week nine: “aren’t the mafia the ones who drive buggies and don’t use electricity? no wait, that’s the amish.”

well, to no one’s surprise, week nine absolutely flew by. looking back, i can’t believe that it’s been over a week since i welcomed them into the miami cabin with nate and they became part of the brotherhood of the miami gentlemen.

we started off the staff meeting with days of elijah, a definite crowd favorite. i love it because it always reminds me that, even though sometimes we get stuck in the day to day frustrations, God has already won everything. and we are His, which means He’s defeated everything so that we don’t have to worry about it.

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then the guys arrived! i could tell right away that it was an awesome group. lots of different kinds of personalities, but they were all really excited to be there. they seemed to warm up to nate and i pretty quickly too.

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for the final opening campfire the guys wanted to dress up as a variety of things, so we finally settled on a group of pajama-wearing nap attackers, who also sometimes looked like ninjas. we would find unsuspecting groups and go fall asleep on them.

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there were many creative cabins there for week nine. creek and chickasaw came as a roller coaster, which i’d never seen before.

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then at the campfire tom and mike had gone with the always-classic seaworld theme, doing their whale-training dance and everything. kickapoo even had a mini orca that performed tricks for everyone. it was quite the show.

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everyone was excited about week nine. on monday we got to catch a glimpse of some jedi warriors.

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someone even found a baby bird out in the field, and it didn’t mind hanging out with us all at camp.

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clinics were great this week. i got to teach hip hop with fizz and kevyn, which was basically the most fun thing ever. the kids were awesome and pretty much everyone was excited about everything we were doing.

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i got to finish out the year with mountaineering as well, which was a blast with matt and nick. we had some great campers, and almost all of them climbed all the walls. we even had someone touch the owl up at the top of nub town!

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we did tons of fun stuff with the cabin this week too. on monday we went on a hike to the ghost cabin, which a lot of them had been asking about. it was pouring rain, but that really just added to the mystery. our friends from the mohawk cabin joined us, and it was a blast.

we ended up doing lots of stuff with mohawk that week, and it was so much fun to see them all basically adopt each other as fellow miamihawks. i got to develop some really great friendships with some of them too.

usually nate goes on the trailrides with the guys, but this week he let me do it. it was awesome! the boys were really excited.

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i walked alongside them as we traveled through the pine forest. for three of them, it was the first time they’d ever ridden a horse, and they were super psyched.

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it was a blast. i love seeing kids get so excited when they get to spend time with God’s creation. some marveled over the size of their horse, others couldn’t get enough of the pine forest, and they all thought it was hilarious and disgusting when they got to see a horse go to the bathroom.

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we also did the optimist challenge this week. we teamed up with the ladies of delaware cabin and had everyone pick a partner from the opposite cabin. i wasn’t sure at first if it would work out smoothly with some of my guys, but it was actually really cool to see everyone working together. i think kids surprise themselves with how well they help others and how much help they need on this thing. it’s definitely a favorite of mine.

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the week was also filled with lots of lasts. we had our last goldrush:

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the last breakfast in bed (which we had to start calling breakfast-on-the-porch):

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the last massive hot dog cookout:

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and the last friday themed dinner. this week the theme was the oscars, and so everyone dressed up (some as celebrities, some as announcers, some as people watching from home, and some as the red carpet). throughout dinner we handed out awards to the best dressed and best look-alikes. one of the guys from my cabin was awarded the oscar for best-dressed male! he was pretty psyched.

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there were lots of pictures taken because there’s a lot of love at camp, especially on friday of week nine.

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the last campfire happened too. it was so much fun… the brads and beccas did the arustasha song.

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hip hop performed like a boss:

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and i got my green jacket! it’s an honor given for counselors who have completed their third year, and it’s a really nice gesture. plus the jacket is super comfortable. so that’s a plus.

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it feels weird to think that i’ve been working at camp for three years. part of me thinks that can’t be right because i only started working at the beginning of the summer, but the other part of me feels like i’ve been working for my whole life. camp is weird sometimes like that. and beautiful sometimes like that.

and then, as always, it was the last of the goodbyes to campers. it was especially sad this week, because these guys were so great. it seems like on saturday any frustration or exhaustion you’ve felt over the course of the past week kind of slips away and you’re left with just the things you’ll miss about each kid.

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these guys are the reason i come to camp. and they are the reason i will keep coming back.

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