That Time I Worked At A Tech Camp In The Desert

Life moves pretty fast. I mean, seriously, Ferris Bueller got that one right.

I’m back in Houston. Back temporarily, back soaking up all this time with my family and friends, and back scrambling to adjust to Houston since flying in from Arizona, where I was bouncing around for close to the last two months working as an Instructor at a summer camp where kids come to bask in…technology. That’s right, you heard me, a camp where video games are encouraged, where all the tech-y goodness and computer madness is embraced and I wound up teaching a new group of 8 kids each week how to program their own iPhone and iPad games and apps.

And yes, it was excellent.

And yes, it was challenging.

But mainly, it was an experience that I feel like I’ll still be soaking up for sometime. It feels so strange to see my wardrobe expand to more than camp shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes. My schedule is more flexible now, my days aren’t dictated by teaching and break times and my mattress is a heckuva lot more comfy than a dorm one, but even so, I still have moments where I swear I’m in Arizona about to expand a lesson on accelerometer rules.

After 7 weeks of being known as Yolko (my camp nickname…which is quite a long, adorable story that I’ll tell you over coffee sometime and that will be chapter 11 in my memoir) I am back to simply being a Lion-Haired Girl with a plan. This little plan of what exactly I’m doing next with my little life and career and change-of-address forms. It’s a small plan, it’s a little bit of a crazy plan, but before I get into it, there’s a few things I have to share from this summer.

Things I learned from working at a summer camp for technology:

Kids are terrifiying…and at the same time awesome (esp this generation)
The little ones growing up in these technology-fueled years have a million questions and understand way more than they should at this age, so that potential can be super-intimidating, but in the vein of all things nerdy, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and they learn and adapt super fast. They can pick up software in a week, are fueled with all sorts of creative ideas, and craft amazing projects in a short amount of time. Also, they all love Nyan Cat way more than necessary.

The PC v. Mac debate can get really heated and emotional, especially to gamers

Iced coffee tastes even better: 1.) in the desert and 2.) when your regional manager delivers it as a surprise

Sometimes there are baby birds hatching outside your classroom and you simply cannot contain your excitement
The Messy Bun – hairdo of champions (and tired instructors). Once you master it, life gets easier.

Handwritten mail is still one of the sweetest things.

Introducing kids to using GarageBand means that they will all consider and call themselves the next Skrillex…

Sometimes your $10 watch doesn’t survive Water Day…and that’s okay

Programming apps and games for iphones and ipads takes a lot of work…and a lot of dance breaks.

Skype is a gift from God. So are the extra chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria

There’s a lot of stories you just can’t explain to most who weren’t there
I’m pretty sure the entire world knows the lyrics to most every Maroon 5 song

Few things are better purchases for the summer than an $8 coffeemaker positioned right next to your bed for fuel every morning

Seeing parents who are so proud and in shock and awe of what their child accomplished in a week at camp never ever ever gets old.

You will get tired. You will get sick. You will get burnt out from time to time. You will miss your real family. The staff you work with will slowly become family. You will get delirious most nights and laugh for a long time. You will get pied in the face, buckets of water dumped on you, and locked out of your room at least once.

You will get amazingly quotable campers. You will get campers who are geniuses and blow your mind. You will get attached to them, you will miss them, you will be proud of them at the end of the week. You will brag about them and give them candy for being awesome.

You will love it.

And you will be so exhausted and busy that you might fall asleep mid blog-post when writing all about your experiences.

photo via Beyond Sky Photography
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