Tuesday July 19, 2011 – 7:40am – Back Porch of the Cafeteria at Camp Hardtner – Pollock, LA
Yes you heard right, I’m back at Hardtner! 🙂 My heart is so happy right now, you have no idea! When I knew I’d be stateside for Faith Camp, & I saw that the dates for Mid Hi were after that, I knew I had to come back again. Contacted Fr. Jeff Millican, an episcopal priest from NOLA, and he ok’d it and here I am! He’s the dean for this week, Middle High, which is for kids going into 9th & 10th grades. He’s also been doing camp staff for 10 years now, and I knew him from back when I was a counselor. FYI, “Camp Staff” is the group of adult volunteers that came in for that particular week and plan & execute the themes and content for the talks, family groups, etc…..
Rode up with him to Hardtner yesterday afternoon. Stopped in Elleck (Alexandria) to get our drug testing done and buy some snacks for the week. Got to camp around 5:30 and started getting settled in. Met Brahm Diaz’s mom, Adelaide, who is another one of our camp staffers. She was a counselor back in the 70’s, and has been very involved with camp over the years. (she’s done camp staff too). Brahm was one of my campers and the past few years he was a counselor, including 07-08, when I did my previous 2 years of camp staff w/Madre Annie Bates
So we basically got settled in our rooms, and just hung out the rest of the night. Fleshed out the theme for the week, “It’s the End of the World as we know it.” Got titles for each day as well as a few notes on what we’d like to talk about each day. Talked camp and life. Ate supper. A few of the counselors came by to say hi: Janey, Claire, Daniel Chapman (the head counselor), and Luke Miles. Saw Emma Benton at one point. Got to visit with Haley Harrington and Ashley Holliday when I went to the office later that night to use the wireless internet.
Got to visit with Pat Higgins (the camp director) as well. So many great things about yesterday, that I’ll finish up by mentioning my top two or three. Just being back for the first time in 3 years was awesome. I felt this odd mixture of feeling like i’d never left, as well as all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that flood you when you return to a favorite place. Yesterday Claire, one of the counselors and a former camper of mine, told me that I was one of her favorite counselors. That made my day. To know that an awesome Hardtner person, who loves camp as much as you do and is now a counselor, not only remembers you but also remembers you as their favorite counselor, is an amazing feeling. It makes my experience of Hardtner more complete. Makes you feel like you made a difference and did something right. I think I would just have to sum it all up by saying that Love is so tangible here at Hardtner. It hasn’t even been a full day since I arrived, and I can already tell it’s gonna be an awesome week.