED BEFORE~
If I was on barn chores for the week, I’d wake up at around 6:15am so I’d be at the barn by 6:45am. Barn chores started at 7:00am-ish for the kids, so I’d essentially boss kids around as they picked horse hooves, groomed their horses, and such. We would get done around waiter’s bell which rung at 7:45am. I’d then make my way to the dining room where I’d get crawled on by kids until breakfast was served at 8am. If I had a table for the week, I’d sit with five other kids and try to control the amount of food that got on the table, under the table, and on other children at the table. After breakfast, I’d go to my tent group’s tent and boss them around and tell them to make their beds and not get distracted by their friends in neighboring tents. At about 9:15am, we would have counsel, where we would go over what activities would be offered by which counselors for periods 1 (10:00am-11:00am) and 2 (11:00am-12:00pm). After the morning periods, waiter’s bell rang at 12:00pm and the kids would gather outside and mostly crawl all over me or other counselors until lunch was served at 12:15pm. After lunch, we would hold counsel again for periods 3 (2:45pm-3:45pm) and 4 (4:00pm-5:00pm) and then go to rest hour from whenever counsel ended until 2:45pm. After the activity periods ended for the day, work jobs began at 5:00pm and ended around 5:45pm when waiter’s bell rang for dinner. If I were at the barn that week I would supervise kids muck out stalls, fling poop at each other, and do an okay job at sweeping. After that, I would once again, get mauled by kids until dinner was served. After dinner, we held a short counsel which went over the evening activities offered from whenever counsel ended until roughly 7:30pm-ish. I think. I could never remember when it ended. But after evening activities (which often riled the kids up even more because counselors would often offer dodgeball or tag) the kids had to get rounded up back into the wash houses to prepare for bed. After what felt like an eternity, the kids joined their sister tent (another tent about their age with 3-4 kids) and would listen to someone read a book until quiet bell at 8pm-ish. After that, I was done with my day with kids at about 8:45pm latest. Whadddaday.
That was my day if I weren’t out on a trip hiking or horseback riding somewhere. Quite a busy day, I’d like to think.
ALRIGHT IF YOU SKIPPED THE ABOVE COME BACK RIGHT ABOUT HERE
So anyway, picking up where I left off so this post actually seems like it’s relevant and not too incredibly random. My days were jam packed with having to constantly be on my A-game and left me exhausted- I’m sure any counselor can relate to this. The entire time I was at camp, I felt like I was drowning slowly until week nine came and I felt like I was finally floating- barely- but floating nevertheless. Swag.
And I could not be more proud ❤ ❤ <3. Cue lame ass music.
Though working a simple summer job isn’t normally something I’d be patting myself on the back for, I gotta say I’m proud I made it to this point in my life. Three years ago, I struggled with menial tasks like getting out of bed or not losing my shit at volleyball practice and would never have dreamed of doing something like I did this summer. Working something as mentally challenging as (occasionally) physically challenging and being able to say, “I wanna do that again!!!” shows I’m moving in somewhat of the right direction.
Lots of personal growth this summer for Kristin Hovie which is excellent considering I’m about to enter (hopefully) the next chapter of my life: getting a big girl job.