Friday, April 8, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/3-9

Hoping for a week as gorgeous as last week would have felt a little greedy, but somehow this week was even more beautiful. We saw even sunnier skies and felt even warmer temperatures. There's something intoxicating about a warm-up. You notice the smells of the evergreens more distinctly. You roll your sleeves up to feel the sun on your arms, even if you know you're risking sun burn. The bird songs are crisper. Bugs have awakened to get to the important work of pollinating.

On the mornings of weeks like this, I just want to go running to everyone I can find, asking something like, "Can you believe this weather?" Look at the ways the ocean, the mountains, the lake, the trees look different. Something about feeling this awakening even changes your eyes. It's like we just got our lens prescription updated. 

For most of this week, I've been preparing for Counselor & Dean training, which is happening this weekend. Later this evening, we'll host many of the leaders who will be making this summer happen at Latgawa, Magruder, and Suttle Lake. For most people, training does not inspire very much excitement, because unfortunately many training or ower point slides, acronyms, and mostly one-sided discussions. I've spent a lot of time exploring the quest of making training enjoyable, for it to be this thing that leaves people more inspired to do the work they're training for. 

As teachers, I think our most important job is to make the students fall in love with the subject matter. If they fall in love, they'll do most of the work for us. They'll look up internet articles into the night, promising themselves to just read this last one, then go to bed. They'll travel to a convention for this thing, knowing that most people don't realize it has a following enough to warrant a convention. They will even become more responsible, showing up for meetings, getting paperwork filled out--all if we can just communicate why you should be in love with it. Just pass along that passion. Put them in your head and heart, let them see what you see and make it their own thing.

I remember a counselor training I attended when I was first learning. I remember a game we played trying to carry little cups of water from one end of the field to the other without spilling them or getting them knocked out. I recall how free I felt running on that warm day, everyone so playful, like we were tapping into a childhood spirit we might have been losing touch with. Later that day, while hanging out with staff, the Recreation Director said, "Troy, has anyone ever told you that you're awesome." No one had. 

I didn't even realize it, but I was falling in love with camp. I was finding a place for myself, I was realizing all the ways it was good for me and I was good for it. By the time I realized just how much I was in love with it, I was deeply hooked. Like many camp people, I looked for ways to come back, unconcerned I wouldn't make as much money. I wanted to know everything I could, do the best I could, improve on it, teach it. 

One evening this week, low tide synced up with the sunset, and I went out to experience them dancing together. I sat next to the cross watching walkers and their dogs, seagulls, the marine layer rolling in from the ocean. As the sun disappeared on the horizon, I walked down to the surf to stand next to the water. I let the cold ocean water come in and roll over my feet as the sky turned more and more to gray. 

I noticed a middle-schooler with Outdoor School come out from the South Entrance and sit where I had just been sitting. I made my way back to check and see what he was up to. He had left his group a little upset, needing to be alone. He was thinking about a lot of things. I talked to him for a minute, hoping to offer some perspective, some comfort. I told him  that things wouldn't always be the way they are. We talked more about what he enjoyed doing, about his week, about why people do what they do, about how calming the sound of the ocean can be.

Before I had a chance to say he should probably get back with the group, UGA, one of the Outdoor School staff showed up, walkie-talkie in hand, relieved he had found him. I had asked him if he had told a leader what happened yet. He said he had not, but as they walked back, I could tell he was
telling UGA what had been going on. I hope as he wrestles with life more, the things he's in love with are more powerful than the things that cause him pain. I hope our conversation helped him find that a little bit more.

This is the family business we find trusted to us in this line of work. We are to be in love, to take in the beauty, the bigness of this place. Then we are to take it and share it with as many people as we can. I hope we continue to teach, that we continue honing the craft of falling in love with life.

In addition to our Counselor & Dean Training this weekend, we are also hosting an Adventist Young Adult Retreat and the Boy Scout Cascade Pacific Counsel Adult Training. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend. 

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