A day in the life of: andrew
Spend a virtual day with Andrew, a counselor at Camp Promise-West. Fun fact about Andrew: He first learned about Camp Promise from an ad on Facebook in 2012 and has been volunteering with us ever since.
This year I'm in the blue cabin with a group of male campers in their late teens/early twenties. My typical morning routine includes waking up around 7-8am. I try to get up a bit earlier to slurp down a nice hot cup of coffee before coming back to the cabin and waking everyone up. At that point, I get dressed (in of course the most ridiculous-looking items I could possibly find that fit the day's theme), and then help my assigned camper get ready for the day. And, I help out the the other campers and counselors in my cabin who may need some extra help. This includes transferring campers to their chairs, possibly a bathroom run, getting dressed, brushing teeth, washing faces...basically, all the morning necessities.
Sometimes it takes us until 9:30am to get ready for the day. My camper this summer got his tube feed in the cabin prior to going down to breakfast, but on days in which we were not ready in time for breakfast, other counselors would graciously bring food up to us for us to eat in the cabin.
Following breakfast, we'd head back up to the cabin and enjoy plenty of hang time. I believe this is truly what brings campers back to camp each and every year...they really take advantage of every opportunity they have to just hang with and talk to their buddies.
Lunch time! While my camper and I begin lunch in our cabin where the nurse starts his tube feed, we then head down to lunch so I can eat eat (the food at camp is really awesome) and so we can hear the Rumor Box. How can you not participate in the “Rumor Has It Box”?! It is one of the most fun and innovative ways to bring everyone at camp together, and is probably one of my favorite times of the day. Especially if someone forgets to wear their handmade name-tag...it's turned in to the Rumor Box and then they have to sing for it to get it back.
Rest hour takes place after lunch and we spend it in our cabin. My campers relish in the opportunity to just hang out with their friends in the cabin, discussing any number of topics from movies and pop culture, to in-depth scientific and philosophical conversations.
After rest hour, we (by which I mean all the campers and counselors in my cabin since we stick together almost all the time) join the rest of camp for an awesome camp-wide activity such as a concert, karaoke, or the talent show. I'm always wowed by the many talents present at Camp Promise-West.
For dinner, we would again begin the tube feed process at our cabin, prior to descending down the hill to the dining hall. It's so hard to pick a favorite meal as they are all to-die-for, but if I had to pick, I guess it would be beef rib night. As always, my cabin sits together and the counselors help feed whoever needs assistance. The blue cabin is a great cabin that has an incredible personality and sticks together like glue!
Evening activities are always a blast. From a movie night in which counselors act out scenes from the move in front of the huge blow-up screen, to multiple dance nights all with their own themes and beautifully dressed people…or monsters…
Depending on the cabin, camper curfew is usually around 10 or 11pm. We head back to our cabin and start our bedtime routine around 9:30pm or 10pm because it can take us some time to get everyone out of their chairs, undressed, and ready for bed. The great thing about our cabin is that as soon as everyone is together, we have a blast and joke around so much. So, even if it takes us 2 or more hours to get everyone into bed, it's one of the most fun times of our day.
I will say that in the beginning of the week, it takes us longer because some counselors are still learning how to do transfers and help their counselors. We all learn how to do them and get to practice a lot at our staff orientation session before campers arrive, but it can still take a few days to learn your specific camper's preferences. Even if you're a returning counselor. On the first night of camp I don't think anyone in my cabin went to bed before 1AM. But, by the end of the week, everyone was confident and knew what needed to be done and when, so we looked like a well-oiled machine by then. Also, the camp directors and logistics team are an incredible help all week and would be there for us at a moment's notice.
Staff curfew is usually at midnight, which pretty much just tried to ensure we get enough sleep to keep going at 100% all week long. I usually try to sneak off for a quick shower after my camper is in bed and before lights out, but when I climb into bed, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.