camp cerebrations two: sticking with you

and if i have to jump, then i’ll jump and i won’t look down.  you can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout.  i’ll push and pull until your walls come down, and you understand, i’m gonna be around . . . i’m sticking with you.

sticking with you, addison road

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So sweet.

This is the girlie and one of her friends from her hometown, B.  She’s a sweetie and has Down Syndrome, so like putting any two kids together, especially for such an extended amount of time, sometimes the girlie and B were absolute best friends like in the picture above, and others they can whine and squabble with each other constantly–more than is normal for a thirteen- and sixteen-year-old [B’s birthday was on Thursday while she was at camp, and she was graced by having a boys cabin sing to her].

And what can I say, they fought about girl stuff.  There was a banquet on the last day of camp, which essentially meant we ate slightly fancier food for camp food, and that everybody got to sit wherever they wanted instead of just with their cabin groups, and that, oh yes, girls and boys could sit beside one another. Meaning, that the girlie and B and some other girls got very date-hungry and wanted boys to take them to the banquet [which, might I add, was an entire forty minutes long].

So early in the week the girls both had a crush on the same guy.  And fought over him all week until the girlie’s sister wrote an asking-out note to the guy and he said yes to going to the banquet with the girlie.  And then B was crushed and a ridiculous amount of fighting ensued.  It was exhausting.  I spent one night chasing the girlie and the guy around during a night game [did I mention the girlie is fast?]

And seriously, it was driving me nuts.  I’m not good with boy drama, especially of the sort that involves a thirteen-year-old and Bible camp.  But really, try reasoning with hormonal kids that “You’re young, you have enough time for this later in life.  We’re at camp to learn more about God, and yeah, make new friends, but having a boyfriend isn’t all that important with where you’re at in life right now.”

Because, yeah, they don’t take that.

Anyway, later in the week, the guy got fed-up and exclaimed “Fine, I’m not going with anybody anymore”.  And that was kind of the end of the fighting between B and the girlie for the most part.  Thank goodness, sort of.

So, yeah, B and the girlie were total teenage girls all this week, frustrating for me, but unavoidable.  Somewhat like the girlie, B needs more support but not necessarily a one-on-one support worker.  Meaning, I spent some time trying to help her and deal with her problems too.  Fortunately, the girlie is very caring and was for the most part very okay with sharing me.  While she can be difficult because of her ADHD and developmental delays, there are times where Jesus’ love shines through her in HUGE ways.

Which will become evident in an upcoming post.

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knowledge, people first and adapting

Last term I was in developmental psychology for a good, oh, quarter term.  During the span of the time in this class, my prof—who was, granted, nearing his seventies—constantly referred to children as their disability first and as children second.  NOT okay.

It pissed me off, so I wrote him a stern but not condescending e-mail exemplifying his errors and explaining HOW to rectify his speech.  I wrote the message sitting in the front row of his class, and received a simple “thank you, Kerri” in response about ten minutes after class concluded.  The next class, he tried to drop an ‘autistic child’ as he had been doing.  He got to “autis—“ paused, and said “child with autism”.

I recieved an e-mail that said a child “IS special needs”.  [ALL kids have special needs, so I actually don’t like that catch-all too much either].

A child is NOT their difference, their disability, their special need . . .

They are who they are and who they are likely is partly shaped by how they have been socialized to feel about who they are with regard to their disability.

As a leader, a facilitator, a friend, it is important for me to know how I can best adapt a program to ANY child’s unique circumstances.  Because knowing SOME level of specifics makes so much make more sense.  How chain-reactions occur, what to watch for, and how far it is okay to push—a big thing we’re dealing with at work with some kids right now.  As a leader, facilitator and friend, it’s hard to adapt something to a child if there’s something behind the scenes I don’t know about.

But all in all, I still need to know the child, the person first.  I go by the same saying with many, if not all, chronic medical conditions, disabilities, et cetera I encounter . . . In my own case “asthma does not define me . . .  but it helps explain me”.

kid quotes: “the winker”

Kids say the best crap.  Really.  Take this for example, my coworker told me this after a particularly rough shift for us today, and it made me feel a lot better, and laugh a lot.

*Bethany had just finished explaining the Magic/Murder Wink game*

TEN YEAR OLD:

What’s the winker?

BETHANY:

The person who you have to guess who is winking?  During the game?

TEN YEAR OLD:

Oh . . . I thought it was something to do with puberty

I love children, they are hilarious.

short work and school rambling

Work rocked today.  Most of the girls were just so, so with it.  Chatty, but they’re adolescent girls, so yeah.  I was asked to take on another program as a regular facilitator, so I have to make a decision whether I’m committing to twice a week or not.  If I commit for Wednesday’s Girls Club in addition to Tuesday’s boys and girls program, I’m going to have to teach by myself, and I’m not sure how well that will go.  Most of the girls are great, but some are just . . . difficult.  Like, oh, you know, any program.

I’ll have to look over stuff and make a decision, hopefully by Friday.  However, I’d make another $22 a week, which would be pretty rad, considering I work, like, no hours.  Plus my job is fun, but I’d have to do a lot more prep work for this.  We’ll see.

Also, Intro Kinese is rocking—I just got into it on Monday, so I have a little catching up to do, but it’ll be okay.  Issues in Health is probably my favourite class this term, it’s so easy.  Religion and Pop Culture is so heavy and hard and I’m not sure what I’m doing about that because it’s totally not being as awesome as I thought.  I also picked up a major declaration form today – crazy.

My 12 of 12 will be up later tonight! With that, I’m off to read one kinesiology book or another.  Yes, I am reading this term.  That means I’m terribly behind on the Bible *sighs*.

be[ing] a spark

I totally wasn’t expecting this.  I got a Christmas present from my boss!DSCF5695

And the card [aside from being epic project (RED) and saving lives, since that is one of my favourite things ever] just hit me so, so much.

I work at a rough school.  A few of the kids in grade 3-5, use worse language than my friends used in grade nine [when we all swore the most, pretty sure].  I broke up a physical fight between two boys today when I was the only one in the gym, in the span of 3 minutes when my coworker Bethany was gone to the crafts room, and had to deal with them.  It sucked.  Because when I talked to them, we had a discussion about why they seemed to think it was okay to fight.

“Well, my step-dad hits my mom and they’re grown-ups.  And then one time he stabbed her with a knife over and over and over again.”

My heart just breaks sometimes.  It hurts that kids have to see this kind of stuff.  It hurts that kids have to think ‘if my parents do it, it must be okay’.  It hurts that kids are exposed to this kind of stuff at home, where they should feel safe and loved.  It hurts that some of these kids are so desperate for love.  Two kids simultaneously clung to my legs today.  A boy hugged me and didn’t want to let go.

This is my job.  To, with my coworkers, let these kids know that someone cares.  Let them know that someone cares enough to see that they, at least one day a week [all we’re funded for], have somewhere fun and positive to go after school.  Where they will not go home to an empty house, but get a snack and to talk to people, connect with friends, play some games, do a craft, and get a hug or two if that’s something they need.

We are the sparks that will hopefully IGNITE these kids—for some of them, to ignite them to see the good of the world beyond the pain they have seen in their young lives.

And as hard as it is, as much as work sucked today because the kids were crazy . . . this, this longing to be a spark . . . is why I am here.  A tiny thing, that can light a huge flame of motivation . . . of hope.