Visiting Camp

Again, this should have been posted a while ago.  I’m trying to catch up now.  Because of that, this post is shorter and perhaps more of an overarching view as opposed to the details I had originally planned on posting.

I visited camp last weekend, June 11-13, and this past Thursday, June 17, night for the Order of the Arrow Call Out Ceremony.  S-F Scout Ranch is truly an amazing place.  I have had so many memories there with so many amazing people (including many of my best friends) that not spending the summer there is definitely a major life change.

It is strange to be at camp and not be in charge of things.  I have worked for the past four summers as the Business Manager at Camp Famous Eagle and one earlier summer as a Nature/Troop Counselor at Camp Gamble (teaching Soil & Water Conservation Merit Badge, among other things).  As Business Manager, I learned the inner workings of the camp and over the years, amassed more knowledge and more responsibility than typically associated with the position.  As such, I have been having nightly conversations with people at camp to both find out how camp is going and offer thoughts/suggestions.  I have spent a lot of time teaching this year’s Business Manager how to do his job, along with referring him to his supervisors for more detail.

It is strange to return to camp without any obligations or responsibility.  I do like the freedom that comes with it.  I even went to Huck’s Cove, the private Scout “water park” on Nims Lake without my cell phone for the first time in four years.  I did not have to be available for any issues – how strange!  Nevertheless, I felt an obligation to help out and a sort of longing to belong and be a part of it all again.  I have certainly been welcomed and have enjoyed spending time with my friends and getting to know the new staff members.

We (can I still say that?  I think so…) have a great staff and I do like many of the first year staffers.  Hopefully, I can impart some of my knowledge upon them and help them in their experiences.  I have helped/trained the staff with check-in and assisted with behind the scene details for the Order of the Arrow ceremony.  I am glad to be a part of the camp, even in a minor way.  It is definitely an internal struggle though to refer issues/questions to other people who should deal with them – especially when I know the right response and they may not yet know.  It is part of the learning/growing process though.

I’ve enjoyed my visits thus far.  I plan to visit again this weekend and then, hopefully, another two weekends throughout the summer.  It is a great “escape” from the city life for me, a chance to visit friends, an opportunity to return “home”.  I do need to balance spending time with friends and family in St. Louis with my time at camp.  I hope that I do this successfully.  Spending time at camp off and on throughout the summer is definitely something I look forward to.  I am excited to see how the summer at Boy Scout camp progresses – and what my friendships look like at the end of the summer.

Summer Thus Far

I should have written this post (or perhaps several posts) a while ago.  My idea of having free time this summer seems not to be working out.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean to complain – this summer has gone amazingly well so far.  It is just a change from the past.

I have recognized the need to move on to a “professional” summer job with an internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop that I like a lot.  I think the internship itself has been less of a fundamental change than everything that goes with it.  As opposed to walking to work at DU or living where I work at camp, I am driving through traffic to and from work.   I have to dress up, wake u pearly, look professional (at least to some extent) – all of those “grown up” things.  It’s actually kind of cool, but I do miss living with my friends and working with some of my favorite people.  I reflected during the first week on the way home one day that I felt like my dad! 🙂

The days are crazy busy.  I have been waking up between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning to shower, shave , and get to work early, before 8:30 a.m. (I seem to have been tired all summer so far.)  I work until 5:00 p.m. and have not been getting home until 5:45 p.m. or later.  By the time dinner happens and I catch up on life (email, phone calls from the day, etc.) , there is not much time for hanging out, going outside, or generally doing non-work summer things.  It’s probably a good – and important – experiential shift.

I have seen some friends and I have done some exciting things – like go the Cardinals game today where I sat in the Centene suite with my friend who is interning there.  I have learned a lot this summer and met some great people.  I hope that experience continues – along with the opportunity to spend time with friends and family and visit camp.

The Camp Famous Eagle Song

I need to post about my visit to camp this past weekend, but in honor of today being the first full day of campers for the 2010 camping season at Camp Famous Eagle, S-F Scout Ranch in Knob Lick, Missouri, here is the Camp Famous Eagle song.  I will post other camp songs throughout the summer.  Enjoy!

Chorus:
Rolling hills, winding trails
Famous Eagle’s challenging you
Building friendships, camp under the stars, the stars

Famous Eagle land of a million Scouters’ dreams
Famous Eagle time to discover golden schemes
Famous Eagle chance to find out what Scouting means

Chorus

So if you’ve come and you want to understand
Just what it is that will make a boy a man
Famous Eagle calls, do you listen if you can

Chorus

(Words and music by Jack Jaworksi)

Camp Famous Eagle Sign/Nickel, S-F Scout Ranch

Camp Famous Eagle Sign/Nickel, S-F Scout Ranch

Behind Again & My Computer

It has been a week since I last posted something on here.  Life just seems to be crazy busy.  Summer should not be so intense.  I like my internship a lot, but working all day really limits my ability to do anything else with my time.  I always feel behind and like I do not have enough time to see my friends or sleep.  I did visit camp this weekend, which was enjoyable – more on that in a future post (I do not have time to write it right now).  I miss S-F a lot – it is a fantastic place.

Hopefully, I will have a chance to start posting regularly again.  My blog is getting hits from random websites though, which I kind of enjoy.

I have been having computer problems for quite sometime.  Tomorrow, my plan is to take my (almost) four year old laptop in to be shipped off to be “fixed” under my four year (!) warranty.  I like this computer a lot, but I have had so many problems with it and so many headaches from it that it is almost unbelievable.  I am hoping to buy a new laptop this summer.  I am trying to convince myself to buy a MacBook Pro because so many of my friends have said good things, but they cost so much… Let me know what you think…

First Day At Build-A-Bear Workshop

Today was my first day at my summer internship at the World Bearquarters of Build A Bear Workshop in St. Louis.  I am working 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  I definitely enjoyed myself, but these full work days will take some getting used to.  I had to add extra time to drive in traffic and dress up.  I have a professional email address (@buildabear.com) and voice mail.  I felt like that should be someone else, not me.  I guess we all have to grow up sometime.  Luckily, I work at an exciting place so I can still be a kid sometimes.

When I got to work, we had orientation and a tour for all of the interns.  We met first in the boardroom where there was a folder with my name labeled “International Intern Bear”.  I was pretty excited.  I was pretty busy today.  I learned about the 4-5+ projects I will be working on, met a lot of the staff, sat in on conference calls and meetings, etc.  I learned about the international franchising process, about Build A Bear operations, expansion/franchising plans in Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa, and sat in on meetings with the team that runs the Build A Bear stores in Germany.  I will be joining them again for much of the day tomorrow.

So far, so good.  Build A Bear seems like a great place.  They people seem really nice.  I definitely have already learned a lot and I know this summer will be a great learning and growth experience.  I am sad not to be back at camp this summer (I am staying in touch with the people there and plan to visit several times), but Build A Bear seems to have been the right choice for my future so far.

New Aquatics Structure

Those of us who attended summer camp at the S-F Scout Ranch likely remember the aquatics tower in each camp.  These structures were built to watch for lightning across Nims Lake while providing a storage location for aquatics equipment.  For the camp staff, these structures served as a place to store merit badge cards, change into swim trunks/Scout uniform, and a location for commemorating past aquatics staffs in the form of buddy tags and signing the tower.

As cool as the aquatics towers were, they were falling apart, needing repair, and no longer providing as much space as necessarily.  Several storms have gone through the S-F Scout Ranch in the past year or so and while they created a lot of damage, they did not knock over the aquatics towers – which could easily have been a possibility.  So since insurance wasn’t paying for a change, it had to wait for the capital campaign.  Now, for this summer, new structures have been built.  They include covered pavilions and a lockable storage shed.

Two pictures below are of the just complete structures at Camp Famous Eagle, before summer camp and before the Aquatics Area was fully setup:

New Aquatics Structure at Camp Famous Eagle, S-F Scout Ranch - Credit: Ben Luedloff

New Aquatics Structure at Camp Famous Eagle, S-F Scout Ranch - Credit: Ben Luedloff