I’m sitting in the darkened Camp Bernstein hut as the sun rises outside, listening to NPR and writing this update. There are few moments here at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp that one can truly feel alone, and breakfast security is one of those times. The entire camp is at breakfast, save the few counselors who have been held back in the unit for “security.” It is mostly just a time to clear one’s head and answer phones if necessary.
I wrote a blog post every day in June, but took a break from daily writing in July in August in order to soak up as much experience as possible while at Blue Lake.
With only six days of camp left, I want to start putting my learned experiences down on paper. I want to go through the process of reflection, summary, and thematic discovery. I also just want to write down some of my favorite memories about camp.
Living on camp, in the middle of the forrest with limited access to electronics and the internet, with constant connection to music and young people, has been an incredible growing experience for me. Here are a few things I’ve learned (in no particular order).
- FLOW (how to move from one task to another while maintaining balance and ease of work)
- How to steal moments for relaxation
- Communication without a cell phone (loved it)
- How to (un)clog a toilet
- How to fall into a rhythm of a new job assignment quickly
- Teaching an 11 day class to 11 children
- Engage 12 year olds in music history, violin sectionals, and cabin orientations
- How to sing dozens of camp songs (LOTS about this)
- How to learn names quickly
- How to sight read Brahms
- Live and love the weather, not thinking about it judgmentally or trying to anticipate it
- How to get the attention of a group
- How to clean a table with a group
- How to challenge children to be their best
- So many jokes/riddles/games
- How to gently remind, not scold
- How to talk to one person while being talked to by six (or more)
- How to share myself without oversharing
- A goodnight routine
- Setting up a chore chart that campers buy into
- Communicating only what is necessary, very quickly
- Working with the beginner as an expert
I can’t wait to publish my new understand. And with six days of camp left, I’m still learning and processing them in real time. All I know at this point is I’m a better teacher and person for working at this camp. It is an experience I recommend for anyone who plans to go into the field of education.