|Appalachian Mountains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In 1985 I traveled to Montague, NJ, near the Delaware Water Gap, inside the Appalachian Mountains, to work at Trail Blazers Camp (TBC). Flying into New York City and then finding my way to the Port Authority bus terminal, and at last meeting my ride for the final bit of travel to the camp entrance was a true journey. We arrived late at night and the rolling hills were dark, barely populated with homes set back in the forest. As I laid down to sleep in the small cot of my temporary home I knew that I was changing. I could actually feel it happening. In a 12 hour period I had taken my first plane ride, navigated NYC (I am a directionally challenged person), and plopped myself into a job commitment that was going to require my terribly introverted self (like too scared to order pizza over the phone type shy) to lead groups of children through life in the woods for 30 days at a time!
There's so much that I learned at the camp, about nature and about myself. There is one moment though that shifted my perspective permanently. I was participating in the two week training program with the other counselors. Essentially, older wiser counselors, former camp directors, and seasoned trainers used their summer vacation to play in the woods and teach young and very green people like me how to feel confident in the woods, leading decentralized programming, under formidable and primitive living conditions, while singing songs and playing games. There was a lot to learn. Red efts, lashing our shelters together, cooking outdoors, tool safety, group motivation, and pyscho social needs of our at risk youth, who would be in our care for a month, all needed to be absorbed in 10 days. One evening after dinner every single counselor came for a talent show of sorts. The talents were fun games or sing-a-longs that would be good to use when the campers came. Everyone was supposed to get up and share something, in front of 30 other staff members. I had been a part of some great one-on-one conversations but the whole group? Heart racing. Gulp. Sweat. Yikes!
When it was my turn to share something, I dug deep. Somewhere in my past Girl Scouting history I'd seen a kooky dance/song that was an excuse for absurdity and silliness. It was so far out of my comfort zone but it was the only thing I could think of to do. I stood up, beet red, nervous,and without any introduction or explanation and shouted in a military cadence type chant:
"LET ME SEE YOU SHOOT THE MOON!
(shout back to me, "What's that you say?")
"I SAID LET ME SEE YOU SHOOT THE MOON!
(What's that you say?")
"I SAID LET ME SEE YOU SHOOT THE MOON! OOH AH AH (pointing gun fingers up at the moon)AH OOH AH AH (more gun fingers and quick spins like I'm in a gun fight) AH OOH AH AH AH OOH!"
Resume normal posture and begin again, "LET ME SEE YOU COCK A ROACH!" What's that you say?
"I SAID LET ME SEE YOU COCK A ROACH!" What's that you say? "I SAID LET ME SEE YOU COCK A ROACH!"
Drop to ground laying on my back, hands and feet in the air, like a large roach turned over on it's back side and wiggling. "OOH AH AH AH OOH AH AH AH OOH AH AH AH OOH!" There were about three other verses but you get the idea.
|teepee & kerosene lanterns|