Saturday, July 16, 2016

The News from Magruder 7/10-16 (featuring guest blogger Rikki Earle)

This week, we asked Resource Staff member, Rikki Earle to be a guest blogger and talk about the week from her perspective.  

This was our second program week of the summer, we had first grade all the way up through high school. The weather proved its unpredictability this week with a mix of drizzly rain, the kind that is just enough to be annoying and cover your glasses with rain drops. We also had some days full of sunshine. Sunday came with much excitement for us staff. The check in process has changed a lot since I was a camper. It is smoother now, but there was always something exciting about waiting and watching your friends drive into the grass, unloading their gear and running to meet each other in the center of the field.

I worked a lot with the Mini Camp; first and second graders sure are a crack up. It made me realize how much I missed being the dean. That age is a ton of fun to work with; they are so curious and energetic about everything. I think secretly I was happy to hand the reins over to someone else. A lot of work goes into planning and leading a camp, I don’t know that I would have had the time or energy to plan a week worthy enough for the campers.

Along with program camps we had a few retreat groups join us. Camp Grandma was here the first half of the week. Different from the Grand Camps we host, this was just one family. The grandparents are from Bay City and they take their 5 grandkids for a week of the summer. This year they decided to come to Magruder. I was on the water trampoline with them for a while, Andrea and 4 of the kids came out and were all jumping together. Well, it was more like the boys were jumping and the girls were trying to stay on their feet. It was so cool to see the pure love they all have for each other, some of the kids are from Washington and some are from California. Even though they don’t live close to each other, the relationships they have with one another are strong. I’m sure that has something to do with Andrea and the trips she takes them all on. It’s nice to see this place I have called home for so long help connect family members that live in different places.

After Camp Grandma left, a new group came in called Camp More. This is their very first year as a camp group. Camp More is a group designed to empower teens who stutter to find their voice and use it more, as well as building more self-confidence. I spent a lot of time on the trampoline so it should come as no surprise that I was out there for a while with Camp More. I was talking to this one young lady about her goals and plans for the future. The passion and dedication I could see in her during our conversation was empowering. She is going into her senior year of high school and has more figured out for herself than I did when I was a senior. I told her that I was studying communications and special education and she made a comment about becoming an SLP (speech and language pathologist). It’s never good to put ideas in my head like that; I’m apt to change my degree plan for the 6th time.

Making connections was a hope I had for myself at the start of this week. Connecting with people and building relationships is really something that drives me and gives me a feeling of purpose. We had a lot of people come through our gates this week. I think that’s really the beauty of being involved in a camp and retreat center, knowing that this is a meeting place for so many different people and groups. We are able to bring people back together as well as help facilitate the growth of new relationships. 
Rikki is a second year summer staffer, who has also been a camper, counselor, and camp dean. If you visit Magruder this summer you may find her lifeguarding, leading challenge course, waxing poetic about Harry Potter, or singing the Stegosaurus Song.

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