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Category Archives: Girl Scouts

Encampment

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I know I haven’t been around much lately, but most of June was a blur for me because of this place. Please enjoy a brief photographic essay on Girl Scout Outreach Day Camp. (Special shout out goes to Miss Sara Marksberry – my trusty side-kick through the somewhat rocky but always entertaining 2nd week!)

 

In the dining hall – one of the things I love about the camp is the advanced age of many of the structures. Makes me feel like I’m in The Parent Trap. (You know, the real one with Hayley Mills.)

 

One day for lunch we were served hot dogs. On hamburger buns. I understand that they are the same as a hot dog buns only in a different shape (like spaghetti and penne). But try explaining that with any success to a picky 6 year old who is already leery of the “burn marks” on the nicely grilled dog.

 

During our second week the camp ranger was setting this up for a group coming in the week after us. We had no idea that we owned such a thing. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I think we might be requesting this next year. I think it would make an excellent home base for the directors :).

 

One thing at lunch that nearly everyone ate happily. I say nearly everyone because I don’t particularly like watermelon. (Please send your hate mail to KimKnowsSheIsUnamericanForDislikingWatermelonAndChocolate@yourmom.com)

 

Ahh- tie dye. The craft I have a love-hate relationship with. I run the tie dye station every year. And every year I HATE tie dye while I’m setting up the gallons of water that must be carried from the dining hall out to the picnic tables and mixing the endless bottles of dye which gets EVERYWHERE and soaking and wringing out hundreds of t-shirts in the soda ash solution that dries out my hands and comforting a panicked child who just got dye on her pants after she was REPEATEDLY warned not to walk around the table with the dye bottle in hand and finally convincing skeptical girls to WEAR GLOVES only to watch them take the gloves off when finished with their shirt and then dip their hands into the puddles of dye leftover on the tables because it “looked fun”. And then the next day I start to forget all of that and begin daydreaming about what dye designs I’ll use next year. And when next year rolls around I’ll sign up for the fun all over again.

 

This long and painstaking process which results in to weeks during which we bus girls out to the wilds of camp from their city neighborhoods is so involved and full of stories that I can’t even begin to chronicle it all here. But I will leave you with my most potent memory of camp this year – what will affect ME (not just the Work Me). This year we had a very high number of girls who came to camp without something important that they needed. Particularly bathing suits and/or shorts. A tiny little fire cracker of a girl named London told me she forgot her suit the first day so I gave her some shorts and a shirt we had in our “extras” stash to swim in that first day. The next day she told me she forgot her suit AND the clothes I had given her and could she please have some more clothes to swim in. After some digging we learned that she didn’t just forget her suit – she doesn’t own one. We were able to get her a suit on the third day and when I called her over to give it to her she took one look at it and screamed. “Its PINK! And I can keep it?!?” I nodded yes and the smile she flashed actually gave me goosebumps. She attacked me with a bear hug adding, “my momma’s gonna be SO happy!”

While London’s reaction was by far the most dynamic, her situation was not particularly unique. We’d notice a girl wearing heavy, too-big jeans (the same pair each day) in 90 degree heat and find out from her leader that she also didn’t bring a bathing suit. We’d investigate and learn that she doesn’t own a suit OR shorts. In every case we were able to provide the missing clothing article and allow the girls to feel normal – one of the group. Perhaps the most striking situation we had like this was that of Maria. She was about 6 years old, face-meltingly adorable, enthusiastic, teensy-tiny, and spoke very broken English. She came to camp the first day (90 degree high) wearing a a school uniform shirt, school uniform pants, and heavy sneakers that were at least twice as big as her actual feet. We asked her if she had shorts or a t-shirt she could wear the next day but we weren’t sure how much she was comprehending. The next day she arrived wearing the same shoes and pants and, instead of a short sleeved uniform shirt she wore a long sleeved turtle neck. We found shorts and a t-shirt for her. And this sort of thing just kept happening – at a rate about 9 times higher than in previous years.

Randy and I were discussing this trend, these girls, and I told him about one of our volunteers who helped us get many of the bathing suits we handed out. She is involved in her city community center and with various social programs where she routinely encounters kids who don’t have basic stuff they need (proper shoes, bathing suit, shorts etc.). So she makes it a point in her everyday life to look for kids and teen bathing suits (among other items) at yard sales and thrift stores and whenever she finds them she buys them all up, takes them home and washes them, and maintains a stash to pull from whenever she finds a kid who needs something. We were bowled over by how amazingly simple but potentially life changing this one little act could be. Sure, a bathing suit doesn’t sound life changing at first gander. But think about it. Think about being a kid. At a community center with a pool. And you have no bathing suit. Many pools have rules against wearing street clothes in the water. So you’re out. Ineligible. You will miss out on all of those experiences so fundamental to childhood in the summer. You will feel alienated and deprived. You will feel different. When you think about it like that, a bathing suit can be life changing. And it just takes someone like me, who makes enough money to  buy a bathing suit AND a pool membership AND a trip to Florida to spend pocket change and spare time to make it happen. My question to myself is: Why would I NOT do something like this?!?

Simon Commands You

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There is a force in every child’s life- a force which is almost more powerful than nature itself. And that force is called Simon. No matter the neighborhood or socio-economic status, the Word of Simon is obeyed without question by every child within earshot. And so, my colleagues and I have learned to harness the almighty power of Simon to use as a tool in our group management arsenal.

We have other tools to get the girls’ attention and cooperation: “clap once if you can hear my voice…clap two times if you can hear my voice”….and so on until everyone is listening or “Hey Hey Girl Scouts!”….(hopefully followed by a chorus of “Hey Hey Miss Kim!”). But none work as unfailingly as The Word of Simon. “Simon says, put your hand on your head. Simon says, wave to your neighbor. Simon says, put you hand on your shoulder. Simon says, put your hand over your mouth and listen to these instructions.” Its effectiveness is actually quite amazing. Its like the girls don’t have a choice – they are compelled to do whatever Simon tells them, whether they want to or not.

My colleagues and I have been tapping into Simon’s incredible power for years now, but we just stopped to marvel at it this week. It really never fails us. The room may have dissolved into utter pandemonium – crayons flying, shrieks and giggles filling the air – but if Simon’s Word comes down, the compliance is swift and unyielding. No one is immune – from the super distracted child who is sitting on the floor picking crayon shavings out of the carpet to the tough-girl who is impressed by nothing and already thinks of us as “the man” at 7 years old. Everyone drinks Simon’s kool-aid. I almost feel guilty for unleashing something so powerfully mind-controlling. Almost.

Its Gotten Completely Out of Hand

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FAQ

Q: Since you work for Girl Scouts, do you get free cookies???

A: NO. And there is no secret stash in the office supply closet, either.

 

Q: Do YOU sell Girl Scout cookies? Can I order a box????

A: NO. Adults do not sell Girl Scout cookies (at least they’re not supposed to!). But I have been around a LOT of girls this year who do. And I have been a good customer. A little too good for my waistline.

Cycle Days 10 &11: There’s Life Outside of Fertility Treatments!?

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Cycle Days 10 & 11 – Thursday and Friday, February 10 & 11

So it turns out there is life outside of fertility treatment – who knew? Jobs, craft deadlines, housework, and family/friend events march on despite the inconvenience it causes me – the nerve! Actually, being busy is good. Any amount of time I’m thinking about something OTHER than follicles, eggs, embryos, hormone levels, pregnancy symptoms, injections, ultrasounds, etc. is vital to my sanity right now. So after a very brief treatment update (not much new to report) I am going to actually post about the other stuff going on these days!

TODAY’S IVF FUN FACT

Once your follicles and hormone levels progress to a certain point, you have to keep a tight reign on them, because they just may go rogue and decide to mature TOO fast. Enter Ganirelix – another nightly injection that keeps me from ovulating too soon (remember this in a few days when I talk about the injection I will take to induce ovulation). I added Ganirelix to my nightly cocktail Thursday – and other than itchiness at the injection site it doesn’t change much about the routine. I will be taking Ganirelix every night until its time for the ovulation induction.

 

Okay – on to regular life!

I finished the Cookie Monster hat I custom made for Tricia and I LOVE it!

 

Randy and I started a low carb, high lean protien, low fat diet and pictured above is my first ever Chipotle order that wasn’t of the burrito persuasion. My order: salad with grilled chicken, onions, and peppers, corn and tomato salsa, and a sprinkling of cheese. I brought Greek yogurt with me to sub for the sour cream. Although it was no burrito, it was much better than what I had been eating this week. Upon reflection, Randy and I have decided that life without bread is not worth living. That particular diet lives no more under our roof.

 

We started our program at another school this week – a school housed in an amazing old building that I hope to document through many more photos of over the coming weeks. I will leave you with my new favorite quote – overheard in the 4th/5th grade group this week:

Girl A: I can’t believe he kicked you in the knee!

Girl B: I know. But the next time I see him I’m gonna kick him right in the peeny-wacker!

Dog Day: Photo #365

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For the last installment of the 365 days of photos I thought about doing something momentous or deeply meaningful or ironic. But then I saw a girl at school today drawing a weiner dog wearing a detective hat and I knew that its cuteness it would trump all those ideals.

Just Say No: Photo #364

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For their service project, the girls at a middle school where we work decided to write and shoot an anti-drug video/slideshow. This is a dramatization of the deal going down. I was super nervous that a teacher would walk by at this moment and seriously get the wrong idea. Actually, maybe approving this project this wasn’t such a great idea…

Cone Zone: Photo #351

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My reason for getting out of bed and going to a particularly hectic school every Thursday 🙂