Recently I was able to be a camp staff at a Foster Care Sibling camp here in Nebraska. Its called Camp Catch Up. This was my first sibling camp.
So many siblings are seperated in the foster care system. This camp is the only time the alot siblings get to see each other all year. They put this camp on to get the youth to bond and have fun together. The whole weekend camp is filled with activites for the youth.
The main focus is for everyone to have fun. I had an awesome family I was in charge of. They were all so much fun and amazing. Our cabin was amazing and we even had T-Shirt time. Thats right we woke up everymorning singing about T-Shirt time.
We had so many activites planned for the youth. The first activity we did was fishing. The camp staff put corn on our lines and at first I was thinking how could this work. Arent you suppose to use a worm? Well I went with it. I tossed my line in the water and within 5 mins I got a bite. I was so excited.
The lil kid I was with got so excited. I started to reel in my line and when I got close the line would draw back out there. I knew I had something big on my line cause I was having the hardest time reeling this fish in. I fought with this fish for about 15 min trying to reel it in.
Finally I got it into shallow water and saw this huge fish on my line. So I had to figure out a plan to pull this big guy in. So my all the kids said to drag it on the grass. So I reeled it in as much as I could and than started walking back with it to pull it on the grass. This thing was huge.
Finally after about 20 min fighting with this huge fish I got him on the grass and it seemed tired. As I was pulling on the line the line snapped and the fish was trying to hop back into the water. I knew I put too much into this to let it get away so I hop on the fish and wrestle with it. This fish was so big. I realized I caught a 15 pound Catfish.
The kids were so excited they named him Hank. Well it came to decision time. Let the fish go or have dinner. Well after lots of encouragement from the kids I had to keep the fish. The catch though was I had to cut its head off and filet it. So for those of you that dont know me I am a big city boy. I am the farthest thing from a country boy or fisherman.
So I had never had to cut a fish yet alone hold it. So when the staff tried having me hold the fish I screamed like a lil girl afraid to hold it. Finally I had to build up my courage for the kids and hold it. It wasnt bad after the fish stopped trying to bite me or hit me in the face lol Than came the hard part. Cutting Hanks head off. It was the worse thing ever.
I was screaming the whole time "I am sorry Hank" lol finally after about 20 min I cut the head off and filet the fish. We had some other great activties planned for the youth. Next we did arts and crafts. The youth wanted to paint my face so being the great guy I am I let them paint my face. It was fun.
My youth also made these awesome duct tape braclets. Than we went tubbing down the river. I had a lil boy in my group that was scared to go tubbing so he made me a deal. If I went and held onto his tube he would go. So here we are tubbing down the river and the current is taking me into these trees.
So I have to save this kid and keep me from getting beat up by these trees. so I push him to another staff and I tangle with the tree. He is screaming for me so I go running down the river to catch up. Than BAM my leg hits a huge rock in the river and ouch I get this huge goose egg lump on my leg but I caught up to my lil buddy and he was having so much fun.
As we got closer to the end he wanted to tub on his own and he did such a great job. So that was the end to an amazing first day. I wake up the next day and realize I have the biggest sunburn ever. I never get sunburn. I am always tan from being in Florida but now that I live in Nebraska and there is no sun I get sunburn.
So I suck it up and get ready for an amazing next day. So the first activity on our to do list is a highwire and rock climbing wall. So my youth are telling me they want me to do the highwire. So I have to do it. Well I climb up this pole and step on this metal wire and grab another wire above my head.
Now I have to walk across this wire. The wind is blowing and I am shaking and I am hoping I dont fall down. Well with the encouragement of the youth I make it all the way across. Next up is the rock wall. Well my lil friend in my group who is the youngest in the group and shortest deciedes he wants to do this wall but only if I do it after him.
So he goes up this wall that no one is able to climb to the top of and he climbs right to the top. When he gets down he starts talking smack about how easy it is and how I cant beat his time up there.So I make it up the wall and on my way down I end up breaking one of the handles as the staff said I was doing a perfect repeal.
So next thing up is the Highwire. Now this wire is so high up and there are lots of trees around. So I am the first up cause I have to help the staff below stop the kids from smashing into the pole. So I get hooked up and ask who is gonna stop me from hitting the pole.
The staff says me. Great my luck I would smack into this pole and get hurt for two days in a row. well I get up on the platform and now I either need to walk off or jump off. I am thinkg there is no way I am jumping off and all I can think about is smacking into this huge pole at the end of the line. I look back and the kids are yelling jump jump jump.
So I turn around and jump off and fly down screaming like a lil girl. I finally am getting close to the end of the line and gotta stop myself. so I drag my feet and I stopped close to the pole. In my group we had 3 kids who were scared to go down the zipline but they faced their fear and went down. I was so proud of them.
So now we have this Gaga Pit that is just a pit full of mud for people to roll around in. We also have this huge makeshift water slide that we all go down. The kids had such a great time and they were so happy they were able to see their siblings. So the final event we have planned is a talent show. After much practice me and my lil buddy are ready for our time to shine. So we go in the back and look at the costumes. My lil buddy picks out a grass skirt and a wig for me to wear. He wears a bikini shirt and some red pig tails like Wendy.
We get up on stage and we are ready to shine. So we grab the mic and bust out....... I'm a lil teapot. It was the best version ever At the end of the camp the youth were able to tell everyone the best part of the camp and a couple of youth said I was the best part and I have to come back again and be their staff.
This put the biggest smile on my face and I felt like I accomplished my goal for the camp. I am going to another camp on the 23rd and I am so excited. Its so rewarding working with foster youth. I could never see me doing anything else with my life.
I will be sure to write another blog about how the second camp goes. I know it will be amazing. Until than remember the greatest feeling in the world is giving back