Aug 23, 2009

Camp Week

I’m 21 years old and still go to camp.

A few friends and I head up to a little lake in Gilmanton for a week in August. We’ll catch a bit of sun, take a few turns on the boats, even get a little shooting in at the range.

In between the fun, we have to take noontime meds, change a Depends, and push wheelchairs up a ramp or two.

For the past five years, I’ve been lucky enough to join in participate in Camp Fatima Exceptional Citizens week. E.C. Week celebrated fifty five years this year in a big way – the greatest number of campers, 162, in history.

Fatima on a grand scale is a volunteer camp for special needs campers. Over 300 people from across New England and beyond spend the week trying to make it the best week ever. The multi talented kitchen crew works to feed the campers and 300 volunteers. A handful of teenage boys wait on the tables and brave the affections of some campers. The gang at the waterfront spends the day entertaining swimming campers or taking them on turns around the lake. Special Programs takes to the stage every night for an interactive production of that year’s theme. And 162 counselors, 81 women and 81 men, spend the week with one camper.

On the small scale it’s the every day, mundane interactions. It’s the giggle fits with Mindy during a change. It’s a hug from Rorey after lunch. It’s talking trash with Dan during a snack fest outside Cabin 13. It’s the silly inside jokes with your camper, cheering for a cabin-mate after reading during mass, and singing “Hey Baby” at the top of your lungs before dinner.

I’ve been trying for five years to explain the appeal of climbing in and out of a top bunk, spending a week in a cabin with fifteen other people and one bathroom, showering in cold water with next to no water pressure, eating what we’re told is meatloaf. I’ve written a few papers on the Fatima experience but it always falls short. The words don’t ring with the joy and fun and work the week represents.

But I figure if Mindy Cheever can brave a boat ride without the belt to her chair buckled, then I can keep trying to tell people who don’t know, what a unique week it is.

Aug 12, 2009

Productive Proscrastination

If you’re an intern or just on that email list from Lisa, you know the time for the final evaluation is right around the corner. Which includes a four page paper on something we’ve learned. And in the most productive way I know how to procrastinate, here’s a list of what I’ve learned.

  • The ins and outs of photoshop, my bestest best friend
  • The thrill of speeding to a breaking news story
  • People I’ve known for less than 30 seconds find my awkwardness as amusing as my family
  • How to use Jazzbox
  • When you need alacrity, Jazzbox give you molasses
  • Rejection is a daily occurrence. If you’re lucky, it won’t be in public. If you’re not, it’ll be loud and embarrassing within hearing distance of at least two dozen people.
  • How a water tower works. And why you can’t aren’t allowed on the 150 foot tower.
  • On the 495 south turnoff from 95, you want to be in the left lane. The right is riddled with pot holes
  • The importance of deadlines and cushion and why the former should never be too close and the latter never too empty
  • An Einstein bobblehead is a desk necessity
  • Going without coffee seems like such a good idea until a 300 word brief takes you four hours
  • There is no quick way to explain where i stand academically, so in the interest of saving time, i'm graduating in may.
  • That I make a terrible fishermen
  • The story you want the least to do with will be the one people expect the most of
  • if you can make them laugh, the person you just rear ended will stop their curse filled critique of your existence.
  • when I needed the words the most, all I had was ‘thank you’
  • The most memorable advice I got all summer was from the biggest man I’ve ever known. “Just relax. You have to have faith.”

Aug 9, 2009

Top Chef, Burrow-style

You can tell when something’s up in the Burrow – the kitchen is teeming with action.

Brendan took to the oven when in a horrible, tragic accident there was no ice cream in the house. So Chef Boy-R-Dee decided to make extra large sugar cookies with sprinkles.

Might’ve been overdone. But he ate ‘em.

I made some low-fat cranberry orange muffins. The usual recipe for muffins – flour, butter, baking powder, eggs, milk, and sugar – then folded in some dried cranberries and homemade orange zest (do you know how expensive the stuff from the store is? $6 for one bottle?! Oh I don’t think so).

It’s no giant meatball or Reece’s cup cake, but I’ll work on that.