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Friday, August 7, 2009

The Kiddos

I call them kiddos not to be demeaning, but because it's hard to come up with something to call them as a collective group. I've tried "students," "the youth group," "the high schoolers," etc. But to be honest, "kiddos" just rolls of the tongue so much easier! So guys, if you're reading this, know it's a gesture of love! And convenience. Sorry.

Scott -
I'll start out with this guy since he's somewhere in between the staff and the kids. For lack of a better term he was my "junior intern" and came along to help keep the peace and be an extra set of responsible eyes, ears and hands. Scott is very intelligent and very thoughtful, especially about faith. He always has a new perspective on the topic at hand that most of us had never even considered. Though not a full-blown leader, I was grateful to have that extra guy to do things like leading impromptu hikes in the rain.

Zach -
Zach and I see eye to eye on a lot of things. If I needed a second opinion on something or even a deciding vote, Zach was often it (he even helped me decide which PJ pants to buy in Anchorage since I was stuck between the two moose patterns!). Zach is the one who seemed to get what I was thinking and would give me a knowing look or smile when I wasn't sure anyone was getting my point. Though not overly outgoing, once you get to know Zach you've found a fierce friend. Watching his friendships grow with the other kids on the trip and seeing those relationships create incredible results when it came to emotional support or getting work done on the house was wonderful.

Chris -
Chris is a quiet but strong kid. As with so many people with more sense than me to keep their mouths shut, when he decides to say something, it is always thought out and relevant. On this trip I came to love hearing him laugh. It was spontaneous and uplifting, I was never sure what would trigger it but it always made me smile. He's also a very hard worker and went about every job he was given with a determination to do it, and do it well.

Tony -
Tony is a friend of Chris' that has come along on two summer trips with TCC. Like Chris, Tony is a bit more reserved but an extremely hard worker and always thoughtful in what he contributes to a conversation. I admired him for being able to travel all the way to Alaska with a group he barely knew and then seamlessly becoming one of the gang.
Issie -
As one of only two female students on this trip Issie did extremely well at jumping in and putting her whole heart into it. I know it had to have been hard for her at first as she hadn't spent a lot of time with most of these guys but I was so impressed with how she found ways to connect and include everyone in whatever was going on. She was my little encouragement team and constantly asked how I was doing and if there was anything I needed. I don't know what I would have done without her!

Mike -
Just thinking about Mike makes me smile. I would be hard-pressed to find a more mature 19 year old. There were times on the trip I thought he might be better suited to lead than me as he's infinitely more patient and often more level-headed than I could ever hope to be. One of the great things about Mike is his dry humor, which is only accentuated by his monotone voice. He mentioned once that the lack of inflection in his tone has been a struggle for him, but everyone in our group agreed: its part of what makes him Mike! And only makes us love him more.

Trevor -
Trevor is one of the most confident kids I know. He'll try anything and give it his all. He always has something to add to the conversation and usually has an interesting tidbit of information to share. I love that he's positive and up-beat; whether it's raining, we're all tired, or we hit a road block in our work, Trevor looks at most things as challenges to overcome. He's also extremely helpful and respectful when it comes to sticky situations which I totally appreciated on the trip.
Kaleigh -
There is no truer thing to say about Kaleigh than that she loves people. This love poured from her throughout the whole trip- on our team members, on the Camp Eaglecrest Staff, and on the people we met on the work site. I loved listening to her shyly tell about her "God Sightings" each evening as they usually revolved around, not a beautiful scene in nature, but a person who made her smile. Kaleigh, in turn, has the same effect on others- she makes all of us smile, all the time.
John -
Poor John takes a lot of crap. As the youngest in the group the older guys made it their job to toughen him up for high school. Eternally enthusiastic, full of energy, and with a permanent kool-aid mustache, John brought laughter wherever he went. He could have gotten the award for "dirtiest kid" on the trip as I had to force him to shower and he seems to have an obsession with burying his feet in the dirt around the campfire. Nevertheless, you can't help loving to spend time with John, who, when asked what he was most looking forward to in high school answered truthfully: "Geometry."