A Well-Oiled Machine

July 24, 2014

It really is amazing how quickly you fall into the camp routine. Part of it is definitely that everything is so well run here, but I think there’s something else going on, too. It’s Clinic Day again: right now campers are trotting past the office to the pool or the horse barn or the soccer field. Everybody knows where they’re going. Everybody has the equipment they need: closed-toed shoes, towel, sun screen, long pants. But Camp Tall Timbers’ well-oiledyness really struck me yesterday, during the pool party/cookout/baseball game extravaganza.

The pool party wasn’t planned. It’s an activity that happens here when it’s too hot to do anything else, and boy howdy was it too hot yesterday. I was teaching gymnastics, or I was supposed to be: as soon as I saw the campers hoofing up to the veranda where we practice, I knew there would be no cartwheeling or hand-standing that day. It was just too hot. We tried some lower-energy yoga, but that too proved too much for the heat. I knew that anyone who had soccer or football that period would be sitting in the shade, guzzling water and practicing breathing techniques. The pool party was the only solution, and it was a fabulous one. We brought out the loudspeaker and got a game of water polo started, and suddenly the heat was a bonus to the fun. It was amazing how well coordinated it all was. I knew where I needed to be to make the afternoon safe and fun, and everyone else did, and we all worked as a coordinated team without having to talk it out.

In a matter of weeks, all of us here at Camp Tall Timbers, from campers to counselors to admin to kitchen staff, have become a community. That’s not a small thing, especially in a world that can feel so big. I totally lost out of the ping pong tournament in the first round to Mason Corby, who I had never really talked to much before, but now I know a fair amount about who he is. Just like that, we have something to talk about. I’d never had much to do with Teddy Geis before, since he’s not in any of my classes, but we sat together on the bus ride home from bowling, and now I know that he loves military history, and that’s he’s so creative and full of ideas for camp. When you get to know people like this, it makes the whole community function smoothly. So yeah, part of why this place works so well is that there’s a system. But another part is all the incredible, diverse people who make it what it is.

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