27 July 2008

The Chickens Are Restless

Weeks ago, my counselors, like so many Far Side chickens, started getting restless. I will spare you (for mainly legal reasons) the stuff they pulled. Regardless, you are required (where you = Rosh Eidah), to plan fun activities for your counselors. Even if some of them are so poorly behaved and generally unstellar*, you = Rosh Eidah, must be FUN! HAPPY! and UNFLAGGINGLY POSITIVE!

So, I booked a group climb on the Odyssey, this big wood-and-ropes-and-cables thing that is, as you will see, a recipe for disaster. After I booked the Odyssey, however, there was a change in camp plans. "Early to Bed!" we shouted from the rooftops. "Get to sleep when your kids do," we proclaimed. "Cancel your staff bonding," I was told. Sadly, I called off the fun. "No fun for you," I said. And like the Soup Nazi's methodology predicted, fun was most definitely not had.

Hello. I am the Odyssey.
I may look like fun, but I am, in reality, a recipe for disaster.

I rescheduled the staff Odyssey for 2nd session, which was sad because my first-session-only staff member missed her chance, but happy because another, less delightful counselor, had left the day before. It was Monday night. Most people hate Mondays. I cheer from the rooftops, as the counselors that are not off on Mondays are the hardest-working, least-negative, and generally most awesome people on this lovely green earth (see asterisk).

Monday afternoon comes, and the camp's 5K gets canceled due to a very large and unsightly thunderstorm. I was up and down, left and right, in and out, trying to get kids out of the way of some really mean lightening. Then, I had to deal with a big camper issue. Issue in order, I proceeded to all-camp shira / songfest, and afterwards to the babysitting center at camp, where we were hosting the peulat erev / evening program. Cutting it close, as we often do, we managed to parse the program time down so that the kids were in their bunks, getting ready for a few scanty minutes before the staff was supposed to be off to the Odyssey. The entire camp was dripping with moisture.

Caution! Slippery when wet!

I made my way down to the dark Odyssey pit, chattering with the tower staff. We had Daniel, Rosh Daniels (a group of useful non-bunk staff at camp, meaning they live in hotels and pitch in a lot), and two of my own staff members to run us through the course. As I put on my harness, I was reminded of my days as an occasional rappelling counselor at CBR, Your Mountain Of Fun! (Fun Not Included For Staff Members). When Daniel tightened my harness, however, I was left with a terrible sensation. My one butt had been separated into four distinct sections. Harnesses are not flattering!

My staff trickled in, and we gathered a group of 7 of us, plus my male tower counselor, to go on the top of the Odyssey. The rest of the program was a blur of slipping, sliding, grabbing, squealing, huffing, puffing, smiling (that was my most smiley counselor). All I know is this: the tower was wet, at least one of my staff eschews deodorant, I have fairly good balance, and getting across a wire maze up at like 30 feet is a special task.

The offending wires, and the wooden bars that made half of my trip possible.

After getting across the first section, tied tightly (and sort of unwillingly) to my employees, we started on the next one. We were doing well, until we reached the wire incline. One of my staff members, a truly terrific incoming college freshman, lost his footing. Like so many bowling pins, we all fell backward toward the deep, dark night, thrown back by the first person to fall. Don't get me wrong. We were hooked up, each individually, to about 1,000 lbs of weight-bearing aircraft aluminum, ropes, and wires. So, while we didn't go far, all 6 of my non-climbing staff members in my group ended up on top of me, their weight on top of a wire, and my shin and knee just below the wire. The impact of 6 adults' weight on that cable was heavy, and I ended the evening unable to move my right leg.

After a quick evaluation ("I can't move it, but I can move my toes. Leg's not broken. Good. Good...OUCH! I can't bear weight!") We decided to make a quick retreat. So, using 2 arms, 1 leg, and a whole lot of swinging my (four) butt(s) for leverage, my counselors pulled me back to the rope climb. I couldn't believe how it had turned out for me. At the bottom, I radioed to get picked up in a golf cart. A friend picked me up (and two of my other counselors) and drove me to raid the kitchen for ice. I iced my leg, and then recognized the signs of a bone bruise.

Last week, you could see me limping around camp. Walking has gotten easier...But my leg, well, my leg will be painful for 5 months, whenever I bang it. Yay for bone bruises!

My leg was feeling better, but I was still ready to take my reaction picture in broad daylight.

A staff meeting with the asterisk counselors became a planning session for a protest to reclaim canteen, as one bunk had lost the privilege when they didn't pick up their lost and found. The planning came complete with football-play diagrams on the conference room markerboard.
What do we want?
When do we want it?
What do we want?
When do we want it?

*FYI, the vast majority of my staff is excellent.

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