CFW: Monday

Despite sleeping on an air mattress with some guys who like to snore, I surprisingly slept decently last night.  An air mattress helps. Perhaps I even got more sleep than I normally would during the work week, which is crazy (so I should sleep more maybe?).

Had breakfast, chilled for a bit, then had Mass. There was a call for someone to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and I volunteered, rather excitedly. But, Mass got super awkward for me because I went up at the wrong time and apparently the priest wasn’t used to people kneeling to receive the Eucharist. Oh well.  Turns out he doesn’t want people kneeling because of the small confines of the chapel we have for Daily Mass.  Understandable.  Also, I promise I’m a pro EMHC…just…I’m not used to serving at other parishes because there’s always a slight tweak in logistics.  Also, there was a group of usual parishioners at Mass too.  I couldn’t help but think about what they could possibly be thinking about, seeing a 100-person camp invade the chapel.  They seemed to enjoy our singing.

After Mass and grabbing water bottles, we all separated out to go to our different work sites.  Today, my small group and another small group headed over to one of the local Boys and Girls Clubs.  I’ve never been to one before.  I expected having to deal with a bunch of rambunctious kids who are hard to deal with, no respect, etc. But to my surprise, the kids were very playful and showed a decent amount of respect. Whew.

So, we had about 15 CFWers (adults/bdults, campers, and A-Team) help out, and we spread ourselves out between the gym, the game room, and the art room and library. The way it works is that a group kids of similar age go from station to station throughout the day.  For me, I started out with the 8-10 year old boys because they were playing pool in the game room.  I was impressed at how good these guys were! Now even though I tried to purposely not brag by being too good at pool, I felt like some of the boys that I played pool with could still school me.  And some of them did.  I learned that there are only two main games that they play: white ball or black ball.  White ball is similar to the normal 8-ball game, but black ball is a free-for-all-just-hit-everything-in type of game.  And then, depending on who you’re playing against, there are extra tweaks to the rules, haha.

After hanging out in the game room, I went into the gym for a while where I played a few games appropriate for a gym setting. You know, one of those “I-Call-Out-Something-And-You-Run-Here” sort of games. I promptly got out because the kids are fast. Then I watched for a while.  But what was weird was the awkward down time before finally getting started.  Apparently, the Boys and Girls Club staff can easily put the entirety of the group of kids in time out if they don’t be quiet or listen to directions.  So, it took a while for the kids to be quiet and thus it took a while to get the games started.  Lots of awkward standing around.  Then at the end, it was free play with a volleyball, some basketballs, and a football.  Absolutely insane.  I’m surprised no one got hurt.  Kids everywhere! x_x

During these fun times in the game room and the gym, I made a few friends! Haha. Kids are awesome.  So, I like how it was kind of awkward for us at the beginning and we didn’t know what to do, but for most of us, we were immediately invited by the kids to come play. That made it easier. The campers’ willingness to jump into games was pretty cool to see. But I think what was really cool was how well everyone dealt with the kids. We had a few sad kids, and some of the campers provided a shoulder to cry on and tried to make things better. Shout out to girl campers in my small group for spending the time necessary to make two sad little girls all better!  One particular girl was sad because she felt like no one wants to be her friend and she felt like that she was being made fun of by another girl.  Not only that, but her mom took something away from her earlier in the morning.  I mean, totally #kiddrama but …still my heart goes out to her, and I’m really glad that one of my campers hung out with her to make her feel better.

While all this was fun and games, I kept forgetting that most of these kids aren’t in the best of situations at home.  I heard a few campers’ comments how they’d be asked by the kids about stuff and how the kids would be surprised/amazed about how someone isn’t in jail or how the camper’s parents aren’t divorced, etc. Some of the kids opened up to our campers and told their whole life story and it’s really sad what some of these kids have to deal with. And most of them aren’t even over the age of 12!  It makes me feel extremely grateful for my childhood and growing up in a good situation, and my heart goes out to these kids because I think they deserve better.  But thank God there are places like the Boys and Girls Club to let kids be kids and not deal with some of the crazy stuff at home. To be honest, I was also blown away how joyful most of them were. You probably wouldn’t have been able to guess that they’re dealing with stuff.  And, I’m glad my first Camp Fort Worth started off with the Boys and Girls Club.  We brought a little bit of heaven on earth for these kids just by getting to know them and hanging out with them.

So, funny story! The high point of my day was talking to this 6-year-old girl who was very chatty and outgoing.  Oh my gosh!–she could totally recite the alphabet backwards and dance while doing so as well! Really fast too!

Amazing! Haha, and when I was talking and joking with her, she screamed at me, “WHY DO YOU SMILE SO MUCH?!” Great, she figured me out…

And one of the campers can do this really rapid eye wiggle thing (really creepy), and he showed her and she screamed at him, “ARE YOU A CHIHUAHUA?!” Lulz. I laughed so hard.

And so 2PM fastly approached, and it came time to leave.  It was hard leaving the Boys and Girls Club because a good handful of the kids got attached.  But my hope is that the arrival of the Tooth Fairy (to talk about the importance of good oral hygiene) distracted them from being too sad at us leaving.

So we left the Club, then showered at a local Y(MCA).  Did I mention we’ll be showering in different places each day? Lol.  Offering it up.

When we got back to SVDP and had some free time to do whatever, I played a few turns of Loaded Questions, a game I used to play with my high school friends throughout our college years.  Essentially, if it’s your turn, you roll to move spaces, then draw a card.  On the card are color-coded questions where you’ll ask the question that corresponds to the color on the space you landed.  Everyone else will write down their answer to the question, and then it becomes your goal to guess whose answer belongs to what person.  For every correct guess, you move that many more spaces.  Fun game!  You can quickly learn about people by playing it.

After some free time, I gathered my SEAS youth so we could talk about how each of our days went since not all of us went to same work sites.  Not only that, by meeting up like this, we can spend some time getting to know each other so whenever we leave Camp Fort Worth, we’ll still have that sense of community.  I asked each and every single one of them what their high point of the day was, their low point, and a God moment, which is a moment in the day where they really felt God present.  I was pretty impressed at how open and how much each of them had to share.  It was cool to share  this time together and see how we each of us brought a little bit of heaven on earth at our various work sites.

Also, I thought it was pretty cool to see one of the guys in my small group (let’s call him Arturo)  join our group for #SEAStalk, even though he’s from another parish.  I let Arturo join in–I couldn’t like…tell him to go away.  That would be such a jerk move.


Dinner time was a riot today!  I was sitting at a table with some of my youth and their new friends.  After everyone was done eating, someone had the bright idea of playing Pterodactyl.  After somewhat going around the circle, a large crowd gathered at my table, and now a bunch of people were playing.  I was laughing pretty hard, so, again, I didn’t last very long in the game.  And again! One of my youth gets super-hardcore-way into the game.  Like, theater skills come in handy–it was that intense.  I laughed. So. Hard.  Hahahahaha…oh my gosh….

Anyway, it’s only Monday but I’m starting to see everyone starting to get comfortable with each other.  People are opening up and coming out of their shells…and suddenly hardcore games of Pterodactyl break out.  Awesome.

After dinner, we had some praise and worship time, some small group time…and then we were introduced to the Share Chair.  Just, a chance for people to share their high point of the day with everyone else.  I think one or two girls from SEAS shared their high points, and Arturo did as well.

After Share Chair time, we got back into our small groups to work on skits based on the Ten Commandments as if the setting was here on earth, and on heaven.  My small group got Thou Shall Not Steal.  So, we went with an Olympic type of setting.  Basically, as one of the girls in my small group was being awarded a gold medal, Arturo would use a cheesy pick-up line to make her swoon and drop the gold medal.  Then my guy A-Teamer would steal the fallen gold medal.  That’s on earth.  In heaven, same thing…different pick-up line from Arturo, but my guy A-Teamer returned the gold medal.  Then Arturo concluded with another pick-up line.  And I didn’t mention that my small group spent about 10 minutes on listening to Arturo’s repertoire of cheesy pick-up lines while preparing for our skits.  Anyway, the other skits by the other small groups were fantastic!  Haha, it’s amazing how much creativity you can have when given a short amount of time to prepare for two skits…

So, cool thing happened at Night Prayer tonight.  Apparently there was a directive from Hedg that we won’t be reciting the Hail, Holy Queen at the end of Night Prayer anymore.  Instead, we’ll just sing the Salve Regina.  I mean, last night was redundant in that we did the Salve Regina after everything…so…this just makes sense.   Remember how I said yesterday that they did the Salve Regina after the July camp?  And that, prior to leaving for CFW, SEAS had a powwow with the youth minister?  Well, part of that powwow was so that I could be assigned the mission of passing out copies of the Salve Regina in Latin for everyone.  So, for this Monday night’s Night Prayer, I helped the seminarian (he would)  stuff those copies into our Night Prayer booklets.  And then, me and my SEAS A-Teamer led it when it came time to sing it.  I was pretty blown away at how awesomely beautiful it sounded having everyone on the same page (pun intended) with the words in front of them.  Awesome.

Pretty excellent first day of Camp Fort Worth.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for us!

And tomorrow I have no idea where we’re going because I forgot to check…

Check the worksite board.  Chihuahuas.  Pterodactyls.  Cheesy pick-up lines.
– JD