As I write this — from my sickbed 🙁 — my Camp Alleghany family and colleagues are down in temperate New Orleans, Louisiana, tucked into the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for the 2015 American Camp Association (ACA) National Conference.
What a disappointment for me to NOT be there with them.
I ♥ camp conferences
I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE the conference and how much I look forward to it every year.
When the initial program of events comes in the mail, I pour over it for hours, circling all the sessions I want to attend.
I get so excited about it because the opportunities for deep level engagement with camp philosophies and pedagogies, for casual networking and idea sharing with camp professionals, for exploring the world of products and services surrounding the camp world — all of this and more — are just so rich with meaning and an essential aspect of professional development for the serious career camp administrator.
But as wonderful as all that is, I’m going to have to be content this year with my recent regional camp conferences and any other mini-conferences this year. All this because a very serious flu has walloped me but good!
Sick, delusional, resigned
Unfortunately my youngest son, just nine-months-old, came down with the flu first (poor little thing). And then I (who I consider pretty robust) caught it, too.
My wishful thinking when it first struck was that for me it couldn’t get that bad. Whatever my condition, I was sure I just needed a day to recover and would be back on my feet and raring to go in no time. So I gave myself that time by switching my flight to one day later.
It didn’t take long to realize that I was in no way going to get out of bed much less make it to the conference.
So, after many tears were shed trying to make the decision, I decided not to go.
But I didn’t go “gentle into that good night.” Suffice it to say that an internal temper tantrum waged at least for a bit: “Why me?” “But I’m going to miss out on EVERYTHING!” “Please Lord, issue a spontaneous healing and I’ll never again forget to eat and drink my Vitamin C!”
Poor me, huh? 😉
It is true that I’m still harboring a bit of envy that the rest of the Camp Alleghany crew are down there learning, discussing, networking, checking things out (not to mention getting a little NOLA fix in), but…in the end I’ve decided to be philosophical. Reminds me of that quote from Pride and Prejudice when Lizzie and Mary have no dance partners. Mary says that the rewards of reflection are better anyway to which Elizabeth replies,
Yes, when there are none others to be had. We shall have to be philosophers, Mary.
So this is me philosophizing.
I will see the light
It makes me ponder the fact that things just don’t always go the way you intend, and you have to be flexible, just like at camp.
There are a lot of times at camp where things don’t go the way we want — maybe the river rises and we can’t get out of camp for time off or an event like the Greenbrier Dance; the weather turns; we picked up the wrong supplies; a snafu in scheduling occurred; or whatever. We know we can’t do anything about it immediately so we jump to a “plan B” and make the best of it.
Boy, I think back to the Derecho that came through in 2012 causing us to be without power for a full week, and we had to improvise and go with the flow to the nth degree and yet interestingly some amazing things happened (read all about it in this blog entry).
Or here’s a great one. Sometimes I have an idea for what I think will be a sure-fire great staff training exercise or evening activity and…woops, flop! It doesn’t go over well, or plans just don’t pan out the way we expected, and it’s back to the drawing board to see what we can learn from it to do better next time or we just realize it’s a wash and toss it out never to look back.
I think we can all learn from these experiences and try to find a silver lining.
Okay, okay, at the moment there’s not yet a silver lining apparent to me while feeling this yucky, but I am still searching. Maybe I’ll end up feeling that, with mothering a young child and a baby, working full time, nurturing my marriage, pursuing personal hobbies, and occasionally traveling for work and pleasure, that I found some renewal in being FORCED to slow down, stop, and let go.
Or maybe I’ll binge watch a favorite show and just be glad for the escape. Or better yet, that I’ll read some uplifting spiritual book of personal triumph that I might not have otherwise prioritized.
But one thing’s for sure — when I am better, I will surely delight in good health and thank God for it!
On the upside, there’s another conference, the Tri-State Camp Conference, that I’ve long wanted to go to, but it felt like a little too much to go to both conferences just a month apart. Well, now I have my sights set on going to that this year (I simply can’t go a full season without a big conference!)
News from New Orleans is that the rest of my peeps are enjoying the conference immensely, which I am glad about. I’ve gotten some fun texts from them down there, which is a little bit of conference-by-proxy, and it makes me miss it even more, but I’m happy they’re enjoying it.
Same time, next year!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls