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Confessions of a cabin counselor

High-pitched screams reverberated in the mountain air as seven eighth grade girls scattered to various corners of the cabin. ?What! What is it? What?s the matter?? I questioned in panic. I waited to see a snake or a rat, maybe a skunk or a raccoon.

As I quieted the girls and told them to stay calm, I discovered the cause of the pandemonium. A live grasshopper on the floor preceded by a moth that made its way to the ceiling light created the chaos.

I questioned my ability to make it through a week of sporadic ?freak outs? due to bugs. A thought of incapability passed through my mind. I did not feel like I was the right person for this group. How could I help them when I could not share their feelings?

As I got to know my cabin group better, I realized a sweetness and eager acceptance in them. Despite their dramatic outbursts and silly notions I began to understand better the girls under my leadership.

Moving forward, setting my discontent aside, I adapted to the world of girlish triviality. As the week came to a close, I began to see that through me, God was making an impact. My girls began to ponder the nightly message spoken by junior high teachers, Hallie Rojeski and Terry Richards.

The needs of these eighth graders increasingly impressed my mind. At such a vulnerable age they are easily influenced. They are searching for acceptance like we all have and continue to do. In my cabin the search was solved with makeup, hair, and clothes, in other cabins it was goofing off for attention.

The real need is for a good Christian role model which seniors Brianna Stobbe, Jennifer Schmidt, Kira Armbruster, April Fujihara, Chapman Hutchins, Wesley Wells, Gary Darakjian, and junior Will Heirholzer, ventured to provide.

Other cabin leaders also needed to adjust to the forgotten world of immaturity. The best defense against drama stricken teenagers is to grin and bear it.

?The week was rough for me because I had a tough time connecting with my girls,? Stobbe said. ?I really had to learn patience throughout the week. Their attitudes pushed me to the limit.?

The remaining cabin leaders however thoroughly enjoyed their more sedate groups. Memories developed with more compatible cabin groups.

?There was a lot of love in my cabin,? Armbruster said. ?My girls and I got along very well especially on crazy hair night when they all braided my hair.?

A counselor has an opportunity to influence developing teens. It is amazing what power a senior or junior in high school has on the minds of the junior high.

?My girls would tell me things that they wouldn?t tell their parents,? Fujihara said. ?I could give my opinion and they would truly listen because they knew they wouldn?t get in trouble.?

As the kids enjoyed their free time and classes, the cabin leaders discovered a refreshed and reminiscent outlook on life.

?I loved playing big booty with my girls,? Fujihara said. ?It was also fun tackling Chapman with the pink hair spray for crazy hair night.?

The cabin leaders also created new traditions for future counselors to follow. On the last night of camp, the craziness of wild hairstyles and the hype of cabin skits encouraged the nine leaders to make up one of their own scenarios. The cabin leaders performed a skit on the differences between junior high and high school.

?My favorite memory was the cabin leader skit, ?Hutchins said, ?and being trash canned by Wes and Gary in the skit.?

Finishing the week well became more fulfilling than my doubtful beginnings. Many kids came to Christ on the trip, and I had the joy of helping lead someone to a closer relationship with Jesus.

My experience as a Calvin Crest counselor was a surprising highlight of my high school career. I highly recommend those with motivation to get schoolwork done to participate next year. I must confess that I may have had more fun than the eighth graders.

For more information on becoming a cabin leader at Calvin Crest for the year 2006, contact Richards at [email protected], Rojeski at [email protected], or Joan Swanbom in the junior high office at 299-1695 ext. 4.

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