Friday, May 26, 2006

Easter Seals Update

So, I have been in Mt. Juliet for a little more than 3 weeks, 3 weeks left. So far I have enjoyed the following activities:
1. Assembling a fish chute for the Annual Fishing Tourney
2. Participating in the Fishing Tourney--it only took me an hour and a half to catch a fish. My camper caught one on his first cast. His participation award was for "Best Casting." :)
3. Files, oh the files.
4. Fixed a printer by merely touching it. True story.
5. Assembled the staff manual--it only took 3 days!
6. KP (kitchen patrol): I've worked in the kitchen during the majority of my time here. Cooking, cleaning, dish fun. I've actually had a great time with it and I will miss it now that I have to be an official counselor starting Sunday.
7. Spent sometime in Downtown Nashville for Meredith's 23rd Birthday party. It was exhilarating just walking down the street. I'm such a dork.
8. Learned how to canoe properly and how to flip a canoe (and also how to check for leeches--no joke. so gross)
9. Filled my brain to the brim with information and the population I'll be working with over the next three weeks. In case you're wondering, the sessions of camp we will be working are: a. Adults with Developmental Delays b. Children and Adults with Autism and c. Adults with Physical Disabilities.
10. Crying a lot because I'm so homesick. It's really ridiculous how much a miss everyone at home.
The camp we are at is beautiful, can't beat it really. And the summer staff are all wonderful people. Our first couple of sessions has been really great so far, I'm just a little nervous about being a counselor on my own. I know that probably doesn't make sense to you because you're not in the situation, but I'll explain it when I come home in 32 Days!
Until then, I'll try and update as often as I can. No promises. As you can see, it's taken me 3 weeks to post. Last week I worked 89.5 hours. I'm not kidding here folks, it's ridiculous.
Miss you all and love you so much.

***** I wrote this post last week and I wasn't able to post it for some weird reason. who knows.
I'm at the end of our first session: Adults with Developmental Delays. It has been a doozy. I have two campers, but I'm in a wing with a couple other counselors and campers. We really work as a unit to get things done. I have one camper who is about 250-275 pounds who is in a care=HARD WORK. If I never have to change a Depends for the rest of my life, I will be so happy. The worst is when she has a BM...and I have plenty of stories to tell about that. On the other hand, she is a very happy person and I've really enjoyed her. She likes to say "I love you" followed by, " Know how much?" and then on a good day/time of day "$400" or if she's not so happy "5 dollars and a quarter/dime." She's kept my laughing also because she'a a big flirt. Last night she pinched one of the boy counselors bottom. It was great. He was a good sport about it.

Gotta run. Rest period is almost over.
LOVE YOU ALL... 28 days until I'm home!!!

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Our last project

Tomorrow morning, Gold Five will embark on our very last project during our time with NCCC. We will be heading to the beautiful state of Tennessee to work at the Easter Seals camp in Mt. Juliet which is about 15 miles or so outside of Nashville (you better believe I'm going to be spending as much time there as possible. Keith Urban, can I please meet you?) Our work there will consist of getting the camp prepared for the upcoming sessions and working with the campers as counselors. The majority of the time we will be working with adults (18 and up) who have either physical or mental disabilities. One weekend we have the option of working with people who have traumatic brain injury. It should be a very eye opening experience and it's also going to be a project of the heart. We will be working about 80 to 100 hours per week when the camp is in session ( no worrying about not reaching the required 1700 hours of service mark). On that note, during times when we are on (any time we are with campers, we are not allowed to use our cell phones. SO, that means that if you need to talk to me, the best chance is the weekend. Or leave a message and I'll call you back! Also, I won't have much access to email (does this sound familiar) so, it's not the best way to stay in touch.
I miss everyone at home very much. I can't believe it's already May. In exactly two months from today I will be finished with AmeriCorps and be on my way home. It's amazing how in one moment it seems like the time has flown by and in the next, it seems like is has creeped by. Know that I am definitely looking forward to returning to California and hanging out with each and everyone of you!

Grace and Peace.

Stuck in the MUD!!!

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning we experienced a fairly big thunderstorm. That meant that we couldn't work out on the trail so we were able to do some service learning activities (South Carolina State Museum, General Sumter's Grave Memorial and Congaree Swamp Park--all very cool and fun). So, Thursday afternoon, we decided to head back out to the trail and try and get a couple of hours of work done. Well, the clay roads were quite dry/hard enough yet for us to get by. Of course, I was driving (oh yeah) and a couple of times I had to do some pretty tricky maneuvering to keep us on the road. Apparently, so my northern teammates tell me, it was like driving on ice. The van lost all steering capabilities. Not very fun when you're driving a huge van down a small road in the middle of nowhere. So, we eventually got the van turned around, headed back to the abandoned warehouse we were staying in (the offices upstairs), and we had to go back through a particularly precarious spot in the road where there was lots of water and not much road. :( Well, to make a long story short (too late) we ended up stuck and an hour and a half later we were out. :)
Oh the joys of life in AmeriCorps.

Gold Five with our amazing project supervisor Ollie. He was the greatest supervisor we have had during our time in NCCC. We love you Ollie!!!


Here's a lovely picture of yours truly carrying the pain in the butt stiffeners. We had to lug these things up and down the bridge a couple of times a day to bring them to the places where they needed to be installed. They were actually more awkward than heavy, especially because of those shiny little bracket beauties. They were no fun, the scrapes and bruises all over my legs are testament to that.
This is what the bridge looked like when we began our magical trail adventure last Sunday April 23. We finished installing the handrail along the rest of the bridge. It took all week, but that was due to a day and a half of rainy weather that didn't allow us to work on the trail.