This week has been really busy and more program orientated. The week began with meeting the CIT’s (Counselors in Training) and getting to know some of them that we will be working with. They were also used to test some of the evening programs that we had designed earlier in the day before we use them with them the kids that will be arriving on Sunday.

On Monday we were divided up into 3 teams, given a quick map reading lesson and then dropped off on the Connecticut border, having to hike back to camp along the same 8 mile route that we will be taking the outdoor skills groups over 3 days. The aim was to familiarise us with the route, know where the campsites were and not to get lost and of course beat the other teams, however we did lose our way once or twice but we were quickly back on trail knowing where we went wrong. Towards the end of the race, pretty much as soon as we got back on campus and met with one of the other teams the heavens opened which did not dent our spirits and made the sprint for the finish much more fun and the ice cream from Marelby seem so much nicer.

The teams before the outdoor skills hike

Without much of a rest, myself and the 3 other counselors teaching Bay Mania left for Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay at 5.30am on Tuesday morning. We arrived in Bristol early for the 8am ferry, which gave me time to explore a town which is very geared up for the 4th of July celebrations and to find the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, because of course ‘America runs on Dunkin’. On the ferry over we met the staff from the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve who we will be working with. Once on the island we quickly got changed and headed to the beach on the West of the island to run through the activities that we would be doing with the kids. This involved, collecting crabs, analysing things caught from traps set out in different habitats and going snorkelling into the suprising warm Atlantic. We then went to the T dock on the south of the island (the research reserve is a former Navy base) to snorkel again but it began to thunder so we quickly pulled in the nets and got dry. After lunch we stayed inside during an intense thunderstorm doing fish printing onto t-shirts and getting a tour of the lab. During a final drive around the island before the ferry home the lightning picked up and we saw a few forks touch down not to far from our van, but luckily the storm passed before the ferry set sail back to Bristol.

One of the hundreds of flags in Bristol

Once back at camp we realised that we weren’t the only only affected by the storm, our house was actually struck with lightning and the basement of the EEC flooded but everybody is ok and no serious damage was done. Throughout the night the weather improved and by the morning it was a lovely day, perfect for our staff trip to the beach for which we had one of the sterotypical American yellow school buses take us over to East beach. Once there we used the nets to catch fish and look at them and then in the afternoon we got to sunbathe and play in the sea which led to lots of sunburn! In the evening we ran through a few more lessons and had a talk about astronomy and the stars from the boss’ boss which was interesting to see.

Me running Baywatch style into the sea, Photo – Sam Whitehead

On Thursday we began by making decorations for the different themes we would have each week, I was making pirate flags and banners. We then got taught how to do all the outdoor skills we would need by the Teen X staff. In the afternoon Amy and I taught our Bay Mania lesson on the food web before concluding our training with a little ceremony. Friday was the last official day and consisted mainly of a review  of the things we had covered and a little test before we finished around 1pm. Once free a few of us took kayaks out around lake Eisenhower for a little explore before we went out for a meal and drinks at JC’s. Today we went to the beach again, but this time to Narragansett where we sunbathed and surfed on a busy Saturday. We saw a rescue by the lifeguards of two girls who had refused our help earlier who couldn’t swim back to the shore. It was a nice day and a welcome rest before the first kids arrive tomorrow…

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After lifeguarding finished we had the weekend to ourselves, those of us who were left in the car went on a trip to find the nearest supermarket even if we did get lost a few times. On the way back we stopped at an amazing ice-cream parlour called Jilani’s i think where there were hundreds of different flavours and types.


Deciding at Jilani’s ice cream parlour

On Saturday night we went for a BBQ at Jess’ house where we relaxed in the pool and hot tub, warming up around a fire before returning back to camp, which was a really nice time to get off camp and relax.

So far in staff training we have played games and watched a few movies. Tuesday saw a visit to the Social Security office and Wednesday we learned how to teach a canoe lesson, and I subsequently got a bit sunburnt paddling around the lake. On thursday we completed our non-surf lifeguarding test in the shallow water of Burling game state park near Charlestown towards the Connecticut border, which was really beautiful.


Me after the nonsurf test Photo – Clare Powers

The test itself involved rescuing from the lake using the rescue tube, the torpedo and finally the surfboard. On Friday we learned where and who we’d be living with and the programs we’d be teaching. For the first few weeks at least I’ll be doing bay mania over on Prudence Island and outdoor skills, for which I’m doing a 16 hour ‘Wilderness First Aid (WFA)’ course this weekend. Last night all of the staff camped out which was a good opportunity to meet some of the staff I’d yet to have met.


Me, Karena and AJ at the camp out, photo – Clare Powers

Next week the training becomes more program specific and there’s even a staff trip to the beach, I bet you don’t get that with most jobs!

 

Week 1: Lifeguarding

June 13, 2008

After getting adjusted to the time difference over here, the first week was lifeguard training at North Providence Pool. All the people doing the lifeguarding course have come from such a variety of places (Florida, Wyoming and Michigan to name a few) but are all great and I look forward to meeting everybody else soon.

The course has been really interesting and has involved shallow and deep water rescues, escapes and first aid. In our final exam we each had different scenarios to cope with, I had to rescue an unconscious victim in deep water with no pulse or injuries, from the bottom of the pool and then remove from the water and then perform CPR.


The lifeguards – Photo Credit: Megan Giammarco

On Monday evening Alex took us over to Newport, where we went to the beach with our friend ‘Samuel Adams’. It was a really nice evening and nice to be on a warm, sandy beach. Wednesday night we went to the nearest bar which ‘carded’ (ID’d) all of us which meant that 3 of us had to sit of the kiddies table as state law says you can’t sit at the bar if you’re not 21, then at 10 we got kicked out as they stopped serving food. Oh well. Thursday night we all went out for Mexican food at Chipotle, which served really nice burritos and on the last day at the pool we took our lunches for a picnic in Governor Notte Park, Providence.

Newport Beach

After months of planning, my summer has finally arrived. Today I flew from London Heathrow out to Boston Logan on a seven hour Virgin Atlantic flight. The flight it self was fine and the people either side of me were also of to camps in New Hampshire, so it was nice to speak to them. Although the real surprise was the in flight entertainment, which made the time fly by and the food was surprisingly nice (inc Gü puddings!), along with the free wine.

Landing was a bit disconcerting with water all around the runway but was quite smooth, and as soon as you stepped of the plane, you knew that it was going to be hot and humid. Ben picked me up and we went for some food on the way home, this is when I remembered how nice ‘Mountain Dew’ is. Arriving at the camp, which is set in a massive forest I got a quick tour of the site and met all the animals on the farm. It is so hot out here and the humidity makes it 100 times worse, but at least I’ll get a killer tan.

That’s all for now but expect pictures to follow…

As my summer abroad gets within reaching distance, everything apart from a few essentials are in boxes and I’m staring at blank walls trying to revise for my final exam on wednesday before I go home on Thursday and nothing seems to be sinking in.

Looking at the weather forecast, I know where I’d rather be… Let’s just hope that there’s no more protests at Heathrow this weekend.