Monday, July 25, 2011

Finally Finished

To whoever reads this:

Don't you just love it when you finish something? Like that 50 gallon tub of ice cream that you promised yourself that you wouldn't eat all at once? And then you finish it and you're like, "Well good, I don't have that temptation anymore." I just finished my summer job at Boy Scout Camp and have a massive feeling of relief but also a small amount of sadness. Even if the job was physically and mentally exhausting, it was also fun, and I almost (emphasis on almost) wish that it weren't over.

Okay, so here's a little background for those of you that don't know what I've been doing this summer. I realize that you probably don't care; let's face it, you have plenty of people that matter to you to keep up with; but this background is slightly necessary for parts of this post to make sense. For roughly the past six and a half weeks I have been working at Boy Scout Camp. My job in this camp was to work on the waterfront to teach the swimming merit badge and lifeguard for free swim sessions. It was hot and I stood out of the dock under the sun for eight hours a day. There, enough with the background and on to something more interesting.

Apparently I have been brought up to be a snob when it comes to swimming. I've known how to swim since I was 7, all my siblings learned how to swim early in life, and almost everyone that I know learned how to swim. Needless to say, I was shocked to discover how many kids there are who can't swim or swim very poorly. Actually, to be honest, the more disappointing revelation was finding out how many scout masters couldn't pass the swimmer's test. The funny part was that most of them had a gut the size of Nebraska. I mean, they had a built in flotation device, one that could probably hold up a small city, and they still couldn't swim for 100 yards without stopping. Disappointing.

One of the funniest things that I saw all summer also happened at the waterfront. The last week of camp, several troops from inner-city Birmingham came to camp. Whether due to the fact that they were from the inner-city or some other factor, the swimming rate among these troops was abysmally low. But I digress. There were several boys in particular who were somewhere around 6'2" to 6'5" who couldn't swim. Now there's nothing funny there until one of them was taking the beginner's test and absolutely refused to jump feet first into the water. The water was only 5'6" deep. When he waded in, it only came up to his chest but he absolutely refused to jump in.

But not all summer was full of humor and laughs. There were also a lot of boys that inspired me even as I taught them. Like the boy who did somewhere around 200 hundred belly flops learning how to dive. Or the boy who started out as a non-swimmer, spent all week learning to swim, passed his swim test, and then earned the entire swimming merit badge in one day. It's people like that that show me once again what true perseverance and grit is all about. It's not about what you can do, it's all about what you are willing to and can achieve when you push yourself to the limit.

That's all for today. I'll get back to you with another special Camp Edition post in the next few days.

Peter Last

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