As Rock Camp approaches, I find myself readying for the week and its demands. Enthusiasm and excitement do a lot to energize me for each day at camp. The campers themselves build me up and provide a boost. The volunteers do the same. Heck – every high-five I give / get is like a battery charge. But those things only go so far. I also rely on some rituals that have served me well in the past. Some of these things bring me comfort. Others allow me the gift of time. Here, in no particular order, are a few of my old faithfuls…


Clothes: I lay out my clothes – for the entire week – in advance. This may seem silly, but it makes a huge difference each morning of camp, being able to simply grab that day’s allotted clothing and go. Because I’ve worked it all out in advance (including under garments, socks and shoes), I don’t have to think about it. At all. And during camp week, I want every minute of sleep I can get. Waking up a few minutes early to figure out the day’s attire blows.


Cleanliness: I do my best to shower each night before bed during camp week. It’s usually all I can do to simply collapse at the end of the day. In the mornings, I’m hyped, sure, but still want as much sleep as the snooze-a-roo will allow. So that night-before-shower is a blessing. And another thing – I take deodorant with me to camp each day. A little refresher is a kindness not just for me, but for those around me, if you get my drift. I know someone who brings baby wipes and refreshes the old arm pits with those. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m not opposed. Whatever gets a gal through the day, you know?


Hydration: This one is huge, as it can take you out of the game if you’re not careful. At Rock Camp, we bring our own coffee cups and water bottles. We do this to cut down on waste, and we do it to cut down on money spent on cups that will eventually become said waste. Personally, I bring a coffee travel mug and use that baby right up until lunch. Then I put it away and pull out my water bottle. That one is constantly being filled the rest of the day. Because we’re running around, up-and-down-stairs, carrying gear, hauling trash, teaching, coaching and generally all-things-volunteer for 8 hours each day, dehydration is a very real risk. I’ve already stocked my Gator-ade supply so that I can scribble my name on a few and bring one each day, just for help. I’m not kidding about this one. I’ve been obsessive about drinking enough water and still I’ve failed. Try, try again.


Know Your Limits: Rock Camp is about the super-coolest environment I’ve ever known. And the other volunteers are, well, they’re amazing. At the end of each camp day, we all love each other so much – we want nothing more than to hang out for the rest of the night. And guess what – we can! Planned and unplanned activities take place each evening, allowing us to socialize away from camp. It’s fantastic, I tell ya! Really! Now – all that being said, I know my limits. I do not have what it takes to work at camp all day, then party with my friends all night, 5 days straight. So I turn down most evening’s activities. I hate doing it. I do. But I know I need rest. I know I need to decompress each night. I know I need that nightly shower so that I won’t flat out stink the next morning. And every time I miss an outing, my heart breaks a little. But miss I must. Others may fare just fine with little rest. And I applaud them. I also applaud me – for knowing me and my limits.


Groceries at Home: I stock up a few days before camp, making sure the basics are covered. I also try to have a few freezer items, to make it easy. Take-out happens during camp week, too. And I’m okay with that. Basically – I know I’ll be tired when I get home each day (and I’m usually late), so I want to make it easy on myself. My friend Betro reminded me to add beer to my list, as throwing back a cold one each night during camp may be required. Medicine, you know.


Admin at Home: I get all my known admin responsibilities lined up before camp, that way I don’t have to worry. I want to make sure a bill doesn’t slip through the cracks that week. It’s too easy to forget a must during Rock Camp. I can’t handle a late fee or the like, so I take care of business before camp. It gives me peace of mind.


Friends: Most everyone I know is aware of my Rock Camp association. And during camp week, very few people try to contact me. For the few who do reach out then, I’m afraid they just have to wait. I’ve accepted this and am okay with it. Friends – real friends – are, too.


Mister: Like friends, Mister sort of takes a back seat during camp week. He’s had enough practice with my schedule to know he won’t be seeing me much until camp is wrapped. And when he does see me during that week, I’m frazzled. My focus is on camp, not on him. It happens. I’m fortunate to be with a guy who understands and supports me. Mister doesn’t take my absence personally, and he knows just how good Rock Camp is for me. And good for me, friends, equals good for him. Smart guy.


I’m sure I’m forgetting about a million-billion-god-zillion things. There’s just so danged much! But this little list is a good start for me. And it really does help. Maybe this year I’ll take note of a few more things to add to my list, for next year. To get better. To be better.


Then again, I may be kidding myself if I think I’ll get anything more done than hitting that nightly shower. Sure hope I don’t fall asleep in there. Dag.

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