Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mentor Camp: Day 2

I awake at 6:30am (technically I woke up at 5:45am and stayed in bed waiting for 6:30am). I got up off the cot I'd slept in at the nurses office and was relieved that the nausea had passed. Now I had 30 minutes before camp started to get my luggage out of my car and into my cabin. Jessica helped me figure out which cabin I was in and a Mentor Coach named Greg walked with me to the cabin so I didn't get lost. Tired, freezing cold, and very hungry I pulled my pillow, suit case, and bathroom bag out of the trunk of my car int he designated parking area and rolled it up the steps and across the small bridge to Cabin 6.

I dumped it all in front of the empty bottom bunk at and started ransacking my suitcase for clean clothes. I made my way to the girl's bathroom/showers and changed in a bathroom stall. The bathroom at this point was filled to capacity with teens shouting, "Are you almost done! I want my turn!" Only 4 showers. Only 5 minutes granted to take one. I skipped it. Just put on new clothes and made my way outside. 

I thought we'd eat breakfast first. But the mentors and mentees were quickly herded into an open baseball field. We got into single-file lines based on what cabin we were in. Then it was time for morning stretches. This lasted about 20 minutes. I was worried I would either get sick again or pass out given I essentially hadn't had food since lunch time the previous day. But by some miracle, I felt pretty good. My hands were numb and in pain because of the cold, but otherwise I was feeling pretty energized and ready to go. 

I thought we would have to do the morning run, but in the middle of stretches the mentors were tapped and brought away to the beginning of the start line for the race. We were told we would be placed along the race line at specific points and we were planted there to encourage the kids on as they did their run. So we were led up the steep, woven path through the trees until an open spot became available and mentor after mentor was planted in place. It's really hard to cheer on a bunch of teens you don;t know who are running down a path you've only seen 30% of at 7:30am in the morning.

When the last of the teens went by the mentors followed and slowly accumulated at the end of the pack. We then proceeded to run the rest of the race -alongside the slowest mentees at the end. It was a pretty hard track to run -and pretty dangerous if you consider all the downhills covered in loose gravel and the random roots of trees peaking up underfoot that we had to run over.

We made it to the end of the line and it was breakfast time. Sausage, home-style potatoes, and a some hot chocolate. I didn't trust eating a banana. Then at 9am it was "course room" time. The heads of the program spoke on a couple of principles they wanted the kids to know/understand. I think they covered "Player v. Opponent" at that time. 

-Player = Positive Internal Thoughts (a.k.a. You're True, Virtuous Self)

-Opponent = Negative Internal Thoughts (a.k.a. You're Nagging Doubts and Viceful Tendencies)

My mentees were forced to sit by me -otherwise neither of them wood have and they would have clustered together with their friends. They were both bored, uninterested, and kept asking, "When is this over?",  "What's after this?, and "When's lunch?" (I found the last one amusing since we had just had breakfast).

At around noon we were given 30 minutes to eat lunch in the cafeteria. Lunch of course consisted of the only thing lunches ever consist of: sandwiches. I ate mine and got another hot chocolate. I sat with my mentees and their 4 friends. The girls were all complaining that the course room sucked, they didn't like sandwiches, and none of them were going to participate on the upcoming ropes course.

At 12:30pm we were piled into the back of a van and driven down the road to the base of Gulch Road. From there, across the street, I could see a clearing in the woods and knew that was the path we were going to have to go down to get to the ropes course. The 7 girls stayed in the group and talked amongst themselves as more mentees and mentors were brought in vans from the camp to the spot. Then we were finally led across the street, separated into groups of 3, and taken to the different ropes course stations. The first station involved walking across a tight rope 5 feet off the ground while holding onto a long rope tied to the tree you start walking from to get to the one across the way. We were all "spotters" for the person walking. About 70% of the mentees made it across. Both my girls tried, but neither one made it. I was kind of impressed. Out of the 7 girls, only 1 refused to walk across the tight rope. She was pretty stubborn, and firm in her position -even though she went out of her way to coax her friends into walking the rope.

Then came station 2. Between 2 trees were placed 2 large beams -one was 30 feet up and the other 60 feet up. On the left tree were steps leading up to both beams. The mentees were harnessed in and tied to a tether so if they fell they'd be ok. Out of our group of 15 mentees, the first 8 went quickly and nervously up the trees -a few even making up all the way up to the highest beam. Then to my amazement my mentee Alicia climbed to the 30 foot beam, walked all the way across, touched the tree on the other side, and then jumped down. Meanwhile my second mentee wouldn't go up and the girl who had refused the first tight rope only walked up the steps towards the first beam, then backed down and decided not to go for it. All in all I was impressed that all the mentees and participated on some level during the ropes course despite initially saying they wouldn't at all.

At 5pm we rode cramped in the back of a van back up to camp. I thought it would be dinner time. Nope. It was course room time again. The course room session lasted from 5:15pm-6:30pm and in my eyes was a complete waste of time. ALL the mentees were tired, falling asleep, hungry, and unfocused. Justin Timberlake could have been performing in front of them and they wouldn't have given a damn. Everything went in one ear and out the other. The only thing of worth was the beginning of the session when mentors AND mentees were allowed to stand up and acknowledge someone in the room. Some mentors commended their mentees on the things they achieved during the ropes course and some mentees got up and thanked mentors and fellow mentees for supporting them.

Then it was dinner time and spaghetti was served -which pleased everyone greatly. The girls asked what was going to happen after dinner and I said, "More course room stuff". They groaned so loudly... And started complaining about course room and saying they were tired and that it was boring. I on the other hand was focused on eating dinner quickly, heading up to the cabin, and taking a shower. We were only given 1 hour to eat and do anything else. I had 30 minutes to plop in and out of the bathroom and get back to the course room on time.The bathroom was crowded and showers were already filled. I panicked a little bit, but then a shower opened up and it was go time! It's like those team members who change the wheels during a Nascar race. I was in and out in about 8 minutes. Then I bolted back to course room with 5 minutes to spare. I felt so much better and more awake. 

Then from 8pm -11pm course room continued and different lessons were taught to the teens. I think at this point they covered. The Morning Run. They had the teens draw a map of the race track as they could remember it and what their pace was over the run (whether they were running or walking). Then they were asked to write words by their "walking" and their "running" paces stating what their internal thoughts were. "Why did you start walking here?" Most of the thoughts were: "I'm sore." "I'm tired." "I don't want to do this..." But listening to the reasons for "running" were pretty interesting. "Well I was walking but then Frank caught up to me and I didn't want him to make fun of me for being slow so I started running." The thoughts were then put into categories called "AM" or "FM" thoughts. AM = Against Movement, FM = Forward Movement. Which thoughts motivate you and which thoughts stop you. 

During this entire lesson my 2 mentees proceeded to pass notes to their friends sitting nearby, widdle their hair in the hands, stair up at the ceiling... and when it came time to write about their run in their journals, my mentee Alicia kept redrawing the path over and over on several pieces of paper trying to fill time. She took FOREVER!!! to write down her pace. She kept asking, "What are we supposed to be doing?" Not out of genuine interest, but because she either didn't know what was happening because she hadn't been listening or what seemed to be more of the case just wanted to bide time or get someone else to basically do it for her.

In honesty, I became somewhat disappointed in, annoyed with, and tired of Alicia. It just bothers me when people act like that. She acts "practical" minded and silently judges anyone who does anything different by mentally calling them "weird" or "uncool" but giver her an assignment that involves adding 2+2 to equal 4 and she'll look at you like you just asked her to figure out the circumference of the planet Jupiter. You can't act like you know everything and then act like you know nothing and expect me to believe you in either way. And you have a BRAIN. A God-given, full functional brain. Stop acting like you're stupid or inarticulate. 

UGGGHHHHZZZZZ!!! For the first 3 hours I just accepted this pattern, but after about 7 hours in the course room with this behavior coming up over and over again for each and every writing assignment... It got old. Very quickly. 

Then at 10:45pm were told we had 15 minutes before lights out. Get your P.J.s on and go to sleep. It was at this point my mentees told me they planned to take a shower. OK... "It better be a fast one." 

I proceeded to make my bed, with my many many layers of warm bed sheets. I slept wonderfully and was warm and completely unconscious throughout the night. A complete 180 from my first night. So ended Day 2: Saturday.

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