My Hands Are Always Dirty
by Eli Morin
My hands are always dirty!
I’ve washed and washed and scrubbed and scrubbed but my hands are still dirty!
My fingernails are black from the dirt in the cracks, I put soap on my hands, and smack!
And yet my fingernails are still black.
Let’s not get started on my face, coated in sand and dirt, the smell of smoke from campfire.
I know I need to shower, but darn it! I’m so tired!
My feet constantly smell I feel so bad for my sockies,
If they could scream they would yell “HELP!” through Becky’s broken walkie talkie.
But of course no one can hear so in the hamper they go,
With all the sweaty, stinky, disgusting dirty clothes.
Soon I’m on fishing with power bait and glitter.
You telling me a man can’t look pretty with sparkly spirit fingers?!
Soon it’s time for dinner and I must wash my dirty stinky hands, as I expand my fingers scrubbing every nick and cranny,
I find myself still with dirty hands sitting now on my fanny.
Maybe it’s useless, maybe it’s time to call it quits.
Maybe I should stop fighting the dirt and accept it for what it is.
For everyone has a little dirt in their hands that may never go away.
We ALL have that something that eats at us every day.
But here at camp it is more than singing songs and playing fun games.
We are a FAMILY at camp and I doubt that will ever change.
They say memories fade with time
But I don’t think so
because the weeks I spend
riding, swimming, talking, walking,
petting, reading, playing and dreaming
Here. Right here.
Those memories are as deep and crisp as the taste of a way too juicy watermelon at Outpost
And the smell of fur and feathers at smanimals
And the chunka, chunka, chunka of a kneeboard at the lake
And the sound of outdated music at way too early in the morning
and the sight of all the counselors, campers, of all my friends, dressed in grass skirts and
leis and lipstick, even the boys.
Here. Right here.
Those memories are as dear to me as
a cherished book of song.
Because I know that no matter how
tired, sore, or terrified I am,
I have not wasted a second of my life
Here. Right here.
Getting to spend 2 weeks with friends who live on the other side of the world.
Coming to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Trying out things that I never would have had the opportunity or means to do elsewhere.
Being able to be silly and weird and not be judged.
Becoming best friends with people you have known for just a couple of days, who are completely different from your friend at home.
Telling camp jokes at home that no one understands.
Spending 11 months waiting for the 1 we get to spend here.
Waiting for seconds, thirds and fourths just for those pieces of bread with butter.
Praying to be sent to the lake every morning.
Bug spray is second only to water.
Dirt lines are as common as tan lines.
It will always be our HOME AWAY FROM HOME.
I love camp because I have made awesome friends that I only see at camp and it makes that time special! -Jemma
I love camp because its the best place on earth. -Sylvie
It’s my second home and always will be❤️. -Dani
Camp means being surrounded by people you love! -Zach
Camp means the best weeks spent making some of the best friends you’ll ever have. -Sarah
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky…
BY MISS NIGHT ON 4 DECEMBER, 2011
*Update, Feb 2 1013: Yesterday was I Heart Camp Day, so it seems appropriate to share this post yet again. The more that time passes, the more I come to realize how deeply my 12 summers at Coppercreek Camp have moulded who I am. Camp is in my blood, my breath, my bones, and I believe kids (and adults) need camp experiences more than ever.
I originally wrote this in May of 2009, and posted it over on my personal blog (which is private for now, as I wrestle with losing the last shreds of my online anonymity). I’m re-posting it here, because I am proud of it, because it is true, and because, every time I have a success as a teacher, it makes me reflect on the things that MADE me this teacher. There is no underestimating the impact of 12 summers of camp life, and the family I found there. Because of camp, I am This Person, This Woman, This Teacher… And I am so very very grateful.
Because of Camp:
My class sings Grace before lunch.
and that grace thanks “the earth” instead of “The Lord.”
I know how to start a diesel truck.
I have watched animals being born.
I always know a song when one is called for
and I’m not afraid to sing in public, as long as I have children singing backup.
The stars at night are the most magical sight in the world.
The people who know me best live 2500 km away
so I know what it means to have friendships that are immune to time and distance
and I know that the word family can refer to people you CHOOSE.
The things I am most proud of in my life are not things at all, but young adults, scattered all over the world, doing amazing and inspirational things with their lives.
I say “ten-four” at the end of phone conversations.
I refer to the first day of school as “Opening Day”
And to the teacher-prep time before it as “Staff Week.”
I actually think it is my job to clean up messes that I find, even if I didn’t make them,
Which means that every time there’s puke on the floor of the girls’ bathroom, I am the one getting the mop.
I refuse to allow my students to say the words “you can’t play with us.”
I feel a moral obligation to take children outside as often as weather permits.
I organized a “puddle play” day, where my students were allowed and encouraged to play in the muck that covered our playground.
I believe in teaching children actual skills, so that they can proudly complete the sentence “I am good at…”
I believe that being a good friend is a skill that can be taught.
Whether it’s a trip, a party, or a lesson, I plan the details in advance, but am always ready to punt.
I truly appreciate when food is prepared for me by someone else, and served with a smile.
I know that any task is bearable if you are doing it with someone you like, and who makes you laugh.
And that sometimes, doing a nasty chore with a stranger is a good way to become friends.
I don’t tell my boss I have a problem. I tell her when I have solved a problem.
I know that the things that are the most fun make the biggest messes.
And if I was involved in the fun, I should be involved in the cleanup.
I remind myself every day that the children are not an interruption of my job. They ARE my job.
I know that chances are that someone higher up is working harder than me, just to ensure that I get a break, and my day goes smoothly.
I know that there are parts of my boss’s job that I know nothing about.
I do not underestimate the the threat posed by bored children.
My dog of choice was a chihuahua,
and I know how to remove ticks from his fur without him even noticing.
John Denver makes me cry.
I know that “the boom” is not a loud noise, a gris-gris is not a birdcall, and a girth extender is not… a marital aid.
I know the secret meaning of “The ranch in Taylorsville.”
my best stories start with “Let’s recap.”
I can sell ice to Eskimos!
I get misty when someone calls me “Babe.”
It is extremely difficult for me to date someone if I haven’t seen his resume and checked his references.
I am far less likely to be a helicopter parent.
I have very high standards of supervision when it comes to young children,
And even higher ones when it comes to teenagers.
I know that the best cure for burnout is sometimes to work harder.
It takes me less than 3 minutes to fall asleep at 1:00 in the afternoon.
I carry a clipboard anytime I want to exude authority.
I find the humour, even in the darkest, most frustrating and painful moments of working with children.
I have been given the very best gift by the very best of friends: the opportunity to love and be loved by their children.
I have friendships that leave me weak with gratitude and admiration and joy, the kind of friendships that people write books about. You know who you are. I love you.
Please click here http://missnightmutters.com/2011/12/from-the-lake-from-the-hills-from-the-sky.html to read the original blog post and other intriguing posts by Amy. We are lucky enough to have Amy take a few weeks each summer and return to Coppercreek Camp, sharing her delightful insight, wisdom, humor and MUCH needed support.
coming to camp for my very first time
I didn’t quite understand why Mom named me “Zachary Lassen Lusby”
She told me that the only reason it wasn’t “Zachary Coppercreek Lusby” was because my Dad didn’t like it
But that’s what it meant to her
My Mom loved coming to camp more than anything else
And she worked that happiness to be in my name
Now, eight years older, and eight summers more, I finally understand what my name means
Camp means the company of people who love you
It means acceptance of others, no matter who they are
And it means finding yourself
Because camp is a haven from judgement
It’s a place where we can grow into the person we want to be
And have a lot of fun doing it
Every friend here lasts forever, even if we’re only together for two weeks
And every moment is cherished like a friendship bracelet
No matter the age, the gender, or anything else
Everyone here is our best friend
Camp is motivation; to sing, to dance, to not care what anyone else thinks
And camp is especially one thing: home
So to me, every time I sign or say my name
I get to feel every ounce of friendship, kindness, cheerfulness and joy that camp represents
I am named for every last one of you
And eight years later, I finally understand why
It’s because camp means family
It means finding personal strength in friends
And always expressing your self
“Zachary Lassen Lusby”, as silly as it sounds,
defines camp and that’s how I define me:
Someone that is self-assured, outgoing and open
– by Zachary Lassen Lusby, Vespers 2013