Thursday, June 17, 2010

Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing

In any team building facilitators course you learn this is the process group adjustment. I think of this often as I join new groups and immerse myself in life's newest chapter. I guess it's comparable to understanding the process of grief; the expectation of certain feelings seems to help life feel natural and content. Here at Mountain Campus, after three weeks of work I'm probably still in the first stage.
It took a week to get a vague understanding of my co workers and job expectations. At least two to get Geronimo acclimated to everything (he's working hard too entertaining kids and digging holes to plant trees in). And now in our third week we are wrapping up Spring season with our last school group before two weeks of training usher in summer camp, which will bring a nearly all new staff. Starting early has afforded me the opportunity to shadow co workers in real life situation, but I'm excited to officially go through training and have a more through picture to life and work around here.
Shenandoah in one word? exhausting.
I think a lot about other loves. And by that I mean geographic ;) Glacier, Camp Alta Mons, lands I feel so connected to it's hard not to reminisce and long for those familiar lands which sparkle with fond memory. This week however Shenandoah is starting to seep into more recent memory. My first SSMC hike into Shenandoah National Park to a cool swimming hole filled with tadpoles. My first canoe trip down the Shenandoah River peppered with shoving canoes off rocks, sweeping 13 boats of fourth graders down stream, my brilliant students spotting bald eagles and herons, all complete with the fierce typical afternoon thunder storm, topped off with gorgeous evening light. These wonderful children will be on their way back to Washington DC before I know it and the next two weeks I'll trade my teaching ways in for student notes in wilderness first aid and procedures around campus.
I am seeing a lot of my family, which is nice as my older sister will soon be leaving for a year in Tanzania Africa.
I miss my friends out west terribly. And in the east for that matter as my rigorous schedule offers little personal time.
The days get longer. Summer sneeks around a river bend.
such is life.
Geronimo and I - we are here. We are open and leaning.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


When these southern Appalachians cool off in the aftermath of a fierce summer storm they are nothing short of intoxicating. Evening light floods the valley to the east of the ridge that Shenandoah National Park encompasses. Leaves whisper in the post rain breeze. Memories rush into corners of my mind and heart, flooding out the cobwebs of my eastern life, put there by many months in the Rocky Mountains. Last night I watched lightening bugs sparkle a Christmas in June show in the treeline past my cousin's backyard with Steve, Lora, Thunder and Day Tripper.
Work is overwhelming.
I'm still getting used to these surroundings and the operating procedures around Mountain Campus. Every day gets a little more comfortable, and the staff is welcoming, professional, passionate about outdoor education, and kind.
Stay tuned... more to come soon!