Jack and I woke up this morning right outside of Mount Shasta in Northern California. It was our second night being officially back on the road. I’ll be honest, I was feeling a little more than apprehensive about going back on the road. Jack was all revved up at the end of our summer at YMCA Camp Seymour and ready to cram ourselves back in to the tiny old Honda Civic and go bother more camp directors. I had trouble understanding what made this trip different from the last one, why camp directors were going to be as welcoming and generous with two mooches when the mooches are not so innocent and as easily amazed as we were last time around. After spending a whole day packing and un packing the Honda trying to consolidate and down size our stuff I was feeling even more discouraged and disheartened. Then right as I dramatically collapsed on the ground amongst all of the stuff that Jack wanted to throw out, little 15 year old Katie Jackson bounded down the hill towards us. Katie is the Scotty, our Camp Director’s daughter and might be the most capable and nosiest 15 year old in the world. Jack and I both grew very fond of Katie this summer, she has an incredible way of relating both to campers and counselors and bridging that hard to navigate gap She also has a talent for roping those tough campers in and making them a success at camp. Making us feel comfortable and needed at camp this summer came easy to her and we owe a lot of our friends and connections to her. She came down the hill with a hugs and smiles and presents from the teens that I had the chance to work with this past spring. She also told us we were going out to dinner with her and Scotty (her dad and the Camp Director) and Diane (her mom, and the real boss). Can’t say no to that.
We ended up going to El Sombrero, the only place to eat on the Key Peninsula but also very fitting since it was also where we came to eat and drink margaritas with some Seymour staff back in November when we were convinced to work at Seymour. Scotty, Diane, Jack and I all ordered a beer that came in a giant mug with a lime on the lip. Between my parents leaving the day before after having visited for a week, my apprehension about the trip, and little sleep I was not feeling very talkative, rather mopey and a wee bit weepy. But here is where my mindset takes a turn, hearing the faith and praise from Scotty and Diane woke me right up. They seemed more on board with the trip and had more of a vision and image of where we were headed and why than I did. I mentioned that I was nervous that our “charm” of being clueless and therefore in awe, was less because of our new understanding of camps across the country. Diane disagreed, her thought was now people had more of an understanding of what we are looking for and they have more respect for the idea behind the project, the value in sharing and collecting information, stories and connections across the country. Scotty’s though was the same but said in Scotty fashion, now we can demand the VIP treatment from camps. They kicked us out of El Sombrero, I had so much fun talking, reliving the summer and getting stoked about this fall. As they tearfully dropped us back of at the top of camp I don’t think that they realized the complete turn around I had made or how much they had rekindled the fire to learn more and reach out to more fun camp people. Today we are headed to Camp Augusta, and the excitement of meeting Randy, a camp director we admire and have read a lot about has fully set in.