The words of J. Chance

The goings-on of a 25-year old, perpetual Purdue student (and alum), former Glee Clubber and camp counselor at a weight loss and fitness camp for kids!

My 2012 Blogging in review, thanks to Word Press

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The End of my Summer Adventure

Hey everyone!

Well, this post is coming from good ole West Lafayette, Indiana. Okay, so it’s Lafayette since I’m staying at my little brother’s place right now…regardless, it is not North Carolina, where I’ve spent the past 2 and a half months.

It’s pretty unfortunate that I’m already home, considering I thought I was going to be out there another 2+ weeks. Due to a lower than anticipated enrollment, there wasn’t a need for a second guy counselor for the remaining three weeks, so my contract ended this past Saturday. Although I was less than pleased with the way in which I found out about that, I’m not going to dwell on it and mar what had been probably the best and most rewarding summer experience I’ve had.

I will admit, it’s great to be home. I love being here at Purdue, and it’s really nice to be back around family and close friends. After being home for Jon and Kate’s wedding for a few days, and then being here for a day and a half for Strand’s wedding, it really ended up being kind of tease being home for those few days. I got back to camp and was almost more homesick than I was leading up to the wedding. In that regard, it’s nice to be home again, although I’m crashing with my little brother since I can’t quite move in to my new place just yet.

It’s also kind of nice to have a break before the craziness of the semester kicks off. Originally my plan was to be out in North Carolina through the 13th, drive home the 14th and be back for some training on the 15th, with the semester starting the following Monday. Coming back when I did, I’ll end up with about two and a half weeks before that training gets started. It’s given me a chance to relax a little bit, and hopefully in the next few days/weeks I can get myself organized and ready to go. I have some really great opportunities coming up this semester that I’m really looking forward to. I just hope I can be prepared enough going in that I’m not overwhelmed from the get-go.

But as I posted on either Facebook or Twitter, it was bittersweet leaving…perhaps more bitter than sweet. For starters, it’s definitely not the same waking up and not seeing the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains outside. I can’t run up 276 to the Parkway. I can’t relax with the campers down at the swim hole. I can’t go hiking through the woods. As much as I love Indiana, it’s just not nearly as beautiful or scenic as it was in North Carolina, so I definitely miss that.

I already miss those kids. Even though the number of campers there for the final three weeks was pretty much cut in half, a lot of those were kids who were there from the very beginning. These were kids I had seen push themselves and work so unbelievably hard to lose the weight they had. To not be able to be there at the end to see how much progress they’ve made over the course of 12 weeks really bothers me. I’m not blaming anyone for me not being able to be there. The circumstances didn’t require another guy counselor, and I know Ian will do a great job the last three weeks, especially with the help of Head Counselor Dana. I just selfishly wish I could be there at the end with them.

I also really miss the staff. Although everyone was so different and unique, we all seemed to be there for the same purpose. Each one of us had our own strongpoints and areas of expertise, and to put us all together was a really cool experience. We had staff from all over the country, and even a handful from out of the country, and I was very fortunate to be a part of such an awesome group of staff members. It was great having the male co-counselors that I did. Zech, Ian and Jarrett were all great guys. We all seemed to have different styles, but I think we all complemented each other so well. The female counselors were phenomenal as well. The behavioral coaches were great! And the field staff created such a cool experience for the campers and staff alike out on trips. We spent so much time together over the course of two and a half, three months, it’s really weird to not be around them anymore. I really hope we all keep in touch as much as we said we wanted to.

The thing that probably sucked the most was the fact that I had to drive back and forth twice in a week. I drove home for the wedding on Wednesday the 18th, spent my time at home and drove back to North Carolina Sunday the 22nd…just to work a week and turn around and drive back home a week later. That was kind of frustrating for me, especially considering I had an opportunity to fly home for the weddings. Trust me, I enjoy driving more than the average person, but to have to do that drive twice in a week really sucked. At least on the way back this time, I was able to break it up with a few visits. I stopped in Knoxville, TN, for coffee with Katrina, and again in Lexington, KY, for a beer and pizza with Steve. The stops really broke up the monotony of a 9-hour drive; plus it was great to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a while. All in all the drive home wasn’t bad, just kind of inconvenient having to make it twice in a week’s time.

You can look back at any of my previous posts from camp to see how I really felt about the opportunity I had this summer, so I won’t spend too much more time talking about it. But I just want to reiterate one more time how truly blessed I was to have had the opportunity to work with the staff that I worked with doing what we were doing, motivating and inspiring kids, helping them change their lives for the better. It was such an amazing experience for me. Sure, it’ll look great on my resume, and I’m thankful for that. But more importantly, working with those campers has really inspired me, and reaffirmed to me that I have made the right choice in changing my career path. I know I want to spend my career working with adolescent weight loss, and my summer at Wellspring Adventure Camp in Canton, North Carolina, has solidified that choice and enhanced my passion for health and fitness.

So, as happy as I am to be back at Purdue, and as much as I’m looking forward to the upcoming year of experiences, a little part of me will be in North Carolina for the next three weeks while my WAC kids finish up.

Until next summer when I’ll hopefully be heading back out to the breathtaking scenery of North Carolina to work with a new group of kids and hopefully as much of the same staff as possible, I’ll be back to the grind here at Purdue and taking in another year of experience here around campus!

Thanks to all of those who followed my blog while I was out there. Per usual, I didn’t post nearly as much as I wanted, but I hope I updated adequately enough to keep you all informed. I plan to continue blogging throughout the semester. I start my clinical work this semester, working with clients and gaining some unique experience there. And the new recreational sports center opens up, so I’m stoked to begin working there.

Plus I have a half marathon I’ll be training for, as well as trying to learn how to swim so I can become a legit triathlete.

Thanks again, and hopefully now that I’m back around I’ll get to chat with all of you! Take care!

 

J.

Almost Home, at Least for a Weekend

Greetings from Canton!

I know I say this every time I post, but it’s hard to believe “x” number of weeks have gone by. We’ve already completed seven weeks here, and I’m sure by the time this is posted the eighth week will be well on its way. I’ve been here over two months! That’s hard to believe sometimes. The craziest part about that is I haven’t seen any family or friends in over two months! For a man who’s all about his family and friends, that’s a pretty long time!!

Things continue to go pretty well here at camp, though I will admit I am starting to feel a bit run down. There are a number of reasons, but it’s hard to working as much as we are and being around the campers as much as we are and not feel that way a little bit. I feel bad though because I know my personal performance has dropped because of it. That’s generally not the way I operate, and I’m embarrassed that I’ve let my performance slip because of some personal issues I’m dealing with.

A twelve-week summer is such a long time! I give props to the campers who do not get a period off a day or the occasional day off like I’m privileged to. They’re so impressive and continue to inspire me with their day-to-day efforts. I’m as passionate as ever about this field and to be working with this conversation, but part of me is certainly ready to be back to a different grind with school and class work.

Regardless, I’m still very blessed and so stoked to be here in this situation. I’m still passionate about helping kids change his or her life. I think it’s just natural to feel a little frustrated or run down occasionally when we spend essentially 24/7 with them.  But know I am happy! :)

It’s hard to believe this week is the week my brother gets married! I’m so happy for him and Kate. As happy as I am for them, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to come home and see everyone! I have such an amazing family, and we have some amazing friends who will be there, and it’s going to be such an awesome celebration.

For starters, it’s the celebration of two people becoming one family, and I’m blessed to be able to be a part of it. I’m so happy that Jon found Kate because he’s so happy! Plus, Kate has a pretty awesome family, so I’m glad our families have met and spent so much time together. Weddings, in their true sense, are wonderful celebrations of two becoming one, and I’m so unbelievably happy that my brother has found someone to share that with!

The celebration itself is going to be ridiculous! The ceremony, I can only imagine, is going to be beautiful. The reception…oh boy! My family has a great time when we’re together. We have an amazing time when we’re with our friends. And Kate’s family is super awesome! Add it all together in a wedding reception, and it’s going to be a good time! I’m really looking forward to throwing on a tux, getting dressed up and looking good and having a good time!

I will be honest though, I do get a little emotional thinking about being home. I don’t know if homesick is the right word to use; I know eventually I’ll move away from home to start a career, and I really look forward to that opportunity. But missing out on all of the events leading up to the wedding has kind of weighed on me. Not being able to head home for a weekend has been rough. Only being able to communicate with people occasionally has really taken its toll, and it has been a hard two months away. I know I’m stronger for it; I know when I do need to move away and make my career, this experience will have prepared me for it…so long as I have cell phone reception and adequate internet.

The crazy thing about the time that has led up to this week, and ultimately Friday, is the fact that it’s going to fly by as soon as I get there. I’ll spend late Wednesday/early Thursday morning driving. Thursday I will be taking care of my tux and doing other errands before the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, etc. Then Friday’s the big day! Saturday I’ll have another wedding to attend in West Lafayette (Aaron Strand, a Glee Club buddy of mine; a wedding I’m also stoked about attending!), and then Sunday I’ll have to make the drive back to North Carolina for the final three weeks or so of camp. My time at home will be short, but I’m hoping it’s very sweet!

Camp has been great. This has undoubtedly been the most rewarding summer of my life. I’ve had an amazing experience meeting and working with the staff, and working with this incredibly inspiring and hardworking kids. But it’ll be great to be home for a few days!

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have lots of pictures from the wedding to post here, and I’m hoping to post about my trip home shortly after I get back to camp. That will be a bittersweet drive back to NC.

Ah, I didn’t even get to write about my Wellspring Journey opportunity…I’ll save that for a later post. Until then, have a wonderful day! Hopefully I see some of you readers this weekend!!

 

J.

Six Weeks in the Books

Hey y’all!

It’s hard to believe the sixth week of camp is coming to an end this weekend! Each individual day seems to take a long time to pass, but the weeks as a whole tend to fly by, if that makes any sense.

I’ve updated some of my previous posts, so they should be Wellspring-policy appropriate. I hope so anyway!

This won’t be a very long post; it’s just a quick update.

The campers continue to bust their butts and lose weight! I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m inspired daily by all of these kids. Watching them push themselves through all of the workouts and everything really makes me want to push myself when I’m running or doing my own workout. I know this is where I’m supposed to be, and I’m so happy to have met these kids.

Lots of good things happening for me here though. I’ll hopefully be able to elaborate a little bit more in a future post, but things are good and I’m happy.

It’s hard to believe though that two weeks from today at this point I’ll be back in Hammond for my big brother’s wedding! It’s been hard for me knowing that I’ve missed out on just about everything: all of the planning, the bachelor party, and just being a good brother. I know there’s been nothing I could do about it out here, but it’s still kind of bummed me out a bit. Regardless, two weeks from now I’ll be home, and I’m pretty stoked!

I hope to post again next week, but don’t hold me to that!

I hope everyone is doing well back in Indiana. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe I’m out here in the mountains of North Carolina for the summer! It’s been an amazing two months so far, and I’m looking forward to one more amazing month or so.

 

J.

Picture Post #1

Hey everyone!

Alright, well this took a lot longer to get up here than I anticipated. Thanks to some Barnes and Noble WiFi, these pictures uploaded significantly easier. Most of these are from our staff overnighter. I haven’t had a chance to upload other pictures from my phone yet. Perhaps that can come on next week’s day off.

These pictures can’t really pay justice to the absolutely breathtaking views in person, but they’ll do I suppose.

Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

J.

My Apologies

Hey everyone!

Thanks for following my blog while I’m out here in North Carolina. Right now, I have to remove some posts while I learn what content I can and can’t post about campers. There may be some content I need to remove from previous posts, so until then, I have removed those posts from the public site.

Don’t worry though! I will still continue to post about how I am doing personally, and once I find out in full detail things I can and can’t write about, I’ll get back to writing more!

Hang in there with me for a bit, and I really appreciate it!

 

J.

Weeks Two and Three at WAC

Week Four has started here at WAC, and the start of a new week has brought the start of some new challenges. I have moved out of my first cabin, Looking Glass, and into Blue Ridge for the new boys who arrived yesterday. We have six new boys right now, a seventh coming in later today, and one that’s temporarily staying in our cabin while the rest of Looking Glass is in field.

But first, a relative recap of the past two weeks. I know I haven’t updated in a while.

I apologize for not updating as frequently as I mentioned I would. Only having one day off a week is kind of rough, and most times I don’t want to spend it in front of my laptop. I tend to get off campus and just hang out. I have a couple off periods today, so I’m hoping to bang out this post while I can.

Weeks two and three were relatively difficult. The kids seemed to get past the honeymoon stage and went straight to the frustration stage. Most of the Looking Glass boys have absolutely come out of their shells and are absolutely flourishing! A few minor complaints aside, they were very participatory, well behaved, motivated and driven to lose weight.

Regardless of the occasional frustrations, I’m absolutely 100% happy to be here. I don’t really particularly know what it is, but over the past week or so, I’ve confirmed that this field, childhood obesity, is where I want to spend my career. This is what I want to do with my life. Whether it’s in obesity prevention or obesity management, working with children and working with weight loss is what I want to do.

Working here at Wellspring, and reading all about the Wellspring Plan, I’ve really bought into this whole process for managing weight loss, especially for children. They’re consuming low-fat meals. They’re exercising basically all day. They’re receiving cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches them about making the right lifestyle changes. They’re learning how to deal with food temptations and how to conduct themselves in un-program-friendly situations. They’re learning how to eat healthily at home. Being here at camp for these kids is the best thing for them because they’re building a healthy foundation for when they’re done here.

I’m just very happy with the program here, and I’m very happy I get to use my own personal weight-loss experience to motivate and inspire these kids to work hard. One night at our weekly “Ceremony” where we honor the kids’ weekly achievements, I was asked to talk about my weight loss experience as the “inspiration of the evening.” The next day, they all had their timed mile, and afterwards one of the girls came up to me and told me I was her inspiration. One of her counselors told me later that this girl was crying the night before because she admitted to not giving 100% up to that point. After that point I’ve seen this girl bust her butt and work hard.

I know I’ve had some of the boys tell me different things I’ve helped them and inspired them with, and it’s hearing things like this that absolutely drives me to be here and continue to work hard for them.

This is absolutely where I’m meant to be, and I hope to have the opportunity to continue to work here in the future.

As for the weekly weight loss, the Looking Glass boys have continued to be really successful.

Honestly, it wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing to leave that cabin and head to another cabin. Ultimately it was my choice to make that change, but it sucked leaving the boys I had lived with for three weeks. They’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I just hope I’m able to stay here all twelve weeks to see them through. We’ll see though.

All in all, I’m very happy to be here. I’m working very hard, and I think I’m making a good name for myself here.

I’m also working myself very hard. After binge snacking for the first little bit and gaining a little bit of weight, I got myself back in check, rededicated myself to my weight loss/management plan and am moving in the right direction again. I’ve lost about eight pounds since I’ve been here and am almost at 90 total pounds. Being up here in the mountains gives me the advantage of training at this elevation, and I think I’m definitely improving physically, which makes me happy. I don’t have a specific number for weight I’d like to be at, which could be a bad thing, but I know I’d like to lose just a bit more. Please, don’t worry about me becoming that person who becomes obsessed the way he looks, because I’m not at that point. Just know that I’m still working hard and trying to better myself just as much as I’m trying to better these kids.

I’m still super-psyched to come home for the wedding. It’s hard to believe it’s only a month away. I’m sure Jon, Kate and Co. can say the same thing. I’ve definitely done okay being out here on my own, and I’m glad to know I could live out here on my own if professionally I need to. However, it’s still been kind of rough. I’ve always been very family- and friend- oriented, so it’s been rough not being able to communicate much with those people, let alone not see them at all. I’m so happy and blessed to have this opportunity and to be out here. I just wish they could be a bit closer at times!

Plus I’d need a cell phone with better reception if I were up in the mountains all summer. AT&T doesn’t quite do the trick here at camp.

I think that’s all I really have for now. I have a day off Wednesday that I’m very much so looking forward to. Then I’m out in the field for three days with the boys. That will be interesting.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to keep the updates coming…more frequently, anyways!

J.

Gateway to a New Lifestyle

Hello everyone!

I will be posting twice (soon): this post will be my actual written update of the past two or three weeks, and I will be uploading a bunch of pictures I’ve taken so far. Enjoy checking out both!

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been here almost a month. It feels like I’ve been here so much longer than that! The rest of staff training went really well. It was just a lot of protocol and procedures and whatnot. By the end we were just all ready to get the campers here so we could put all of that training to practice!

The kids started arriving Sunday, May 27th, and it’s been pretty much nonstop ever since then! That day was pretty cool. We only had five boys to start, and I was in charge of being in the cabin and getting them settled in and everything. One funny thing from this was when one of the parents asked me where I was from. I told her I was from Indiana, and she was kind of taken aback. She said she thought I was from somewhere exotic…I don’t think Indiana falls into that category. I did have my sunglasses or my headband on, so I guess maybe my hair had an exotic look? Regardless, it was kind of funny.

It was interesting though to see the kids say goodbye to their parents. I had never gone away for a whole summer; and I had definitely never gone away for a whole summer when I was just a teenager. A lot of these kids are from all over the country, and we even have a few that are from outside of the US, so a lot of them are a long way from home. Having to say goodbye for a summer at such a young age had to be pretty hard, so I tried to give them their space.

We keep them pretty busy all day, every day. Here’s a rundown of a typical day at WAC:

  • 6:30: Wake up
  • 7:00: Stretch circle; set goals for the day
  • 7:10-8:00: Morning walk; walk around the large driveway/track that goes around camp
  • 8:00: Morning circle; announcements, cabin of the day raises its flag
  • 8:10-8:45: Breakfast
  • 8:45-9:15: Cabin chores; each camper has a chore around the cabin
  • 9:15-10:10: Activity 1
  • 10:15-11:10 Activity 2
  • 11:15-12:10 Activity 3
  • 12:15-12:45: Lunch
  • 12:50-1:55: Siesta; this is supposed to be an hour of quiet time; the kids either take naps or write letters home
  • 2:00-2:55: Activity 4
  • 3:00-3:55: Activity 5
  • 4:00-4:15: Afternoon snack
  • 4:15-5:10 Activity 6
  • 5:15-6:10 Activity 7
  • 6:10-6:15 Dinner circle: announcements, appreciations, quote of the day and a “motion”
  • 6:15-6:45: Dinner
  • 6:45-7:15: Evening chore; each cabin has a chore around campus
  • 7:15~8:00: Evening activity
  • 8:00-8:15: Evening snack
  • 8:15-8:45: Cabin meeting
  • 8:45-9:45: Showers, getting ready for bed
  • 9:45: Lights out

Repeat the next day…and the next…and the next. The only day it’s different is Sunday. Sunday doesn’t get started until 9, so we all get to sleep in a bit. The activities are a little less intense. Evening Activity is “Ceremony.” The kids get recognized for bumping up in the level system. There’s a campfire. We have fat-free s’mores. It’s pretty cool.

Saturdays are a lot of fun too. For dinner we grill out, and after dinner there’s a themed dance. Last Saturday the theme was WAC-y Tacky. I have pictures of our cabin, but for privacy reasons I can’t post those here, unfortunately. The dance wasn’t as awkward as I thought it was going to be. Everyone danced and had a good time. We were told as staff to dance a lot to try and get the campers to have a good time, so I was definitely going hard with the dancing! Granted, most of my dancing was just jumping around and waving my arms. However, they all had a good time! This Saturday’s dance is the Twin Dance, so I’m looking forward to seeing some good twins!

You can definitely tell how busy these days are though! The activities are mostly different sports: volleyball, basketball, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, etc. Most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays they’ll have one activity that’s a “boot camp.” They’re definitely intense stuff too! I mean, I don’t think I could get all the way through all of the different exercises going all at it! But a lot of what I do is kind of hang back and push those kids who are struggling and get them through.

It’s really inspiring actually how hard our boys push themselves through. I can’t really get into too many specifics about these kids individually, but they all push themselves so hard!

All of the campers inspire me in one way or another!

There have been a good handful of frustrating times here as well. For anyone who has worked with kids can probably relate to where I’m coming from. My main frustration comes when kids don’t want to participate to their fullest potential. For example, during a lot of the sports activities, when we play them in bigger groups, there will be a handful of people who just kind of patrol the middle and walk a short distance back and forth, but never really fully get involved.

All of these kids are in such a perfect situation: a super low-fat, controlled diet, activities all day; it’s the perfect recipe for losing weight. WAC has the highest success rate across all of the camps of kids losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. But I worry that some of these kids are going to miss out on a perfectly good opportunity because they don’t push themselves. And that’s what frustrates me. I’ve come to care about these kids so much, I want them to get as much out of their experiences here, and when I see them just kind of coasting by, it gets to me. One kid said to me, that WAC is “a gateway to a better lifestyle.” He’s absolutely right, and I just wish everyone would realize that and push him or herself to that level!

I just hope when each of these kids leaves at the end of their session, they can think back of something that I said to them or something that I did and emulate it.

These kids really do inspire me every day, and I really feel blessed to have this opportunity. I truly believe this exact field is where I’m supposed to be. I know it’s far away, but I would love to work here next summer in the personal trainer/counselor role. It would work for the internship I need for me degree. Then the summer after that work here again, and since I will have earned my degree at that point, I would love to start working at the Wellspring Academy. There’s one nearby in Brevard, and there’s also one out in California. The Academies are basically boarding schools for kids who need the continued treatment. I would love to do this full time as a career.

I’m so stoked I made the changes I made in my life that have led me here, and I really hope when I’m done with school I have the opportunity to continue to work with Wellspring full time. The more time I spend immersed in the Wellspring Plan, and after reading Dr. Kirschenbaum’s (basically the founder of Wellspring) book, The Wellspring Weight Loss Plan, it’s become something I truly believe in. I really believe the Wellspring Plan is a scientifically based, successful way for individuals to lose weight and better themselves.

So that’s my update through the first two weeks of camp. I’m still very happy to be here. The shining moments of my kids pushing through a rough time totally overshadow all of the little frustrations.

I will say this: despite my joy in being here at camp, I’m still very much looking forward to being home at the end of July for Jon and Kate’s wedding! As I’ve mentioned, I’ve never been this far from home for this long, especially with not being able to communicate as frequently as I would normally be, and it’s harder than I expected. Being able to celebrate an amazing occasion with my family and a lot of our friends is something that I am definitely looking forward to!

Did you expect anything less than a novel? I hope your reading of this didn’t take too long, and I hope you enjoy hearing about my summer in North Carolina. I know I said I’d try and post weekly, and that’s still my intention…let’s just hope for better execution!

Thanks for reading!!

J.

The Start of my Adventure

Greetings from North Carolina!

It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve only been here for less than a week! It feels like I’ve been gone for like a month or something! I don’t mean that in a bad way; it’s just that there’s been so much information in this time so far and meeting new people, these 5 or 6 days I’ve been here already have been very full!

The drive down here wasn’t really as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, it was still about 9 hours on the road, by myself, but it could’ve been a lot worse. My plan was to get on the road around 6 AM Sunday the 13th, but I had a few errands to take care of before hand, so I left my place around 5:45 and officially headed out of West Lafayette around 6:30.

For those of you who know how I drive, I have a history of driving a little faster than the speed limit, and I have a handful of speeding tickets to show for it as well. Well, wouldn’t you know it, this trip wasn’t any different. I didn’t even make it out of Indiana before it happened. The “funny” thing was that I didn’t technically get pulled over. It was a reduced speed zone, and I apparently did not reduce my speed enough or in time. As I was driving I saw a cop who was out of his car and had just finished giving someone a ticket. He was in the middle of the street, so I kind of slowed down because I had no idea what this guy was doing. Apparently he was flagging me down to pull me over. One more ticket to add to the list.

Most of the trip was smooth sailing honestly. After that I tried to watch my speed a little bit. I had my mom’s Garmin, so I used that for directions. It was good too, because the closer I got to camp the less reception I got, so it was great to have that as guide. I stopped once for gas and once for lunch, so other than that, it was a lot of pedal to the metal.

There was one part of the trip that was kind of an inconvenience. I believe it was in Tennessee; I-75 was closed, so there was this massive detour. However, the road we were detoured to was this unbelievably curvy, windy road. I’m talking like S-like curves. It was crazy. I mean, it was kind of cool because the area there was really pretty. However, at this point, I hadn’t eaten yet, and my plan before the detour was to stop and get food. Then the detour hit, and I was on this road for about an hour. Once I finally got onto 75 I hit the next exit for lunch break. I got McDonald’s, because it was basically going to be my last non-Wellspring plan meal. I probably should’ve pigged out more than I did, but cash has also become a concern as well, so the Dollar Menu was my way to go.

I take that back. One more major inconvenience: it rained from Bloomington just about all the way to camp. That was less than enjoyable, definitely.

I forget how much longer I was on the road after that, but it wasn’t too much longer. Once I hit North Carolina, the roads seemed to immediately curve like crazy! Maybe it’s because I’m used to Indiana and the straightness of I-65 and 41, but these roads were crazy! Fun to drive on though, for sure!

I pulled into Wellspring around 3:30 and started to get settled into a cabin with some of the others who had already arrived. I realized as I was bringing in all of my bags that I probably packed way too much stuff. In my defense, I was moving out of my place at the same time, and since I have my car here with me, I’ll be able to keep excess stuff in there. Still, I may have over-packed. Nothing new I suppose.

The best way I can really describe camp is that it’s modest. It’s not a fancy resort with the top of the line kind of stuff, but I think that’s really a good thing. It’s in the middle of the mountains, which is really cool. It totally fits for the environment that we’re in and for the atmosphere we’re trying to provide for our kids. It does suck going from my amazingly comfortable queen-sized bed to a little cabin twin bunk bed. Thankfully there are few of us that we’re all on our own bottom bunks.

There’s lots of open space for all of our activities. There’s a basketball court that we’ve put to good use the past couple days. The pavilion is this open, covered space where we’ve had a lot of our training so far, but there’s also a little “fitness center” area under there. The cafeteria is a really nice area, and the porch is really cool to sit under. Like I said, camp itself is really modest, but so far I’ve really enjoyed being here, and I don’t foresee that changing very much.

The scenery here is wicked though! (Side note: I’m here with this guy from Boston, so I’ll probably be picking up some of his vocabulary.) From my cabin porch, you can see these beautiful mountains everywhere. It’s so nice! On our way back from the city yesterday we stopped at this lookout, just to check the view, and it was unreal! Mountains for days! It was just row after row after row of mountains! I hope I remember to upload my pictures and post them here soon. The scenery here is unbelievably beautiful! I can understand why my mom and Kels were concerned with me not coming back home. That’s not the case…I still have another two years of school left. But I can definitely see the appeal.

The first couple days were lifeguard training, and let’s just say it went less than favorably for me. Part of becoming certified is to tread water for two minutes, dive down to retrieve a brick and swim it back, and then the 300-meter swim. To make a long story short, swimming is not my thing. On the one hand, it sucks that I couldn’t make it through that swim because it would’ve been a free certification. On the other hand, I don’t foresee myself in the market for a job requiring me to be lifeguard certified.

Tuesday night after the day, a group of us headed into Brevard for a few beers for the night, and that was fun. I’ve made it a personal goal to try as many different local beers as I can.

Wednesday was spent doing CPR/AED/First Aid training, and that was a LONG day. It was a lot of information crammed into one day, so it made for a long day. I at least passed that test, so I’ll have that certification.

Thursday was a full staff day off, so after a morning run, I met up with a group in the lounge, and a bunch of us headed into downtown Asheville to spend the day. First we stopped at a couple outdoor equipment stores, so that wasn’t really my thing. Once we got into Asheville, it was time for lunch. After kind of walking around and debating where to go (it’s difficult to decide on one place with a group of 12), a group of us went to this place called Mellow Mushroom. The pizza there was ridiculous!! So good! I had a small cheese pizza to myself, and I had a piece of Hawaiian. And, of course, a couple beers. I have to share this though. The second beer I had was called Duck Rabbit Milk. It was in the same category as Guinness, and it tasted similarly. I mainly tried it for the name, but also because I enjoy Guinness. It was really pretty good!

Thursday kind of turned into a barhopping day for us. After Mellow Mushroom, we stopped at this place called the Lab. They brew their own beers, as do a lot of places in Asheville, I understand, so we tried a few of those. I had the Whitey and did not enjoy it at all. But, since I was paying for it, I had to stomach my way through it. We stopped at a couple of costume shops and “novelty” shops along the way. Asheville is a very laid back, hippy town, so one of these stores we went into was stocked with bongs and really trippy stuff. Interesting, to say the least.

After some more walking around the guys stopped at this place called Scully’s for a few drinks. They had $1.50 Bud Light bottles on special, so we made the right choice. We played a couple games of darts, had a couple beers, and then headed back to camp.

After a good day off, today has been full of training. All-staff training started today, so we’ve really been hit with policies, procedures, etc. I got my Wellspring water bottle, and I think shortly I’ll be getting my staff t-shirt. I’m planning on coming back with a bunch of goodies repping Wellspring. I’ve repped Purdue pretty hard here, so I’ll have to rep Wellspring when I get back on campus!

We breezed through a lot of the stuff this morning and afternoon, so we actually are just finishing up a 2+ hour break before a short session and dinner. Then that’ll be it for the night!

It’s been a pretty wild ride so far. I’ve met a lot of really cool people so far! The staff here is incredible! Lots of cool people with lots of different backgrounds. I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to using our individual experiences together as a group to affect the lives of these kids who are really going to need it!

Campers come in a little over a week! I’m so stoked to meet them and start working with them! It’s really going to be an awesome summer!

That’s all for now. I’m hoping to post again before the campers get here, to sum up the next week or so. Then I’ll post sparingly when I can. I hope you all enjoy hearing about my summer here. I know this post is long, but I doubt any of you are surprised!

Thanks for taking the time to read, and hopefully you’ll hear from me soon!

 

J.

My Upcoming Summer Adventure

Hey everyone!

Naturally it has been way too long since I posted last. This spring semester has kept me a lot more busy than I initially anticipated, although I guess most of them tend to go that way.

Most of the time the semester seemed to fly by, although I think it hit me the last couple weeks how jam-packed my semester had been and how worn down I really was. Taking 16 credit hours and working 30+ hours a week started to take a toll on me toward the end, and I really started to get run down. But, it’s all done, and I’m done with my first year in this new degree program…only another two years to go!

Although I didn’t quite enjoy the classes at the super-stoked level I was leading up to the semester, I still really enjoyed my classes this semester. If I did as well on two of my finals as I thought I did, and really as I should’ve because they were really easy, I believe I may earn all A’s this semester. That’s saying a lot, considering one of my classes this semesters was another dreaded anatomy and physiology class, BIOL 204. I ended up doing well enough on exam three in there, and, with the help of copious amounts of extra credit of course, should end up with an A. Granted it’s an 86% (an A starts at 85%), but it’s a hard-earned 86%, and as much as I questioned my having to take these courses, I think I’ll be better off for them. I really can say that about all of my classes I took this semester, so all in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful semester.

I can’t remember if I mentioned in a previous post about my desire to find a summer job working at a fitness or weight loss camp for kids, but after an idea last semester, I decided I wanted to look for something like that. After Googling “summer weight loss camps,” I found a number of camps that I wanted to apply for. After being lazy for a couple months and delaying updating my resume, I finally sat down, updated my resume and applied to Wellspring Camps. After not hearing back for maybe 2-3 weeks, I decided to take some initiative and call the main site, just to follow up and make sure they received my application.

After passing along my information to whomever, I heard back from Wellspring Adventure Camp in North Carolina. After a phone interview and reference check, I was offered a position as a camp counselor for the summer!!

Personally, the implications go well beyond just a great opportunity and great job experience. Don’t get me wrong, those are two very important “consequences” of this opportunity. It’s going to look great on my resume, and it will really be a great opportunity for me to see if this area, youth weight loss, is something I’d like to make a career of.

But being selected for this position, and really my grades this semester and last semester really, is vindication for me. It’s proof that my unconventional college path (7 years and counting) is going the way it’s supposed to. After being turned down by grad school twice, I was feeling pretty down about my future and my career and all of that. Now, whether or not it was what I should’ve been thinking, this isn’t the space for that. I’m not asking for sympathy comments, so don’t worry about leaving them in this regard (though I appreciate the thoughts). But honestly, I was pretty down on myself for that not working out for me. So to be successful in my classes, and then to be offered this summer position is really very vindicating for me, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

I’m going to say this right now, just to try and avoid the inevitable question that is sure to come up: no, I’m not working at a fat camp. It’s not a fat camp. Wellspring is about making the proper lifestyle changes to be more physically active and healthier. If it were just about temporary weight loss, then you could call it a fat camp. But there’s such an emphasis on these campers changing their lifestyle that makes it NOT a fat camp. So please, do not ask me if I’m working at a fat camp. It’s not “Heavy Weights,” although that movie is hilarious and, coincidentally, the name of my camp is also Camp Hope. It’s more than a fat camp, and I would appreciate if you don’t call it such.

I leave next Sunday, driving out to western North Carolina. I’ll have a few days of lifeguard and CPR/First Aid training, and then about a week of all-staff training, and then I believe the campers start arriving the 27th or 28th. I’m super-stoked about it! I feel like kind of a nerd, but I’ll admit I keep checking out the different emails I get from the director, checking the Facebook staff group page that has been created. I’m really excited to get out there. Other than coming to college, I’ve never really up and moved away somewhere on my own. And going to Purdue really doesn’t count; home is only an hour and fifteen minutes away. This summer I’m going to be about 9 hours away from West Lafayette, so over 10 away from home-home. It’s going to be different, but I’m really looking forward to the opportunity. It’ll give me a chance to see “test run” moving away from home if a job comes up after college that’s somewhere other than Indiana (which I would really like to pursue).

My cousin Jen summed it up pretty well. She said it’s “a job you love, helping others, in a beautiful, sunny state!! Doesn’t get better!!”

So I’m spending a couple days now at home, as a last trip to the HMD for the summer (except for a return trip for Jon and Kate’s wedding!!). Then it’s back down to West Lafayette to work for a week, pack my stuff up, catch the Glee Club’s End of Season show Saturday night, wake up and hit the road at 6 AM Sunday morning to head out! It’s kind of scary, honestly, but I’m really very excited to use my weight loss experience to motivate and inspire adolescents to hopefully do the same and show them it’s possible.

I do intend to post more frequently while I’m at camp. Rumor has it my cell phone reception should be pretty limited at camp, so I want to use this blog to keep anyone who’s interested on how the summer is going.

If you want to check out where I’m working, check out Wellspring Adventure Camp.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to update you all soon! Take care!

 

J

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