Last Week of the Summer

Today is Sunday; this means that in about 45 minutes, a new wave of campers and their parents will arrive at Camp Hebron.  This will be the last camp week of the summer.  By this time next week, Mel and I will be at home in the Shenandoah Valley, probably (if our current plans hold true) done with church at Alethia and up on a ridge in Shenandoah National Park somewhere.

Last week was pleasantly slow on the first aid side of things.  No major incidents, just some homesick campers with the typical upset stomachs, minor injuries, and allergies.  I also gained a new nickname.  As I walked down the hill from lunch one afternoon, a camper passing with his cabin popped up beside me, said “Hey Nurse-Dude!” and zipped off down the hill.  I am now Nurse-Dude.  As a great superhero, in my cape, purple nitrile protective gloves, and Teva sandals, I stand in the breech between illness, injury, vomit, and the campers of Camp Hebron.

Ok, not nearly that cool.  Still, “Nurse-Dude” would make a pretty cool Marvel comic book.  Wonder what his special power would be…”The incredible power to vaporize vomit!”  I could actually use that.  That way, I wouldn’t have to clean up the spagetti deposited on the grass at the swimming pool by a camper with an upset stomach.  I’d just look at it and ZAP!  No more mess!

Running actually (finally!) felt fairly good today.  Temperatures were such that I didn’t feel like a car without antifreeze, and I actually felt somewhat fit over the first three-quarters of the run.  Friday’s run was a suffer-fest though.  The temperature in the mid-90’s, and I honestly could feel my brain boiling.  I swear that when I jumped in the swimming pool, steam came off the water.  I’m proud of the fact that I went running, more to keep up the habit of running.  Though in retrospect, someone with my propensity for heat stroke probably should not have been out running at that time in the afternoon.

Looks like family vacation will be the week after next.  Asheville, NC, here we come!

Best Saturday Ever.

For those who read this blog with any sort of regularity, you might notice a theme.  There is usually a lapse in posts mid week, and then the blog picks up on weekends.  Basically, the blog follows our life at this point.  We work hard during the week, and then play on the weekend.

This weekend was awesome.  First, my mom and my sister visited.  We drove down and visited my grandparents at Messiah Village in Mechanicsburg/Grantham area.  I hadn’t seen them for several years, and Mel had never met Grandpa Zook.  It was great to see them again.

We then went to a big garden place called Stouffers.  We got a little punchy, and here are the pictures to prove it!

Mary met a friend.


Then, we went swimming in the Yellow Breeches Creek in Grantham.  Mom and my sister stayed until about 3PM.  Then they had to head home so my sister could go to a camp reunion.

So, Melissa and I headed to Lake Tobias.  And we took tons of pictures.  Here are some samples:

Melissa was excited!

Is your mama a llama? Just wondering...

Bears. Specifically Black Bears. Even though some were brown.

I met a donkey! He was Sicilian.

Climbing at the Olympics? Maybe!

I was checking out the 2011 Teva Mountain Games website (which looks really cool!), and I found a link to the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) website.  Not even knowing that there was an organization like the IFSC, I followed the link and found an interesting bit of news.

Apparently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has shortlisted sport climbing as a possible sport for the 2020 Olympic Games program.  The article on the IFSC website says:

“The International Olympic Committee just announced the shortlisted sports for 2020

Durban, South Africa – Sport Climbing is one of the 8 sports shortlisted for the Olympics 2020. The announcement was made by the IOC ahead of the the 123rd IOC session in Durban, South Africa.

The sports in the shortlist will be considered for inclusion in the sports programme of the 2020 Summer Olympiad. Some of the sports included in the list – like baseball and softball – were dropped from the Olympics in 2008, and are looking for reinstatement, while others are not new to the list of possible candidates (karate, roller sports, squash). Toghether with wakeboard and wushu, sport climbing is for the first time ever being considered as a possible addition to the program.

The IOC will take the final decision on the sport to be admitted in 2013, at the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires.

The comments by IOC President Jacques Rogge on the inclusion of slopestyle events in skiiing and snowboarding in 2014 may sound as a good omen for sport climbing.
“It is growing very fast – said Rogge. You have young, dedicated, spectacular athletes…” which may as well apply to our sport.”

That is pretty much the entire announcement, but you can read it in its original form here.

At this point, only four cities have officially submitted bids for the 2020 Olympic Games; Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, and Istanbul.  There are many more that may submit bids.


Running can be Discouraging…

As a First Aid Consultant, I don’t have a very active job.  Basically, I’m paid to stay around the first aid station (otherwise known as the “FAC Shack”), and be on call in case injuries or illnesses happen. Being a FAC is a bit like being a fighter pilot; 99% boredom, interspersed with 1% sheer terror.

So, in an effort to:

  1. Make my day a bit more interesting
  2. Improve my health and physical fitness
  3. Get away from my routine and camp (for a short time)

I have started running each day.  I started this a few weeks ago.

The only problem is, right now I feel like I’m regressing in my running ability rather than progressing.  I went for a run this afternoon, and managed to stumble along for about a mile.  This, of course, made me quite unhappy.  Now granted, several factors played into it.  It’s stupid, crazy hot around here right now, and I have been going for a run mid-afternoon which tends to be the hottest part.  Also, I’m developing an excellent case of shin splints, and I don’t have a rubber band to fix them with.  I’d like to just stop running for the rest of the week until it becomes cooler and I get a rubber band, but I’m afraid to loose what I’ve gained by not running for multiple days in a row.

I know I’ll get there, and I don’t run expecting miracles (more so with hope for the future).  But at the same time, it would feel good to make a  little bit of progress for once…

This is my life...

Respite from Camp

We’ve been working hard at camp lately.  All the people working at camp have been feeling the strain of four solid weeks of camp life.  It was time for a break.

The program director arranged for a staff outing this past Saturday.  We all piled into the van and went tubing on the Juniata River.  We put in at the red dot, and took out at the blue dot after making a right turn onto the Susquehanna.

Good times!  After running the shuttle, dropping the vehicles off at the end of the float and smearing ourselves liberally with sunscreen, we climbed onto our tubes and floated off towards destiny. There were only two problems; first, the river was not running very quickly, which meant that we floated off toward destiny (or, if not destiny, at least Duncannon) at speeds which even the turtles we saw sunning on the river banks would not envy.  Second, we were under a beautifully cloudless blue sky, which means that we baked as we floated.  I know how a hot dog feels over the fire.

We attempted to improve our ground covering abilities by rafting all the tubes into a blob, then having a canoe tow us.  Alas, inner tubes are not very maneuverable, and don’t slip easily through the water under tow.  Additionally, as we slowly drifted with the current, sunscreen slowly began to wear off.

We made it to the take out at Duncannon, and had good ice cream (though not as good as the ice cream at Kline’s Dairy Bar back home).  We had  a lot of people with truly epic sunburns.  Luckily, I had decided to wear a quick-dry t-shirt during the day (thank you EHART 2011!), and had escaped major burns, though I did get a little on my arms.

Basically, tubing was a lot of fun, but when it comes to river sports I think I prefer canoeing or kayaking.  There just wasn’t much to do, which explains why all the groups I see tubing back home on the Shenandoah River have a tube devoted to floating a cooler filled with everyone’s favorite beverage along for the ride.  I bet tubing is more fun when you’re hammered…


And now for something completely different (Thank you Mr. Cleese). 



As some of you know, I recently took a Wilderness First Responder course through SOLO.  It was my hope that this course would allow me to upgrade to the WEMT level.  After the course ended, I went ahead and contacted SOLO and inquired what was required to upgrade.

I was mailed a re-certification packet, a stack of paperwork, and a 100 question multiple choice exam (which I had to score at least 70% on).  I mailed all of the required information, as well as the answer sheet for the exam, and a $25 fee back to SOLO, then waited.

I heard back from SOLO within the week (they really have impressive office staff).  I passed!  My card was in the envelope with a letter explaining the re-certification process.

So, I’m now a WEMT.  Woot!


Halfway Done

We are finishing up our fourth week here at Camp Hebron with campers, which means there are four weeks of camp to go.  We’re at the halfway point!  Every time I think about the fact that Mel and I have been living here in PA since June 1 I’m a little shocked.

Melissa and her crew (click for larger pic).

Life has been pretty good, though it has also been busy.  Luckily this week has been pretty quiet on the medical side.

Melissa has been able to join the Ultimate Adventure crew on a bunch of their adventures.  She got to go caving with them yesterday, and went rock climbing with them at Chickey’s Rock.  On Monday, she did 10 miles on the AT with her group.  She’s been having a great time, and her group has really seemed to connect well with her.  If you’d like to see more pictures of Melissa, myself, and life at Camp Hebron, check out the Camp Hebron Flickr page.

Melissa at work.

We thought we’d get a relatively cool summer due to the relatively low temperatures so far.  This past week, summer finally caught up to us with temperatures in the 90’s and high humidity.  It almost felt like home!  It’s made my afternoon run a bit uncomfortable, but I’m having a lot of trouble forcing myself out of bed each morning, so running in the morning is out of the question at this point.

We’re still looking for jobs, and at this point nothing is certain.  We may be staying in Harrisonburg when we return, or we may end up moving somewhere else.  I might have two places interested enough to offer interviews, but they haven’t informed me of anything yet.

Also, for those who are in Harrisonburg; we’ll be back in the ‘burg on the weekend of July 16.  We’re both excited to see our friends, family, and cat.  We’re planning on seeing HP #7 part #2 on Saturday night, if anyone wants to come with…

One Year

So, I was sitting in my dorm lounge, absolutely exhausted from cross country practice that day and watching something brainless on the Discovery channel.  I had my feet propped up, and I was half asleep.  Melissa walked in, looking for the ministry assistant from my floor, and stopped to say hi.  She perched on the couch across the room, we traded the usual “you’re new here at college” questions (name, hometown, major, why EMU), and then she moved on.  Neither of us thought we’d really run into each other again.  We ended up dating about a month or two later.

That was almost 6 years ago.

A year ago today, we got married.  We like to say we’ve married our best friend.  I’ve gained a hiking partner for life, and so has Melissa!

It’s been quite a year.  We’ve had fun moments and scary moments (mostly involving money).  We’ve shared enjoyable moments with friends, and learned a lot.  We’re looking forward to the future, even if it is uncertain.

Thanks for everything everyone!  We’ve really appreciated your help in the past year.