Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Speech Camp: A Triumphant Return!

You guys.

I have spent the last 2 weeks at my alma mater, Bradley University, as the director of Summer Forensics Institute, the speech camp I attended before my sophomore and senior years of high school and worked at before my freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of college, plus 2 years after I graduated, including one bonus year when Harry was little.  THIS WAS MY NINTH SUMMER AT CAMP, and it was magic.

For 2 weeks, I lived in my freshman dorm with a bunch of my college speech teammates whom I begged to come back and work camp with me.  I was kid-free, husband-free, and largely creature comfort-free.

Some of the kids at camp were children of people I knew from speech.  THAT'S HOW OLD I AM and how ill-suited to dorm life I am.

So why the heck did I do it?

Speech camp was where I met Ben.  And where I discovered my life's passion.  I feel like I owe it a lot, so when the comm department chair reached out and asked me to direct camp, I jumped at the chance.  And the whole time I was stressing about staff and salaries and schedules, I thought of 15-year-old me and how incredibly happy she'd be.

I even maned to haul my 41-year-old self into a lofted twin bed every night.

Ha!  My mom moved me into the dorm again!

Dorothy lent me a few room accessories.

Also I printed a ton of Insta-pics

Also, because I am huge loser, I selfied my outfit of the day every day.

My closest college speech friends came back to work camp, which was a total dream come true.  Here's a glamour shot of a dorm spa night:
 The kids came to visit over the weekend THANK GOD because I missed them so much.
 NON STOP GLAMOUR.  I had to get up super early to work on my online classes (3 adjunct sections and my for-real online class)
 I got to take a long walk with one of my favorite people in the world (who lives far away in real life but was just one floor down from me in camp life), and I would like to live in this perfect house:
 Harry and I love Lydia.  Side note: he got this Pride tank at Target and texted me a picture, saying it matches everything (LOLz).
 Kids, a still life.

A super cute dorm-bed accessory

My undergrad library!!!  My faaave!
 You guys know I love Lydia.  I think it's her simultaneous approachability (you can walk right up to her!) and standoffishness (look at that face!) that gets me.  Also, we are the same size and I am pretty sure she'd look great in my clothes.

 1980s Strawberry Shortcake sheets!
 My mom came to campus at lunch to walk with me.  One day, I asked her what was in the giant garbage bag in her trunk, and she said HUMAN HAIR.  (To solve a deer in the garden issue, but still super creepy).
 My view from the elliptical every morning, which does beat my at-home workout dungeon.
 My face like 5 days in when the group of kids I was supposed to take to the gym stopped showing up, and I was the only person in the whole camp working out on the daily.
 The best lecture slide ever.
 I truly adored the dorm food.  Especially the part when I would just walk into the room and all the food was ready for me.
 One of my friends celebrated a pretty big milestone bday at camp (turning 40 at camp!  how awesome is that!)
 The best breakfast: a turtle latte from One World.
 It was really like day 9:
 Happy birthday!  Cheesecake for the Golden Girls
 Saying farewell to dorm food
 The limited preppers had a double elimination thesis-creation tournament-- with cake and ice cream!
 Old camp pics.  I am in every one, and Ben is the guy on the hockey jersey in the front row of the first one.  Bonus appearances by my little brother in most:

 All packed up on the last day
Welcoming parents and staff to the end-of-camp banquet-- the end was in sight!
Golden Girls do speech camp!

I am not going to lie.  Camp hours were long (plus early morning adjuncting!), and it was hard to live in the dorms-- the ladder to my bed!  the skeezy shower!-- but camp was a total dream.  I got to go back in time and be with all of the people I used to live with in my 20s.  We ate meals together!  We walked around campus together!  We popped in and out of each other's rooms!  It was a gift.  Also, totally surreal.  Ah, to be young again (and for 2 weeks, I WAS).

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