I saw you eyeing my wood cookie. This wood cookie was made by a guy named Matt G. His Outdoor School name is Moose. He made a bunch [of them for] Standing River staff. He’s a high school student and he made all these great wood cookies. So great that I had everybody sign the back because I didn’t want to taint the front. You take a lot of pride in your wood cookie.
I actually ran into somebody earlier that was lacking all of her beads. She was in a house fire. Her house caught fire and she lost all of her stuff so I gave her a bunch of the beads off of mine. Because, you know, that’s the way it should be. And, I think it might be one of those things that you just have to be a part of to understand just how important those beads can be.
My Outdoor School story starts back in 1992 at Camp Howard—back in the Digger days—when I was a Junior Counselor. This woman, Meriwether, made me promise to come back and be a staff member. So I finished college and I did exactly that—because I promised. And then I had six sessions at Sandy River. Six sessions—it does sound funny to say—six sessions at Sandy River. But you think of it like a semester, so like: fall/spring, fall/spring, fall/spring.
Honestly, it was the greatest job in the whole world. There’s no job better than this.
When I think about Outdoor School now, the first thought that comes to me is that it prepares you for everything, in a way. I mean, I’m a teacher now. I’ve been a teacher for ten years. And there’s nothing like the experience of working at Outdoor School to prepare you for the world. You can do anything. You can do anything once you’ve had a job at Outdoor School because you’ve got to be brave. You’re on stage all the time.
You pretty much never stop working while you’re here because you go to sleep for maybe four hours but then you’re right back at it again and then you’re on stage and it just goes on and on and on. It’s fine, though. I mean I think it’s good.
And look at these kids that are coming out here. They’re just so eloquent. They have the ability to get up in front of a crowd and just go. It is priceless.
Photo Credit: Gavin Mahaley