Remembering my good ‘ole’ camper days as the campers’ Ate (ie. older sister). I was invited to become a junior facilitator in my first camp and reminisced how I enjoyed every moment in my ability to pursue my passions through joined workshops and activities, develop my talents, learn new skills, make new friends and spend my happiest moments with them, while facing the responsibilities such as being a role model to campers, monitoring the cleanliness of rooms, taking care of buddies and serving food during meals. It was indeed worth my summer to the point that I ended up writing an excellent feedback on camp as a blog entry. I explained my reasons why the camp was indeed an enjoyable life-learning experience while remaining contact with my newly-made friends whom I have already realized as my “friends for life.”
I was then promoted to become an apprentice facilitator two years later. I was still known as the campers’ Ate yet with much more responsibilities on hand to the point that I was starting to have less time for breaks and social interactions. Most of my known tasks required so much sweat and blood that obliged me to work during the campers’ regular break and my new assignments were to co-facilitate in certain activities and workshops such as morning exercises, social skills workshop and Superhero Team Quest as room marshal. I could already feel the ‘pain’ of being a coach at that moment. It turns out that I was right when I have finally become part of the facilitator’s circle in this year’s camp, providing a more leveled-up experience than my previously attended camps.
Being a volunteer coach is not an easy job. It requires so much heavier workload and responsibilities to the point that I am having a hard time knowing when to take grooming and self-care breaks (the only breaks facilitators can have during the day which can be even less than enough), which tasks to do first and when to finish a certain task when other tasks are piling up while I am still on the process on doing the current task. I am also having a hard time following instructions especially when they are explained abruptly yet I am still expected to understand them like they are already clear. Having eyes on camper buddies and being a role model to campers (though I have less difficulties in these) are twice as expected in a senior and volunteer facilitators compared to being a junior and an apprentice facilitators. Rules expected in a camper to follow are twice as expected in a coach to live with, as much as self-control (controlling emotions – esp. negative, adapting appropriate behavior, dealing with pressure, being responsible for own actions..) is twice as vital.
There are times when I miss being a camper and want to go back from where I started. There are times when I am so easily carried away by pressure to the point that I almost ‘cried’ (yet I thankfully did not. Anyways sorry though..). But being a coach is part of my continuous life-learning experience from what I learned as a camper (especially now that I am already an adult), the main reason of which I did not regret choosing this path especially that being a coach has been part of my dreams. I learned to be independent and responsible not only in my daily living tasks (packing my plates, fixing my bed and proper belongings, grooming myself) but also in performing the assigned tasks and taking initiatives (though I am still learning honestly speaking). I have managed to pour my creative juices onto the campers’ kit, certificate, button pin design and the camp video presentation I made and the tasks themselves have further enhanced my creativity that I can use for both work and leisure. I have also managed to handle the pressure no matter how hard it is, as well as unbearable circumstances I have no control over. Last but not the least, I have found time for FUN. Seeing the campers performing on stage, playing games, doing morning exercises (to be honest, there was a time when I asked myself if I could join the campers’ in their morning jog yet I realized later on that I was no longer one of them so I did not join) and participating in the activities and workshops of their choice makes me relive those good ole experiences as a camper and I have still managed to build new friendships and interact with old friends (especially after the program) despite having little time for socialization. Looking back at the photos and videos I took had also made me relive those moments in camp.
And meanwhile..my life as a volunteer facilitator..
As much as the campers have seen the coaches as their role models, I have also honestly considered my co-facilitators as role models in working individually and as a team. They have inspired me to be a team player both in and outside camp.