A LOT happened in June. June 5th (also Elizabeth's birthday) was the first day of first session 2011. The week before that was staff training week. It was a week filled with learning, bonding, preparing, practicing, and crazy antics. The usual staff training week.
That was also the week we finally finished school for the year. The kids' teacher decided to promote them both to the next grade- congratulations to our big 1st and 3rd graders! Here is where you would see a cute picture of them on their last day of school...if that dumb black hole that swallowed the rest of my May pictures hadn't appeared. I hope someday it decides to cough them back up, because I'd really like to have them back.
Because I know what you're going to ask next- how was the school year? As always, my reply is, "Great, as far as I can tell." With no former teaching experience, and no one to compare the kids to, I think we're doing just fine. They can both read fluently, and I realized at the end of the school year that Amelia's a little ahead with math, so we'll be using this first semester to review what we learned last year...and what we forgot over the summer. I have always understood why so many educators are all for year 'round schooling. Then there's no learning loss over the summer and no need to spend weeks reviewing and re-teaching. Understanding it doesn't mean I'm all for it though, since I believe there's more to becoming a well-rounded individual than the stuff you learn in school. A little learning loss is worth what is gained from other summer pursuits. It was a bit tight getting in those last few weeks with camp stuff coming up so quickly, but we did it. It's hard to believe we're already on to the next year!
I've decided to try to break these blog posts into bite-sized pieces. Perhaps then I can get them caught up! (I keep making these promises to myself. Like the one where I said I was going to catch them all up before we started our school year, which was now almost two weeks ago.)
June 5th was the opening day of first session this summer. This was a terrific summer. The staff bonded really well and it was awesome to see so many returning kids. Some have been with us all seven summers! A tremendous testimony to God's work here. Amelia and Shannon went to first session, which was a week long. This was Amelia's second summer, and Shannon's first.
Amelia was in Rock Creek, the cabin she was in last year. Bubbles (Angela) was one of her counselors last summer, and was in her cabin again, though Willow (Rebecca) was actually her counselor.
Meg got to come this summer too, and was one of Amelia's bunkmates.
Google (Aaron) was here for his second summer of hanging out with little guys, and was Shannon's counselor. Elliott got to come to camp this summer too, and the two of them had a fun week together.
A.J. wanted to stay too. Maybe next summer!
They were in....
Tozer was a helpful mover inner in the cabin.
And now for a picture of one of my favorite young ladies of all time...Karina!
She is the daughter of friends from church, and has been coming to camp since our very first summer. She helped me out with the kids for a week last summer, and this summer traded out some camp tuition in exchange for nannying for THREE weeks. She stayed at our house, and was pretty much my right hand for the first three weeks of camp while we got things up and running. She is wonderful and responsible, and is 15 going on 20. I've had the privilege of knowing her since she was younger than Amelia, and even got to keep her some while her mom worked. I couldn't talk her folks into letting her move in and stay all year, though I tried.
One of the privileges of living at camp is being able to take pictures of your kids during camp activities. This summer Shannon chose archery, climbing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and outdoor living skills as his skill classes.
Amelia chose arts and crafts, dance, archery, fishing, and drama.
Shannon even got a skill award at the end of the session in arts and crafts. Notice the blue bandana. We are now a house divided. He is an Awahili, Amelia is a Waya.
Elliott picked canoeing as one of his skill classes.
Here's sweet Leah, one of Amelia's friends from church, who came for the first time this summer too.
Climbing suits Shannon very well. He's always doing Spider Man moves at home, scaling the door frames and climbing the stair rail.
My mom worked at the barn that first week since they were heavy on beginners and light on enough help. Here she is with Bailey, one of my cousin Gary's daughters.
Meg works on baiting her hook.
Gracyn, Bailey's sister, and Alex Anne, Meg's sister. Week one was especially fun because there were so many kids we knew well.
A mid-week I-miss-my-sissy hug.
Amelia in dance class. I had to get a copy of the dance performance songs. This many weeks later she's still doing the dances at home. Quite well, too, I might add. She gets that from me.
Pistol (Whitney) and Amelia share a book during free time before lunch.
Part of the way through the week Alison, A.J., and Tozer came to visit. Elliott nearly forgot to acknowledge their presence. The fun of camp erases some kids' memories of their families. (Like mine, for instance. I barely got a high five all week!)
We rode around and watched some skill classes in action.
Elizabeth and Tozer had some sort of three year old squabble. They pushed each other back and forth saying, "MY seat." "No, MINE."
"Looky here, Elizabeth...bossypants..."
At church I get cracked up in the three year old class when a kid picks up a toy no one is playing with, looks at another kid and says, "MY toy." Usually the other kid picks up something else and says, "MY toy," then it turns into a squabble over nothing anybody cares anything about. Actually, I can think of quite a few adults that do similar stuff...
Eventually they got over it and Elizabeth allowed him to take her for a spin on the four wheeler.
Avery ended up going home with A.J. for a sleepover. This was his very first one by himself!
Shannon has been dying to give the blob a try since he first saw it two years ago. I haven't been keen on him doing it before now because I wanted him to be big enough. His very first go he ran off the end of the blob tower without stopping. That's not an easy feat, because it's pretty high up, and in my opinion, kinda scary!
A successful landing.
A successful blob.
Daddy and Shannon watch other blobbers and contemplate the finer points of takeoffs and landings. He did it another time or two, then started to think the better of it and decided it was getting a little scary after all. It really does only take one or two bad blobs (i.e., painful landings!) to make a person think twice about doing it again. That was my experience anyway, since the first time I ever blobbed was at Camp Skyline and my wonderful husband who at the time outweighed me by nearly ONE HUNDRED POUNDS was the one to send me flying, after assuring me that the jumper would be a counselor who was close to my size. I did not appreciate the trickery, especially since I landed badly after a high altitude launch. That nearly cured me of blobbing forever, though I have had some fun blobs since then. **I just wanted to see if it was possible to use the word "blob" as a verb, adjective, and noun, all in one paragraph. Yep, it is.
Here's what lives in our lake.
Amelia didn't choose horseback riding this session, mostly because she didn't want to have to keep up with her long pants all day! This is Olivia, daughter of Abby who runs our riding program in the summer. She learned to jump her horse Sophia this summer.
The Grandmommymobile, complete with a Grandmommy on it.
The last night of camp is Tribal Council, a series of silly games and tribal cheers and songs, the last time tribes compete for points during the session.
Amelia helped represent the Waya of Rock Creek in a balloon in the air game.
First session went really fast. The kids wanted to move out of the house and into cabins for the entire summer, but we were mean parents and made them come back home. They did play pretty much every evening game for the whole summer though, and we all participated in as many things as we could during the day as well.
I miss camp. :(
Next post, more of June. We celebrated Elizabeth's birthday the weekend first session ended, so that's what's up next! Bite sized pieces still seem to take me awhile to put together. I can do this!