(For the past 2 weeks I've been neck deep in a youth camp. July 24th and 25th was the staff training, July 26 - August 4th was the camp itself. I'm going back in time, but there was enough that happened each day that you can expect a post for each of the 12 days I was away. Just bear with me - these are going back in time a bit)
It's July 24th at 12:10am.
I've heard it said that if a fish judges itself by the ability to climb, it will always be a failure. There's the expression "a fish out of water" that points towards the experience of not really being familiar or comfortable.
Familiar... from the same root as "familial" or relating to family.
In my personal history I've spent years, literally years doing transformational youth camps (which you could also call personal growth youth camps). Youth on Purpose, which used to be a thing in the Vancouver area, was my first taste of the personal growth world and while it had its challenges it also helped me make some really positive changes in my life. It created a good foundation.
Now I'm here with the Teen Journey society on the Sunshine Coast doing something that's similar, but not the same. I've had three people call me "the camp dad" tonight, because in years past I've been the timekeeper, the structure provider, the person who tells the crew that they need to wash their dishes and clean up after themselves and still somehow I find out that I've created this unexpectedly close connection with teenagers.
If I do this well, it's not because anything in my life before ever pointed towards me doing this well. If I'm a fish, this feels like water and not like climbing. Before becoming involved in the Teen Journey Society I never knew that one of the things I was good at was running youth camps.
It makes me wonder sometimes what other secret genius lives inside of people. What weird circumstances would make someone into a superhero for a day, or a week?
TJ remains the most meaningful volunteer work I've ever done. There's so much here that's good. As an example - we're having a honest-to-god sit down talk with a frank, awesome sex educator this year, and already some of our staff are wishing they could wind the clock back to when they were kids and get this kind of information about their bodies and desires before they made a mess instead of after.
Imagine how fortunate I feel, to not only be doing this but to find out that I'm good at it. Just imagine it.