Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camp Happy Days 2011- Too Cool for School

As usual, CHD was the highlight of my summer.  I'd been looking forward to it for months- since family camp in September, actually.  This year, I was blessed enough to have a fantastic wedding weekend at the end of camp to help me transition into the real world- more about that later.

Camp is a place where friendships and relationships become more meaningful than they do in the outside world.  You will form a new family- one you can pick, and one that's hopefully as awesome as your real family.  Or, if they stink, way more awesome than your real family.  You will experience the highest highs you've ever felt, along with the lowest lows.  My first year at camp, I was flabbergasted by the range of emotions I had no idea I could feel or express.  Most importantly, this is a year-round mission, but the week of camp provides our campers (kids with cancer and their siblings) with seven days of pure, unadulterated, FREE fun, normal, cool, exciting life away from cancer and its challenges and in a whole new world created by the camp staff, donors, and volunteers where they are faced with challenges like overcoming their fear of heights or limited mobility by doing things like climbing the rock wall, doing the high ropes course, parasailing, etc.

Oh, and one of the absolute highlights of all highlights at camp?  TEAMBUILDING!  This year, my favorite event was the three course meal we had to create.  We used the camp theme Too Cool for School, and Thursday was Study Abroad in Italy day.  Luckily, I had a little experience in this area.  Our task? Create FROM SCRATCH, using TEAMWORK, a three course meal in segments.  First, take all the grapes, pluck them from their bunches, throw them ten yards into your partner's funnel, then take all the funneled grapes, dump them in a baby pool, and proceed to make grape juice by a method of your choosing.  Hands, feet, whatever.  Next, all the grape juice needed to be collected into water bottles for storage and tasting.  The second course was pizza.  Using tubs of flour and water, we had to complete an obstacle course (one for flour and a different one for water) to transport both our flour and water to the "baking table" at the end of the course.  Here, our prized pizza chefs mixed, kneaded, shaped, and finally threw the dough in the air and spun it.  We earned top marks!  The final course was, of course, Italian pasta.  yummmmy!  First, we had to crawl through the spaghetti slip-n-slide, dodging the flying chunks of spaghetti, grab "the right amount" of spaghetti, put it in our spaghetti pot, then run to the sauce factory.  Here, our freshest tomato sauce was slowly transported, and the leakage was collected, to be drained into our spaghetti pot.  At the pot were our fabulous mixers, who made sure the sauce-noodles ratio was just right.  The final performance check, as this was a competition, was a tossing of the spaghetti by the teambuilding guys.  This, of course, resulted in a gigantic food fight as more spaghetti than I've ever seen was thrown, shoved into clothing, etc.  This was sooo much fun, but, being that I was slinging raw food, I didn't think it was a safe environment for my camera.  Instead, I'm going to offer you some of my favorite pictures from CHD this year and show you that, at least for the week of July 4th every year, Cancer doesn't win.

JM and Amanda in the shirts they made in two separate states to get pumped for Camp Happy Days University!

Amanda about to stand on top of the rock wall.

We made Uncle Sam in the Kickin Kitchen on 4th of July...sooo tasty!

JM posing on her way down the zipline

Meghan's counselors dressed as Lady Liberty and the Kat in the Hat

JM and Amanda hanging out with our good friend Becky

Chris Kotowski, ambushed by green team kids, losing the frosting fight

Kendall admiring herself at Glitz'n'Glamour while getting her hair and makeup done for Prom.

Me and Emma before prom

The cabin before prom

Teambuilding's intense! This sweet friend broke her finger and has a baseball sized bruise on her leg from playing angry birds, teambuilding style.

camp sees the best...and worst....of you
Dylan got to come for a couple of days!

precious Wyatt before the Balloon Ceremony

Zach and his counselor playing us some tunes
me with sweet Kayla

Meghan...perfectly on pitch as always. Tearjerker!

I could add so much more about Camp 2011, but I'll just let you guys experience it for yourselves in 2012...or at least donate to the magic via my firstgiving page.

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