Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pre-teens are so much better...

So, this week was so much worse then the pre-teen girls. We had two campers in their early thirties and three in their mid to late fifties and they asked us for help with everything (we even had one camper that insisted we put butter on her toast for her). One of my co counselors this session is legally blind herself and said her mom would kill her if she insisted she couldn’t do anything for herself. I realize they do have a disability that can be limiting, but we are here to encourage independence, not to allow them to take a break from living a full, independent life. We tried as best as we could to encourage them to do things themselves. There were plenty of people here who were very independent like the VI/blind I have know in the past, we just didn’t have them in our cabin. I understood the need for help; this is a new place and orientation can be difficult. What I didn't understand was some of the campers lack of desire for independence. The kids, however, want to be independent so badly, that they'll refuse help even if they need it. So, it's a difficult balancing act.

This break I am puppy sitting Mikey (I’m not even sure that is how his name is spelled). All I know about him is that he is a year old and his dad is Benjamin. His raiser doesn’t remember who his mom is, but she raised Benjamin so she remembers that. He’s a pretty good dog. He’s mostly calm and I like him. And puppy sitting any dog is a lot of fun. We were talking about going to Magic Mountain tomorrow but I think they changed their minds because it’s too expensive. We are going to Universal Studios again this next session with our campers. I’m excited.

Harry Potter comes out in two days… Yay for us!

I was looking at going home during a different break then I was thinking to check and see if it would be cheaper and I realized that there pretty much aren’t any. We’re more then halfway done. We’ve got this break right now and then next break (no plans, but it’s too soon to book a flight at a decent price) and then the one after multi-disabled (which is already packed- we’re going to Fun Day), then one between teen camp and family camp (the one I was already looking at) and then we are done. I can’t believe that.

There are several people waiting to use the computer so I better go. There’s not much else to say. I promise I really will post pictures when I can motivate myself to wait for these really slow computers to load them.

Just in case I don’t post again soon, Happy reading!


Friday, July 13, 2007

This is long...

I’ve been putting this off for awhile because I’m lazy and didn’t want to think this hard or type this much. But now, to conserve energy, I’m double posting this blog in different places so that everyone can read about life at camp.

Last break I didn’t do much. I think the only thing I did was go to the grocery store. And that was it. I bought vinegar (to wash my camp shirts). I went down the mountain a few times just to park and use my phone (I HATE not having service- aggravates me to no end). I wrote a letter and an email to Mickelle (she is doing fantastically, I believe- I got a short letter from her this week). I’m racking my brain to remember what I did (see what I mean about thinking hard) - I did do something exciting. I went to Hollywood. It was okay, I’ve been before and honestly this time it wasn’t anymore exciting. I took a picture of the “Godzilla” star and of the huge banner outside Grauman’s Chinese theater announcing the US premier of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I spent some time trying to figure out how to sneak out of camp for the premier. I didn’t come up with any good ideas so I didn’t go. But it was neat. I bought some sunglasses. And I ate California Pizza Kitchen- best pizza ever.

This last session was elementary camp. They put it at the beginning of the summer because otherwise we’d be really burnt out by the time we got to the young kids. This particular session they assigned counselors based on their age, so I worked with the other oldest female counselor, Sprite who is one of the girls that came to camp with me. We had the oldest girls- eleven and twelve year olds and one girl who turned 14 while she was here. We had ten campers, five one whom are VI. It was a seriously draining week. I was with the pre-teen girls. Need I say more? I had to go on the overnighter this time (everyone does). It wasn’t as bad as I expected. We had a lot of fun with our activities. Due to lack on time and interest, I’m not going to talk about everything that happened, but some highlights of the week include:

Beach day- We saw a couple of dolphins. We couldn’t believe how close they came to the shore. It was amazing, especially when the waves were going over them just about to break and you could see them perfectly. My girls also made an amazing turtle for the sandcastle contest.

Universal Studios- I had the oldest kids. Of course we had fun! We did have one girl that would get to the front of every line and then start crying and whining that she wouldn’t go on. We had to break up into two groups and go through the lines at different times so someone could be with her. After a couple times of that, we left her with the nurse and the rest of us enjoyed the day. We went on every ride. There were a few shows that we wanted to see that we didn’t make it to, but that’s okay. Next time.

Summer festival- This day was open to the public to come and visit and there were a lot of people there. In the morning the blindness discovery area was open. They had a lot of booths- GDB, JBA, a tide pool (that was fun- I touched a horn shark- it was neat), a booth with blindfolds that mimicked different types of visual impairments and canes to play with, braillers, and other fun things. The public got to eat at the bbq, while campers and staff came to the dining hall and ate normal camp food. Oh well, we all had the same things, hamburgers. The afternoon was filled with games: archery, some table games, hula hoops, freeze dancing, three legged race, balloon toss, etc. After all that excitement we had a really long rest hour! The best part of the day is that one of my campers came here all the way from Georgia to see her twin brother (who is blind) and he didn’t come to camp. She was so disappointed, but she got to see him this day because he came for awhile.

A few other “highlights” happened this week too. My favorite was the night that everyone was sick and none of the staff slept because there were campers throwing up in every cabin. Great fun.

This break has been lazy too. A week ago, I bought my ticket online for Harry Potter. We were working through noon on the 11th, so we saw it later that night, not for the midnight release. But that was okay. There was a group of six of us and they all know as much about Harry Potter as I do, unlike the friends I drag to the movie with me at home. So that was fun. We only got to the theater an hour early (after several hours of shopping and dinner) and we were the 5th-11th places in line. It was very different from home were you have to be there much earlier then that. I think the difference is that there are a lot more theaters to choose from here. While we waited in line for the movie, I read a book I had bought earlier in the day, What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7, by the staff of It was really interesting. I enjoyed the movie. I think that each one has been better then the last. Yesterday I drove to Trancas market (Starbucks is a good place to see Celebrities­, though I haven’t actually gone to Starbucks yet) and made a few phone calls. Last night I went Camarillo with a small group and we went to the outlet malls there. It is huge and has pretty much everything you could ever ask for. I bought board shorts at PacSun. I didn’t spend too much on them. Then I controlled myself after that although there were a lot of shoes I wanted to buy. Next paycheck maybe. I’m trying to save the rest of this one. We had dinner at Panda Express (that made me happy). And then we came back to camp. Today, I’m not doing anything. Tomorrow, I’m getting up early to go to the temple. Then our return meeting is tomorrow night.

This week is Young Adult/Alumni camp. Everyone will be over 18 and they will all be legally blind (unlike during camp with kids, where there are “buddies”- fully sighted kids). It’s a really short camp. They get here Sunday and go home Wednesday. There are quite a few different things this week. No beach day. All of them go to Santa Monica. Which means that most of us get to as well.

I’m thinking about going to visit my Aunt Sandy next break, but unsure yet because I would have to be back about five on Friday so I could join in with everyone on the pre Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows party. The last book comes out in a week! THE LAST ONE! This is it. I almost don’t want it to, because then it is over. It’s been part of half my life. We’re living it now. I’m so excited to see how everything ends, but … not.

So, lose ends: After getting desperate because I couldn’t find off campus housing at BYUH (it’s all full), I got an email that I am no longer waitlisted for the dorms and have a spot. Even though I had gotten excited about living off campus, I couldn’t find a place, so now I’m pretty excited to live in the dorms. Now I’m just waiting for financial aid. According to their website, award letters are delayed by a month and won’t be available until August. Umm, I want to buy a cane. So I can learn to use one while Tonks is around. She can teach me. I also want to learn to sight read Braille. I need to find a book. My mom got a house in Bend. It’s three bedrooms which is good news for me. She was talking about getting a two bedroom and I’m relieved that I won’t have to sleep on the living room floor during breaks.

Anywho, we’re watching Hitch now and I have a whole lot of nothing to get to. So I better go. Hope everyone is doing well. I miss you all and I’ll talk to you soon. When I'm not feeling so lazy, I'll post some pictures.