Day #23

Up and Down, Up and Down…

I have titled tonight’s entry, ‘Up and Down, Up and Down’ for a couple of reasons. Most of them stem from the rollercoaster ride of a day I am now about to finish. Today was the kind of rollercoaster that you get on at the beginning, full of anticipation, ride, and don’t feel a thing until you get off again and feel the jelly in your legs as you try to walk away. You look behind you and see all of the climbs, falls, loops and turns and realize, damn, what a ride. Before I get on with what I have to say, I should just say that overall the ‘ups and downs’ weren’t particularly shocking today. They were more like a series of tiring and relentless hills, peaks and valleys.

The ‘up’ of the day was the morning. I managed to get myself to bed at a reasonable hour last night and had a wonderfully refreshing sleep. I woke up fresh and ready to go despite the fact it was yet again rainy, cold and windy. My morning with the little kids speed by at record pace. Nanajean and I put together a great morning for them. We started off by doing calendar, letter of the day and a story that they actually listened to! The story was about farm animals, and they were really into it. After finishing the story, we had them draw pictures of their favourite farm animals. This lasted for a significant amount of time, and we even convinced them to trace some words onto their paper for a little bit of writing practice. After this we did a couple of music things with them. Surprisingly they are starting to get a little bit more comfortable singing. We sang about the rain…’Rain Rain Go Away’ and ‘It’s Raining It’s Pouring The Old Man is Snoring’ where the songs of choice. Then I taught them how to play ‘Here Comes a Bluebird’, another Ms. Eyre classic! For those who don’t remember the song, here are the lyrics:

Here comes a bluebird, in through the window

Hey, diddle dum a-day-ay-ay

Take a little partner and hop in the garden

Hey, diddle dum a-day-ay-ay

The kids loved the song and the corresponding game and everyone was laughing and giggling despite the depressing weather outside. After the game we fed the snack and then engaged in a thrilling half hour of raft building! In the spirit of playing outside in the rain (we didn’t actually take them outside to play), I put on my crafting cap and created an on the spot raft building craft…I know, it’s about the closest to manual labour that I get…Anyway, we made popsicle stick rafts that are surprisingly sturdy and decorated flags for our masts. We anchored the masts to the popsicle sticks with plasticine. To finish off the morning I was privileged enough to be able to read Franklin’s Afraid of the Dark to the kids. I distinctly remember this book from my childhood, and I have to say that my character voices are pretty great haha!

After this perfect morning, I knew that things could not possibly last! But I suppose, in some ways they did…Our 10 & 11 year olds weren’t particularly bad this afternoon, they were just extremely tiresome. For some reason people started to revert back to their beginning of camp ways…Some kids stopped participating and refused to write things (which let me tell you is rather frustrating) and others were just looking to turn the classroom into a zoo! I managed to keep my cool, but wow, seriously, I was considering just curling up into a ball on the floor at one point…;) That being said, I did manage to get a chapter of one of my favourite Gordon Kormon books read to the kids…To some extent they actually listened to me…shocking actually haha…The next thing we did was head to the gym…It started out wonderfully…The kids challenged me to a race to the door of the school which I grudgingly accepted. I lost, almost wiped out in the mud, but managed to preserve my dignity! As we walked into the school I reminded the kids not to run ahead of me or to go into the gym until the lights were on…Of course, as they attempt every day, the kids tried to circumvent this rule…This time they were relatively successful and escaped into the gym before I could get the lights on. I was prepared to let this go until one of the kids decided that it would be a good idea to turn all of the lights off again after everyone was in and running around. In that space of time a couple of kids ran into each other (no injuries occured thankfully) and I was rather ticked because instead of just being annoying, this behaviour was somewhat dangerous. I had to call over my favourite male campers and use my ‘teacher’ voice to give them a series talk about endangering other people…The talk was not unsurprisingly met with little interest…Don’t worry, my feelings weren’t hurt too badly! I also made the mistake, during this little talk, to say the words ‘I like you guys’. I was immediately treated to a chorus of laughter from the boys and comments of ‘you’re a homo.’ At that point I just gave up…I finished my last sentance and then just did my best to get back to being a camp councillor, and not a teacher. Overall these are good enough kids, just sometimes they get a little out of hand…

The final part of afternoon camp was a visit from a band council representative. Thankfully the chief sent HP (Harry Papah) to speak with the kids. He is an enormous personality that is able to take over any room, especially one full of kids. He made sure to keep things interesting for our campers and always was able to rein them back in when things got a little crazy. All in all the kids did a pretty good job of listening…I wouldn’t exactly call them model students, but on the whole they at least did as well as I had expected.

After camp we took a brief two hour break until 7pm when Jenette and I trudged, through pouring rain and mud, back to the school to run a floor hockey night. We hadn’t really done a great job of advertising the evening, but fortunately/unfortunately we still had a fantastic turnout. At first we were happy with the large numbers of kids coming through the doors of the school, but it wasn’t long before we felt like we were sitting on a ticking time bomb, with now control over the fuse. We had a bunch of kids that we’d never seen before show up. This was positive because we got to make contact with a different group of kids, but it was also a bit nerve-racking. We didn’t have any sort of control over these kids, so we were at the mercy of their actions. The whole time I was worried that someone was going to lose a finger, eye or other appendage. I was also quite concerned about the possibility of a brawl breaking out. All it would have taken was one spark and the entire gym would have lit up into a fiery blaze of brawling pre-teen and teenage boys. At the end of the evening Jenette and I spent a good 20 minutes clearing the gym of all of the kids. They refused to leave and threatened to steal things, pull the fire alarm and fight us (mainly me…I’m such a huge fighter that I was considering taking them all on at once! Kidding…). It was certainly a trying experience, but I lived to tell the tale, so I suppose if there is a positive to take from it all, that is it.

I am now sitting calmly at our kitchen table, writing this blog post. My blood pressure has significantly dropped and I am now drifting towards a somewhat catatonic state. Jenette and I are definitely going to be enlisting some extra help for next week (if we give it another go).

The Pow wow officially starts tomorrow so that will be neat…We’re baking and ‘scavenger hunting’ with the kids tomorrow, so wish us luck!

Thanks again for reading my ramblings, it’s great to have someone to write to!

–Be kind to each other and don’t fall down…

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