Monday, September 22, 2008

Reflections on camp culture and a sincere thank you to our friend in the West Indies

When I'm not bakery hunting, I spend my time working at a camp for children with various medical conditions. While I work very hard at what I do, I also have the privilege to work in an environment where I do something I really believe in. And on top of all the inspiration, I also experience unpredictable, often humorous, and often charming situations in my professional setting that most people would never dream of.

For example, after recently being trained to wrangle rattlesnakes at our campsite, I caught my first rattler this Saturday. (Skill acquisition my professors never warned me about when I was earning my degree in child development.) I am sometimes called on walkie-talkie under the guise of talking to my boss, only to then be "sneak attacked" by ten children with silly string and confetti. And then there are the days of mustache and unibrow missions : camp culture often dictates that if a female staff member enters a younger boys' cabin, they are required (under the jurisdiction of the cabin contract) to receive Sharpee mustaches and/or unibrows without resistance. What makes this even funnier is the fact that it takes strong-willed scrubbing for this to wash off. What with the fast paced and busy nature of camp life, employees go from Sharpee attacks to conference room meetings and escape any sort of judgment that would haunt a person in the real world. It's a pleasure to be surrounded by people who have a sense of humor about themselves-- imagine, if you can, 60 member of our staff performing a choreographed dance to Abba's "Waterloo" on the beaches of Malibu. Stories like this, while perhaps bizarre to other people, are for me, surprisingly not few and far between.

The other thing that comes with the territory is the charm and positivity I am able to experience due to being surrounded by a plethora of creative, genuine, and thoughtful people. This summer, when I was experiencing seriously mouth-watering cravings for Dining Hall dessert alternatives, I received a heaven-sent cheesecake in the mail from Meera, a thoughtful bakery hunter who I befriended when she volunteered at camp. (In theory, this was heaven-sent, in practice, she sent it while studying in the West Indies.) The fact that someone would take the time and effort to send a cheesecake while investing their time in a undoubtedly busy and intense medical school semester abroad is unbelievable to me! It's just one more reminder that the Great American Bakery Hunt is lucky to be surrounded by people who are more 150% more thoughtful than the leading brand.

Thanks Meera, once again, for supporting the bakery hunt, from Cincinatti to the West Indies and wherever you are. While it's taken me awhile to post a thank-you, just know we've been thinking of you this summer as we were wrangling snakes, getting Sharpee mustaches, and greeting bus-fulls of children as they entered the gates of camp. Take care out there.
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