Amy and Skip

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky…


*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.

McKenna, Amy and Ryleigh from this summer's visit (2013).

McKenna, Amy and Ryleigh from this summer’s visit (2013).

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.


Amy and her cabin group- 1996

Amy and her cabin group- 1996

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.

%d bloggers like this: