Tuesday 26 January 2010

Cedarwood Memories Episode 1

If there's one thing I've realized, it's that 14 years is enough time for a lot of pretty strange, weird, and funny things to happen, especially when you work at a place like Cedarwood. As a storyteller, and yes the trait runs in my family, I can sit for hours sharing tales from the past; I think it's actually how people best get to know me. Stories are a way to start conversation, and since that's what this blog is ultimately about, I think it's time to start sharing some stories from the place I love the the most.

I own a strobe light. I bought it from Radio Shack when I was somewhere around 14 years old. I don't think I ever would have imagined the use I'd put it through in the next 20 years- insane strobe light dodgeball, making movies with my brothers, and of course entertaining my campers at Cedarwood.  I was a cabin counselor from 1996-1998, and somewhere within that timeframe I realized the fun that could be had with a strobe light.  I've always had the philosophy that camp should be fun; every part of camp, from wake up to sleep.  There are many different kinds of fun, but I truly believe that making something fun is a very tangible way of showing love; demonstrating that you value someone enough to make the effort in even the most mundane tasks.

Nighttime at camp is always such a balance as you want to settle your campers down so they sleep, while still squeezing that last bit of energy out of them so they are actually able to settle down. With that said, it's well known that I prefer to entertain in a way that induces belly aching laughter, and then soothe to sleep with a guitar and song. The first part is where the strobe light came in.  It's amazing how funny it can be for campers to watch their counselor going crazy in front of a strobe light- lunging at them with fists flying (not making contact of course), throwing things unexpectedly at them, or just acting insane.  I did all of those things, usually followed by laughter and maybe just a tiny bit of healthy fear.

One particular night I was entertaining my cabin by randomly throwing things at them with the strobe light going, but the problem was that these guys were smart.  They quickly figured that if they held on to whatever I threw instead of throwing it back I'd run out of ammo.  This was the case as I threw a pillow at one of the boys and realized I had nothing left to throw, until I had a bright idea. I would throw my shirt at him!  It was the perfect plan....

There I stood in the middle of the room with the strobe light flashing, and as I took off my shirt and swung it over my head to get some momentum, the door suddenly opened.  Colin, another one of our summer staff, stood there momentarily in shock trying to process what he was seeing, and I quickly realized why.  Ben standing in middle of room wearing only boxers, swinging his shirt over his head, under the flashing of a strobe light. 

Colin left the room as quickly as he entered and I was left with a group of now howling campers and the knowledge that I had a whole lot of explaining to do the next day.

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