Texas Missions Trip: Day 6…

As I anticipated, I wouldn’t have any time to write for the remainder of our trip. We have now been home for two days and I am finally able to write these last few posts about our time in Texas.

Thursday (Day 6) was another long and tiring day. The cabin that both Jordan and I were in went from activity to activity, and broke up fight after fight. At this point in the week, the campers were tired and getting on each other’s nerves (worse than the day before). They were insulting each other, starting arguments with each other, hitting each other with whatever they could find, and various other things. The thing that set all of the chaos into motion was Mother Nature. Due to the thunderstorms that lasted all afternoon, our group was forced to stay inside at a place called “Grace House.” Grace House is a cabin type structure where games are played (board games, group games, etc.). The kids were so upset that we couldn’t go to the pool to swim. They couldn’t grasp the concept of why we can’t swim during a thunder and lightning storm for some reason!

What made this particular day interesting was that our girls (Abby, Katelyn, Kristen) were there running the games. So they got to experience the chaos of our group of campers. At first it started out as fun and games, but then it became an all-out brawl! The kids started wrestling with each other, and then it progressed to pushing, and eventually hitting. The counselors broke it up but it was still a bad situation with everyone mad at each other and still trying to fight. Some of the campers were playing games and having fun, but there were about 7 or so that were involved in the royal rumble! One of my counselors had to step out for an hour or so to try to calm down (that’s how stressful it was working with these kids at times). Some of the campers got upset to the point of crying and not talking to anyone. I had to call in back up (the main case worker lady who was there that week) to get through to one of the kids.

After the storms passed (weather storms…not the storms of the kids), we went to the sports pavilion where we played basketball, hockey, and rolled around on scooters! This activity was mostly a success. I say mostly because we had a few incidents here as well. One of our campers slashed another in the leg with a hockey stick. When the case worker from our cabin and I tried to find out what actually happened, we got conflicting stories from everyone who “saw” it happen. The kid who got hit said that the hitter did it on purpose. The kid who did the hitting said that it was an accident as he was going to hit the hockey puck. And another kid gave us two different stories of what he thought he saw happen. Long story short, we concluded that it was an accident and that others were blowing it out of proportion to try to get the hitter in trouble.

The rest of the day went well…until bedtime! I’m not sure how it first started, but at one point, when most of the cabin was asleep, one of our campers started flipping out. He was swearing at kids and leaders, hitting kids and leaders, trying to start fights, insulting everyone, making kids cry, and going nuts. The case worker said that it’s best to not give the kid an audience because it seemed like he just wanted attention. So we ignored his shenanigans for over an hour. During that hour, he still didn’t calm down. He was pounding on the wall, swearing, and yelling at people. My insult that he was calling me was “pork-chop head!” Tyler’s was “messed up nose.” And one of the other counselors was “nerd.” The funniest one though, was the name he gave Jordan. He was calling him “Jordan Head.” I guess he really couldn’t find an insulting thing to say to Jordan. Ha-ha.
During this whole situation, we had to have two other case workers come in to talk to the kid, and eventually, we had the person running the camp come to take him away for the night. After he was finally gone, our next task was to calm the kids down who he upset. The whole process from when he started flipping out until when we had the last kid calmed down was about 4 hours. It was a long ending to a long day. The kid that was causing the problems came back the next morning and was calmed down, but that was only temporary.

It was a chaotic experience for some of the counselors and campers. Although it was a bit much, I was glad that two of my students (from my youth group) were there to experience it and learn about what to do in situations like that. It was definitely shocking and a learning experience for them!

So, after reading all of this, I think you can see why I had no time to write about Day 6 on Day 6!

Until next time…

– paulg

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