The Start of my Adventure

by Jeremy Chance

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!