Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another Great Year Must Come to an End

Day 5 :(

The last morning at camp always feels a bit off. Since there's no morning activities this is the one morning you get to sleep in until the breakfast bell rings. It's not like I don't enjoy sleeping in, usually on the weekend I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing with someone acquiring my presence when it's already past noon, but it's not everyday you can go on a hike or do yoga with your camp buddies. Sleeping in is for ordinary days and any day at camp definitely does not count as "ordinary".

I always do the Sunshine Dance full out (even when I'm not at camp) but it's even more exaggerated and crazy on the last day! As our last breakfast we had breakfast burritos and eggs which I remember was the same meal from the year prior. I loaded my plate with fruit and cereal since I'm allergic to whatever is inside the burritos and being the picky eater I am, I just don't really like eggs... Usually after breakfast we would head back to our cabins to get ready for our next activity, but before we headed back to our cabins to pack instead we did a camp sweep. A camp sweep is when everyone lines up by the dining hall facing the ocean and slowly but surely picks up every piece of garbage so the next session has spiffy looking camp grounds.

Jarred and I at breakfast :)

Emily and my bro Brandon!

My boys Dylan, Alex and Jarred during the sweep :)
The ladies covered the beach from the dock to Frog Rock, Girls Camp leading to the infirmary and Arts & Crafts while the gent's cleaned Boys Camp back towards the High Ropes Course. Cleaning after Art's & Crafts must be a real honor since it was easily the dirtiest... sparkliest and most colorful activity area ever. Once we finished, we went back to our cabins to stuff our luggage with all our clothes smelling like camp and to restore our cabin back in its original order for the Schooner girls in Session 2 and later on Session 3. All my clothes seemed to be scattered about the cabin... the longest part of packing was probably gathering all my stuff since something of mine seemed to be everywhere; in other suitcases, outside the cabin, on the drying rack, in the shelves, under my bunk... everywhere besides the squirrel box, thank goodness!

I was probably the last one to be 100%  packed! As long as my clothes make it back to Arizona in one piece it doesn't really matter how my clothes are packed since I'm practically going to dump my suitcase in the washer once I get home, however I'm a huge perfectionist (one of my more appreciative but annoying qualities) so it matters to me! I rolled and stuffed all my clothes to one side of my suitcase so I had enough room for my toiletries, sleeping bag and pillow which I also have to cram in my luggage. Our med nurse, Miffy, put our medications in our bag before we dropped off our huge Nick & Kelly bags at the boat dock. While we were cleaning our cabin a couple girls from Catboat came in to ask if we needed any help sweeping [heart... melted... from maximum adorableness]. Once we finished cleaning we passed time by signing shirts and taking final cabin pictures until the lunch bell rang.

Schooner with a couple Catboat girls <3

Schooner Cabin <3 You all have a special place in my heart!

The line of signing shirts
I ended up getting a medium CDC shirt since they were all out of smalls. In the end, I'm sort of glad I received a medium because the back of my shirt quickly filled up with loving messages from my cabin friends and counselors. Especially during lunch when I was racing around the dining hall to get signatures from all the other wonderful campers and counselors! We always have a final squirrel before we headed towards the field to wait for the boat to be unloaded of Session 2 campers and their luggage. It's a bit more complicated than a regular squirrel dance... Basically, a line of new counselors form a line from the squirrel box leading to the chosen counselor at the end. All the counselors pass along each item inside the squirrel box which is the amount of time you have to claim your lost item. If you don't claim your item before it is passed to the chosen counselor than that counselor must wear it... somehow. Even though none of my items were lost, I couldn't possibly pass up squirreling one last time before leaving.

"I WIN!"
After our final squirrel, we headed towards the field to sign shirts, once again, and wait for the boat to be unloaded and re-loaded. Between signing shirts and dismissal on to the boat we had a final cabin closing. Favorite part about this year at camp? My favorite part of this year, as usual, was creating stronger friendships with old friends and creating fresh friendship with new friends. Creating friendships at camp is definitely not like meeting new people at school. At school you walk into a class, introduce yourself, start a conversation hoping people will accept you for you. At camp, everyone is already accepting because we have all been-there-done-that in terms of not being accepted. Meeting friends at camp isn't difficult because everyone is so kind, easy going to talk to, understanding and just fun to be around! Some of my strongest friendships are thanks to camp and I'm lucky to have a gateway from everything worrisome in reality to just be normal and treated like an equal.
Our last cabin photo before going on the boat :'(

Waiting for the boat with Emily, Nicole and Tyler
The walk leading to the boat while saying good bye to all the counselors is probably one of the saddest moments of camp, for me at least. High fiving all my favorite counselors for one makes me super jealous knowing they get to stay for another session on the magnificent Catalina Island but I also get really choked up knowing I won't see them for a whole year because their all amazing and I'll miss them. The counselors are still waving goodbye to us when we're on the boat, but that's not all. When you think the counselors are going to walk back to the Dining Hall to greet the next session, they all jump in and continue waving goodbye from the water.

Counselors jumping from the dock
We landed a table of six on the second floor of the boat for the ride back to the main land. I sat with my friends Sammy, Dylan, Alex, Collin, and my boyfriend Jarred. The boat ride just seemed to fly by because before we knew it we were saying our last goodbyes to all the campers and counselors from California at the Catalina Express boat dock. This is probably one of my least favorite parts of camp. I hate saying goodbye to the California campers because I never know if I'll see them again before Camp 2013. As fast paced as Nick & Kelly is trying to load all the Arizona campers on to the buses, there is always time for a couple five minute hugs. I'm definitely going to miss all my California buddies, especially my three Schooner girls from Cali; Kasey, Katelyn and Brianna! <3

Once we loaded on to the buses, Jarred and I relaxed all the way to the airport. Practically falling asleep but managed to stay awake by listening to music (I'm so glad I brought my phone) and we went a little wild taking pictures.

One couldn't ask for a better boyfriend <3
"Practically perfect in every way" 
The heart couple <3
We arrived to the John Wayne Airport and quickly moved through security and back on a plane to the state of ridiculous heat and cactus. I sat between Jarred and my friend Alex and oh... my... goodness... Sitting between these two guys is like sitting next to Bill Murray and Jimmy Fallon... just uncontrollable laughter all the way back to Arizona. I don't think I ever laugh as hard any where else unless I'm with these two fellers. It never really hits me camp is "officially" over until I can see my parents visible faces while coming down the escalator. There was so much commotion around, the tears didn't catch up to me until I was home. I just disregarded my parents because I was too busy saying goodbye to EVERYONE! I said good bye to Jarred by blowing a kiss, even though we'll be seeing each other very soon at parties and Homecoming (pictures to come) and the rest of my Corazon Family! The last person I said good bye to was my nurse practitioner who was a counselor this year for the youngest cabin. She burst into tears when she was trying to describe what a leader I am to my parents.

There is such a difference in my whole attitude and personality when I'm at camp. You don't even have to talk to me to see how happy I am because it just shines through me. I wouldn't label myself as a leader or even anyone with much confidence, but I can definitely say camp has given me enough confidence to live my life the way life should be lived. I have received the gift of life twice and I'm not just going to let that go to waste. I have far too much to live for and no one will bring me down. As Elphaba would say, I'm defying gravity.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Adventure, Target Sports, Nature, Archery

Day 4

Well it's our last day of activities...

This is the day we live our lives to the fullest during each and every activity, enjoying the time we have left to spend with each other. This morning I decided to try something new. Instead of the morning hike, my cabin friends Sammy and Selena joined me to Yoga with Puppy Monster. Surprisingly, my boyfriend also wanted to come along! I actually quite enjoyed yoga because it woke me up, yet it was relaxing. Even after camp ended, sometimes I do yoga on weekend morning's just to wake me up.

After yoga we lined up by the bell to do the Sunshine Dance leading to another delicious breakfast, as expected. The era of Cleanest Cabin Queens has ended and we didn't win the title. But hey, there's always next year! So it didn't really matter to us whether our cabin was clean or messy, so I let my suitcase explode a colossus of clothes all round my bunk. Not my smartest idea to leave it that way considering the ants managed to have a little brunch party in my luggage.

I decided to unravel my tye-die shirt from Art's & Crafts and wear it today. I'm very satisfied with how it turned out! It has a lot of white showing and more color on the back than on the front. We made our way to our first activity which was Adventure with Puppy Monster, one of my favorite counselors. I haven't done Adventure since... 2009 I think, so I was surprised to do it again this year. We did a bunch of team building exercises with Yawl, cabin age ranging from 12 to 13, leading to an exercise that took a majority of the time. We all gathered on a long log and we had to balance while transitioning from tallest to shortest without falling down. Our goal was to do it in under seven falls but we ended up accomplishing it in ten falls instead, which is still pretty good, in what felt life thirty minutes .

Accomplishment yay!
We gave a camp appreciation to Puppy Monster and left for our next activity, Target Sports. We listened to the usual precautions given by Spider and Aladdin and finally started shooting. I used to not like Target Sports as much when I was younger because I wasn't very good at it, but ever since my second transplant I suddenly became a master in the arts of riflery. I guess I have Dakota to thank for that, the original master in riflery! I wasn't the only one who had skill in Target Sports, the rest of Schooner cabin did an excellent job as well! We all could have been on the A- team of top murderers or secret agents... Jedi masters or offspring's of Tom Cruise.

Schooner at Target Sports

Our sexy shots ;)
We left Target Sports and heading to lunch. Lunch was a little different this time since we had a Hawaiian picnic on the field. No mac n cheese but we did get challenged by Tsunami, 13 year old boy cabin, for a Volleyball Tournament during Quiet Hour. Whoever wins has to compost and clean the losers table during dinner. To make the game fair we asked a couple guys from Senior 2 to be on our team against Tsunami who had three guy counselors benefiting their team. So once lunch was over we made our way to the volleyball net and had some time to practice before the boy's came along. Our counselors were cheering us on and the game came pretty close to being tied. It was a game well played but in the end, the boy's won but being the gentlemen they are, they decided to give the win to us. Looks like we have someone to clean our table for dinner!

Jarred and I during the Hawaiian Lunch :) photobomb: Alex level
No time for losers, cause we are the champions!
We played till the last minutes of Quiet Hour and headed to our next activity, Nature. Last year we dissected Earthworms, this year we were dissected Owl Pellets. I remember doing something similar in 8th grade but I don't remember it being nearly as cool. Maybe it's just the effect of being at camp... camp makes science cool (coming from someone who already has a covalent bond in the subject). Our last activity of the day was Archery with Yawl again. I've done Archery since year uno and even with the help of Dakota, I'm still not very good at it. I've done it so many times, I just wanted to let the younger girls get their turn. One girl in particular, Amy, was so sweet and absolutely adorable! Ever since our first activity together she would always run up and hug me whenever she saw me.

Amy from Yawl! What a cutie :)
Tonight is the night of the dance so a couple girls in my cabin wanted me to do their makeup before dinner. Even after dinner, I had a couple girls from Sloop and Yawl wanting me to do their makeup. Next year I'm making sure to bring extra eye makeup brushes that way when someone asks me to do their makeup I won't get a sty a couple weeks after camp ends. My cabin headed to the Dining Hall looking very... Fabulous?

Pretty gorgeous eh?
Since day 1, my cabin was determined to receive signatures from every counselor in the handbook first. Of course, we had to do a couple hilariously ridiculous tasks but in the end we had the honor of sitting with a very special guest during dinner. That special guest being Captain Compost, the superhero of all things compost! While we were waiting for our number to be called out to eat, my boyfriend walked up to my cabins table and just stared at me... It took me a couple seconds but he was wearing his tye-dyed shirt with writing saying, "Happy One Year Anniversary Shelby <3". I couldn't even express the happiness through my smile I just had to give him a huge hug and continue smiling like a lovey dovey fool.

Sweetest boyfriend on this planet!
Everyone in my cabin, including my counselors, gave him huge boyfriend points and thought what he did was super cute. I think it's clear... he's definitely a keeper! I told him to wear the shirt to the dance tonight to show everyone what an amazing boyfriend he is and what a stud muffin I have. To make dinner any better would to eat mac n cheese and what do you know? We walked up to the kitchen and saw counselors serving mac n cheese on everyone's plate! SCORE!

After Tsunami cleaned our table, we went back to our cabin to get dressed and touch up. I quickly put on my flowery dress which tied into the Hawaiian theme very well, we took some cabin pictures of all of us looking spiffy and BEE-ah-OO-tea-ful and headed back towards the dining hall for a night of fist pumping and being monkeys!

Lovely ladies of Schooner!... oh and Amy :)
Our last night at camp was amazing! I loved dancing with old friends, new friends, meeting more people in one night, taking pictures, and once again slow dancing with my boyfriend. The costume dance last year was considered, "our first date" and now one year has passed and it's like deja vu. Different clothes, more memories, stronger feelings, and slow dancing in the same spot from the year prior.

Heart Couple <3

My little buddy Christian is growing up!

The gang :)

My friend Brandon:)
It was a perfect way to end the night and to end the session. We skidaddled back to our cabins for our final cabin closing... How much has camp impacted you? What does camp mean to you? I have been going to camp since 2004 when I finally met the age requirements and I have never missed a year. Being this close to my final years as a camper sort of feels like growing up. You know you're growing up when you move out, or you enter college or you begin worrying about things you didn't have to worry about before. My graduating year at camp will be really hard for me because I'll feel like I've reached my expiration date as a kid. As much as I want to move out and experience the world myself, there is always that fear in the pit of my stomach of how my life will turn out. Camp has taught me to put a better, more positive perspective in life throughout all the difficult times I've come across. Camp has always been that shimmer of light to motivate me to get back on my feet whenever my heart has brought me down. I guess I thank camp not for just giving me five days of feeling normal and loved but I thank my whole life to camp. Thank you for giving me the confidence I have today, the memories that will last a lifetime, the friends you don't find anywhere else and the want to come back every year!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kayaking, Giant Swing, Court Games, Notes

Day 3

You know how you're completely unaware of where you are for about five seconds after waking up from a really intense dream? Whenever I wake up at camp it takes me about five seconds to realize where I am. I'm not in my bed, I'm in my sleeping bag. I don't have an obnoxious alarm to wake up too besides my counselor and the sounds of the oceans. These are one of the rare moments when I literally wake up with a smile on my face. No nagging parents or math class to start off the day... just pure happiness.

Yesterday, I went on the morning hike with my friend Sammy. While hiking around a different trail than the day before, we created possibly the best GRACE that ties perfectly into the Olympic "love America" theme:

I pledge alliengence, to this Breakfast
Of the Camp Del Corazon Kitchen Staff
And to this Dining Hall in which we stand
One camp under Big Kahuna and Xena
With Good Times and Seconds for ALL!

Now that it has been recorded, I will never forget it and keep it in mind for next year! This time I went on the morning hike with my favorite man, my very studly boyfriend. I remember last year, before we were even dating, we went on the morning hike together every morning. DEJA VU!

View of the dock, the amphitheater, girls camp, and the courts

And he gave me his sweatshirt one cold morning :)
Hit It Gumbi!

Hey Hefi How Bout Seconds?!

After the sunshine dance, breakfast and we composted our food, we chugged down what's left in our cups to play the cup game. Once our cabin starts the cup game sometimes other counselors and campers will join in and it becomes one huge, loud line of synchronized cups. We didn't win cleanest cabin queens at our last attempt so we swept till the floor was clean enough to lick... theoretically.

This morning was cold but thankfully it started warming up during breakfast. Just in time for kayaking! I would say the weather was definitely on our side. I partnered with my friend Sammy and we kayaked to "Bird Terd Rock" while singing and motivating each other the entire time. Like usual, we played Piano Keys which is where you try to switch with someone else in a different kayak while grabbing hold of each others kayaks in a drifting line. I switched twice yet still ended up in the same kayak. So, Team Shemmy (a name collaboration Sammy and I created) raced the boy cabin, Tsunami, back to shore for our next activity which was the Giant Swing.

The Giant Swing is probably my favorite activity. You put on an a harness that looks much like a pair of overalls. Once you're strapped in, your cabin pulls on a rope bringing you higher and higher into the air (or whatever height you're comfortable with). You let go of the rope your cabin is pulling on and you fly through the air like Tinkerbell! I love the dropping sensation and the rush of the wind in your face while floating through the air. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures... on my camera. So maybe I'll post those pictures once I get them from my friend who took pictures on her camera!

We gave a camp appreciation to Ooops and walked towards the Dining Hall for lunch. Before every meal, besides breakfast, Sammy always says, "I HOPE WE'RE HAVING MAC N CHEESE!". She successfully got the whole cabin into a huge craving for mac n cheese. We didn't have Mac N Cheese for lunch this time but we knew we were going to eat it either for dinner or sometime tomorrow! We headed back to our cabin for Quiet Hour which was the perfect time to plan out our skit for tonight. On the first day during the camp tour, we were given a box with mysterious props inside. Our props consisted of a huge collection of sailor hats so we wrote a poem with a shipwrecked theme to it and ended our skit with free styling to Rihanna.

We continued with our day and headed to Court Games. We decided to play Apples to Apple in the Dining Hall and finished the activity hoolahooping and played tether ball with the boy cabins until we had to leave for Notes. Every year we write to the sponsors of Camp Del Corazon telling them how much we appreciate camp. Last year I wrote EVERYTHING I could think of, taking up all the blank space available. This year I kept it simple with writing one paragraph and a camp appreciation to the sponsors.

During Court Games
We ran back to our cabins for shower hour and got ready for tonight's skit night. We first went to dinner, eating spaghetti instead of man n cheese. No worries, we still have many more meals to look forward to for some cheesy delciousness! Besides, this meal was so delicious I managed to grab seconds and be apart of the Clean Plate Club.

My peasants Dylan and Jarred ;)

Team Shemmy! 
Once dinner was over we rehearsed our skit one more time and headed towards the amphitheater for skit night! I don't know why I was so nervous for our skit. It was very simple and short there was nothing to be nervous about. Now that I think about, I'm nervous every year for skit night. Especially last year when I was rapping about the Wizard of Oz. Good times! We were one of the last cabins to perform since we were one of the older cabins and I think we did splendidly. I also give props to Senior 2, Clipper and Senior 3! Your skits were Hill-ARE-ee-US! It was a perfect way to end the night leading to cabin closing. My high of the day was the giant swing and once again I didn't have any lows!