Thursday, March 26, 2015


The seventh installment of our 17ish part series:

Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!


(* editors note. I couldn't choose. I had to include both these pictures.)




*At this point in the interview, Jasper messes up a bunch of stuff, and misses several of the first questions. What a dope. He should be fired immediately.*
[Jasper’s Note: Just to be clear, that was joke. Please don’t fire me. Also, I may have edited a few things to make everyone sound like somewhat eloquent English speakers. Trust me, it’s better this way.]

Jasper: Let’s see… Ahem… Okay, so, tell the story again. Alissa (CUTTER) was talking to the cabin, and she fell off the chair…?

Mechu: Yeah, she fell off the chair, and then everybody started laughing. Somebody else fell to the ground, somebody dropped their flashlight, and then the supervisors came and kinda told us to quiet down.

J: Awesome. Yeah, Alissa’s fun. Okay… Hmm… Ben said we could ask anything, so…

M: Oh, no… *Nervous laughter* Alright…

J: Okay. If you could give a dinosaur juice, what kind of juice would you give it?

M: Juice?

J: Juice. Any flavor of juice.

M: Hmm… I’m really into Peach Mango Orange juice right now, which I’d be fine with sharing. And I think it would be healthy, you know, give ‘em a little fruit ‘n’ veggie.

J: Cool. Peach Mango Orange. Nice.

M: Yeah. It’s good.

J: How long have you been doing camp stuff?

M: Uhh… It started probably when I was around eight or nine. I didn’t really go to this camp ‘til about 2007, so I was… that would be… eight years ago… eleven!

J: Alright, that’s a long time. Have you been planning to become a camp counselor for a while?

M: Ever since the second week that I went to camp. So yeah, a bit.

J: So, since you were eight years old?

M: Yeah, all of my aunts and uncles have been counselors since they were younger, so it’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do, too.

J: Great, cool! And the Frog Song is your favorite song?

M: Definitely.

J: Let’s see… Do you have a favorite course area that you are looking forward to teaching, or that you enjoy participating in?

M: I think I’ve actually always done a lot of EE stuff, but now that I’m in Arts and Crafts I think that’s going to be super fun, cause I’m always, like, making things, and you know, teaching how to do stuff.

J: Great! I’ll be there, too.

M: Woohoo… [Jasper’s Note: This was the most unenthusiastic exclamation I’ve ever encountered. It’s almost as if she was not completely ecstatic to be working alongside me. Inconceivable!]

J: What’s your favorite animal?

M: *With no pause at all* Manatee.

J: Manatee…

M: I love manatees so much. When I was little I adopted one, and I named it Suzy. Suzy the manatee.

J: Okay, awesome. I’d say that’s a pretty original answer, as far as animals go.

M: It’s the best animal! All they do is float around and eat grass. They don’t do anything. I love it!

J: Aren’t they weird-looking?

M: No. They are mermaids, and they’re beautiful.

J: Would you be excited if there was a manatee in Lake Shawanni?

M: Oh, I would die. I went to Florida a couple weeks ago, and they had a manatee tank, and I stood in front of the tank for about two hours, just looking at the manatees. I love manatees. I really do. I dreamed when I was little that I would buy one and put it in my pool so I could ride it around. I really like manatees.

J: I think I saw some manatees at the Atlanta Aquarium. It was weird, they would swim up to the glass, and, like, rub their stomachs on the glass, and it was all squishy. It was… interesting.

M: Yeah! I love ‘em!

J: Alrighty… Have you ever had an encounter with Velcro the Turtle?

M: Not yet, no. I almost did, but it turned out to be a really big fish that scared me. But, I mean, someday. It’s destined to be.

J: Yeah, I haven’t either. Which of the camp animals is your favorite?

M: I have been a beaver like ninety percent of the time, so I think I’m a bit biased cause I’m attached to it now. I was a hawk once, and it just felt wrong. So wrong.

J: What was your favorite EE class?

M: Outdoor cooking. Without a doubt.

J: That’s a popular one, for sure.

M: Oh, yeah. I got to do it twice as a volunteer last time, and it was great. Double the food.

J: What is your favorite thing to cook in outdoor cooking, or otherwise?

M: I cannot cook. Oh, no… What’s my favorite thing to cook, though? I don’t know… I can’t cook it, but my mom makes the best crepes ever, with Nutella inside.

J: Crepes are awesome.

M: They’re the best thing to ever exist.

J: We’ve had French exchange students come over for summers at our house in California, and once they made crepes for us. So, that was pretty cool. They put sugar in them. Just straight sugar. It’s weird, but it was good, so yeah.

M: I went to France last summer, and that’s literally all I ate. I didn’t tell my mom, but it was straight Nutella crepes every day. Fantastic.

J: What’s your favorite camp meal?

M: Hmm… I think one of my favorites, even though I have this hatred towards cheese, is the grilled cheese sandwiches, cause I love the soup. I chug that soup down.

J: The tomato soup?

M: Yeah! I don’t know why, but that soup, it’s just… I get so excited!

J: Huh. I’m pretty much the opposite of that. I don’t like the soup, but I’m a fan of cheese.

M: You can take the cheese, and I’ll take the soup.

J: Alright, it’s agreed. So you’re doing Arts and Crafts, right? What craft are you looking forward to teaching?

M: I’m really looking forward to the Junkyard Band.

J: That’s going to be cool.

M: Yeah, cause I’m a music major, so I’m really excited, because it’s what I love plus camp, which is just the epitome of everything good.

J: Do you play an instrument?

M: I play cello.

J: Cello, nice! Cool instrument. Pretty big.

M: Yeah, it’s my size.

J: When you were at camp, did you have a favorite cabin?

M: Uh, I was only put in 9, 10, and 11, but I really liked 9. It was in the perfect place, and it had a nice place to put your towels. I always liked that, cause they didn’t get wet when it rained, since there were enough trees there. And I always picked the same bed, the right corner bunk. Yeah, I miss it.

J: Do you think you’d like to be the counselor for Cabin 9?

M: Uh, yeah. That would be pretty cool.

J: Alright, last one. What’s your favorite joke?

M: What’s my favorite joke…

J: Gotta entertain the kids, so…

M: Ahem-hem… Why did the motorcycle pull to the side of the road?

J: …

M: He was two-tired!

J: …Oh no… The poor children…

M: I got so many more of those!

*To better preserve the readers’ brain cells, the transcriber has elected to terminate the transcription of this interview here. We hope you have enjoyed, and please remember: Never trust stairs. They’re always up to something.*

Monday, March 23, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Peter Interviews Amber!

The sixth installment of our 17ish part series:

Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!






PETER: Good morning/afternoon/evening (insert time of day here, because I'm not sure what time of day you will be reading this so I have left a generic option)

I had the opportunity to ask Amber Lombardi a few questions regarding her past, present and future endeavors regarding the wonderful world of summer camp. Now, before we begin a quick logistical point! My initial questions to Amber are thise in black font. Her responses are in green and my response to her response in the ever exuberant blue!

Okay here we go.

Now my first question is a burning question, and don't worry everyone will be subjected to this when I first meet them! What is your favorite baseball team?

AMBER: Boston.

PETER: I swear that she said Boston! Why would I lie? And I definitely swear that she didn't say a team that is located in Pennsylvania, just south of New Jersey. Amber clearly has a good grip on the correct team to support.

PETER: Good, now that you have answered that question correctly we shall play a little game. Basically I say (I know that I'm really writing and that is the correct verb to use, but for the purpose of this blog post lets stick with say) a word and then you respond with the first word that comes to mind.


AMBER: Disney (Who ever said Disney is the happiest place on earth has clearly never been to camp!)

PETER: Lake -

AMBER: Leadership Weekend

PETER: Battle

AMBER:...for the Island

PETER: Salad 

AMBER: Wasabi Ranch located in my nose. 

PETER:I'm not a huge Wasabi fan but when I do eat it, it is usually in small amounts. But, Wasabi and the inside of your nose just doesn't sound right. It's like referring to rubbish as garbage or trash as bins!! Quite unsettling!


AMBER: Rest hour

PETER: So this is the first REAL question! Why did you voluntarily decide to apply for a position that will see you spend 8 weeks of your life living in a wooden cabin with hundreds of different people, surrounded by numerous wild animals, constant humming of odd sounding songs that have a peculiar rhythm and lyric to them and you're awoken in the morning by 10 chimes of a bell?

AMBER: I just so happened to apply due to the fact I LOVE CAMP AND I CAN'T GET AWAY, that sounds crazy right?! but seriously, my first year as a camper it was always a goal of mine to become one of those crazy and enthusiastic people that made my first week away from my parents a perfect one.

PETER: What is your very first memory of summer camp? Like if you close your eyes and think of Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp (see how the word association has become useful again) what springs to mind?

AMBER: My first camp memory is from outdoor cooking. In outdoor cooking Jesse and Ben were our counselors, and we had a CIT in our class named Kara. Kara was as sweet as could be to a brand new camper. While as to entertain the class Jesse would some times threaten to burn Kara's "campers"...but don't worry back then the practice campers were just crayons in a crayon box. 

PETER: I can't tell you how relieved I am that you added that final sentence.

PETER: Imagine that a friend of yours decides that they want to go to summer camp and they have to choose between 3. One is L G. Cook and the other 2 are hypothetical (mainly because I don't know any other camps) what you say, using only 5 words, to entice them to join us for a week at camp?


PETER: I must admit that I was going for 5 words that made up a coherent sentence but the choices you have made seem appropriate.

PETER: This is not your first time at the rodeo! (the noun rodeo is being used as a substitute for camp because it's a play on the famous phrase regarding a visit to the rodeo which interestingly enough we in the UK don't use. I mean we use the phrase not your first time at the rodeo but I have never been to a rodeo and for that matter I don't even know what a rodeo is! Anyways that's beside the point...) What makes you keep coming back to summer camp?

AMBER: I keep returning to camp because I basically can never get enough of camp, there's always something crazy and unpredictable happening every second. As soon as I completed my volunteer week I was counting down the days until I could apply to become staff.

PETER: This will be your first summer as a counselor! What are you most excited about for this summer?

AMBER: HANDS DOWN CHAOS WEEK! No doubt about it. Volunteering last year was the first time I attended chaos week which meant I got to actually witness the chaos for myself instead of virtually.

PETER: I'll bet that once you have been through things such as egg roulette, human mural, the gunk hat, shake and bake, pour lake water over an innocent person, that you will wish you could still witness it virtually! To this day I still wake up in cold sweats because I can hear the squelch of Lake Sahwanni water in my shoes, which interestingly enough I still have!! FUN FACT!!

PETER: What are you most nervous about this summer?

AMBER: One night I actually had a dream about this summer, well looking back on it it was pretty funny and entertaining. My dream was that all of my campers ran away from me, the funny part was how I chased them all around camp. Just imagine a whole bunch of little children running in all directions and me chasing after them saying "where's your buddy?" that was pretty much continuous the whole dream.

PETER: Not a lot of people know this about me because I tend to keep my fears very well hidden, but I am afraid of bears. (No need to insert a gasped emoji or expression, its a given!) Have you ever seen a bear? Do they frighten you?

AMBER: I have never actually seen a bear but I have seen some pictures if that counts! (No it really doesn't!) While attending camp one of the many weeks, a bear walked past our cabin, so the bear sighting could have been a possibility if I were awake. I don't think a bear would frighten me, although running into one in real life is a completely different story. (I have made a mental note of this sentence Amber!!) I'll let you in on a fun fact about me since you told me about your bear (Amber, it isn't MY BEAR!! If I had a choice of pets, a bear is at the bottom of the list. Actually that's a lie, a rhino would be at the bottom but the bear isn't too far behind!!) , I am actually frightened of spiders. It's just something about them give me the heeby jeebies.

PETER: Final question Amber, if everything was to be removed from camp, barring one thing, what would that thing be?

AMBER: If only one thing could stay at camp I would choose to keep the people, camp isn't camp due to the location or the food. location and food does play a role but people play a much larger role. We could take the people from camp and transport everyone to a nice sunny beach in Florida and it would still be the same (apart from the mass snowfall in the winter). We are all brought together for our love of camp and what I've learned over the years is that you don't need to be at camp to make camp part of your daily life.

What an excellent note to finish on!!

PETER: Thank you for your answers Amber!
(Amber then thanked me unreservedly for the interview, using words such as "professional" and "interesting.")

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Sam Ryder Interviews Julia Senkowsky!

The fifth installment of our 17ish part series:

Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!






SAM: How many summers have you been coming to Lindley G. Cook for?

JULIA: This year marks one decade of coming to 4H camp! Wow, I feel old!

SAM: As a camper what was your favorite course area?

JULIA: I loved everything, but most of all I loved shooting sports!

SAM: What is your favorite camp song?

JULIA: The donut song! (Even though I don’t like eating donuts…only singing about them!)

SAM: What are you most looking forward to this summer?

JULIA: This summer I’m looking forward to having Viking Dinner as part of my weekly meal plan! “HOO HA HA!”

SAM: In which course area are you going to be teaching this summer?


SAM: What is your favorite water front activity?

JULIA: Diving into Lake Shawanni when it’s really hot! I mean, jumping into Lake Shawnni. Sorry… not diving, no diving allowed!

SAM:  What is your favorite camp game?

JULIA: Battle for the Island…I like sneaking around trying to capture the other team’s flags because I feel like agent 007. (If only there were theme music playing…hmmm…)

SAM:  Which one of the themed weeks is your favorite?

JULIA: C-h-A-o-S!-!-!-!-!

SAM:  I have heard that you want to go through the chaos machine, is this True? If so why on earth world you ever want to do this?

JULIA: Just stay away from the hair…and we won’t have any issues!

SAM:  What is your fondest camp memory from your camper years?

JULIA: This is like someone asking what your favorite food or movie is!!!!! There are way too many, I can never answer these questions under this kind of pressure!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: Cassandra interviews Logan

The fourth installment of our 17ish part series:

Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!

"CASEY!!!!!!!!, CASSANDRA. CAY-SEE!!!!!!!!!!"




CASEY: What was your first experience at camp that made you say “Hey, I wanna be one of those crazy counselors?” 

LOGAN: Of all of the wacky and crazy things that counselors have done to inspire me, I think the first one to flip that switch was Ryan Elliot telling the most outrageous stories around the camp fire for our cabins cabin choice night. He had such genuine enthusiasm about everything he said that I just couldn't wait for the opportunity.

CASEY: What was your favorite theme ever at camp?

LOGAN: My tippy tippy top favorite theme in the history of all the ever's was definitely pirate week because who doesn't love battle for the island on land and the seven seas?

CASEY: What are you looking forward to most about being a counselor this summer?

LOGAN: What am I looking forward to most? One hundred percent has to be that instead of getting to play new games once in the summer, I get to play them alllllllllll summer. Who doesn't want to play octopus tag 6 weeks in a row?

CASEY: Would you ever completely cover yourself in glitter and roll down the hill into the bowl?

LOGAN: I believe that i have had that thought at least 7 times a day since the first time I ever laid eyes on the bowl.

CASEY: If you could talk to Velcro…what do you think he would say?

LOGAN: I honestly think that if Velcro could talk he would be dying the know what freak out is. I imagine his first words to be, "What in the lake Shawanni is this 'Freakout' that you and your people have been describing for years?"

CASEY: But honestly, Logan, why can’t I ride in your little red wagon? I really need to know.

LOGAN: Now Casey, as much as you want to, my front seats broken, it's a real hassle, but even worse than that my axle's dragging so I gotta just do me and keep chug-chug-chugging along solo. I hope you understand it's nothing personal.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Meet the Staff of '15: T-NIVI interviews Carli

The third installment of our 17ish part series:

Meet the Summer Staff of 2015!







(*Editors Note: You'll see Tyler, of course, gave Carli a quiz instead of an interview. She answers in red, but then naturally Tyler can't help himself but respond and critique her answers in green.)

1. What course area will you be working in?
     a. Shooting Sports
     b. Waterfront
     c. Environmental Education
     d. Creative Arts

EE, only the best!

Debatable, but I'll let it go for the sake of the interview.

2. Who will your coordinator be?
     a. Sarah Morris
     b. Peter McBride
     c. Julie Clawson
     d. Molly Palmer

(Forgive me oh summer camp God in the sky, but I don't actually know this one!)

It is Molly Palmer, as a matter of fact, and she is looking very much forward to working with you!

3. Who do you wish your coordinator was?
     a. Tyler Nivison
     b. Tyler Nivison
     c. Tyler Nivison
     d. Tyler Nivison

All of the above.

I've never seen a more correct answer in my life.

4. What are you most excited about working at camp this year?
     a. The staff
     b. The campers
     c. Being in the woods for 2 months
     d. Hanging out with Tyler Nivison for 2 months

D. I am so thrilled to finally be a part of such a lovely staff, with the always amazing campers, and getting to be in Stokes State Forest for a whole two months! Ohh, and I guess Tyler too.

While you did choose the correct answer, your added comments have me thinking that you are being less than sincere about it.

5. Why did you decide to work at camp this summer?
     a. You loved camp as a camper, so you wanted to be a part of the magic that makes camp so great!
     b. It's the best place in the world! Why wouldn't you want to work there??
     c. Working outdoors and with kids is a passion of yours.
     d. Tyler Nivison will be there.

Not only was I a former camper myself but I love the outdoors. It being Lindley G. Cook camp only makes the experience oh-so-much more exciting. I suppose I can deal with Tyler being there. 

Again, I feel this interview is going in a downward direction.

6. What was your favorite class while you were a camper?
     a. Archery with Tyler
     b. Air Rifles with Tyler
     c. Shotgun with Tyler
     d. Classes don't matter, only Tyler matters!

My favorite class had to be anything that involved being outside and getting to explore camp. 

That was none of my answers. My confidence in this interview is decreasing with every question.

7. What advice would you give to a first year camper?
     a. Just be yourself.
     b. Don't be afraid to try new things, like kayaking!
     c. Have as much fun as you possibly can.
     d. See Tyler, he will lead you to glory!

I know that anyone can have a fun, worthwhile time at camp if they step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Make a friend, sing a silly song, eat an orange-muffin baked in the fire! You will surely be back next year.

That is some sound advice, but I need to hear my name a little more.

8. You were a CIT when I was the CIT coordinator. What was the best thing about that week of camp?
     a. The uncomfortable silences during our discussion classes.
     b. My utter stoicism, leaving doubt of whether you and your fellow CIT's were doing a good job or not.
     c. The awkwardness of having a robot teach you how to be a loving and nurturing counselor.
     d. Sitting at the flagpole at the beginning of classes waiting for me to stop pretending to read my clipboard.

B.Oh definitely B. But we all know that deep down lives a cuddly teddy bear inside the stern, hard outer shell of Tyler Nivison. 

Slander! You'll be hearing from my lawyers.

As to prove that the theory of free will is not lost on me, here are some open-ended questions.

9. How are you?

Swell, patiently awaiting camp. And you?

Can't complain, thanks for asking!

10. When you were a camper, what EE classes did you take? And what EE classes are you most looking forward to teaching?

All of them! I'm most excited to bust out my extreme Outdoor Cooking skills and make a killer meal with some awesome campers.

I like the sound of that, I fully expect lobster and filet mignon daily.

11. You have a single match and you are in the pitch black of night in the middle of the Stokes State Forest. You have an oil lantern, some newspaper and a candle. Which do you light first?

Definitely the oil lantern to protect the flame from any wind. And then work from there. Next I'd pull out my cell phone and call Tyler Nivison to come rescue me.

A classic trick question, you would light the match first! Due to extreme cowardice, however, I would not come rescue you. Dark forests are scary.

(*Also, Editor's Note. As Camp is a Tech Free Environment by "pull out her cell phone and call Tyler" Carli means "yell quite loudly with voice projection only a Camp Counselor can truly master." Is I'm pretty sure what she meant. And for Tyler, no forests at Camp are scary.)

12. What kind of things are you looking forward to as a staff counselor that you couldn't do as a volunteer counselor?

Excited to have a cabin full of campers to call my own!

Your excitement is definitely that of a first year counselor! I'm way, way too old to be in a cabin full of campers anymore.

(*Editors note: This is very true.)

13. Which theme week are you most excited for and why?

I couldn't get any more cliche, but Chaos week will always be a favorite of mine, even as a counselor!

Chaos Week hurts my brain. I am too ordered and meticulous to understand Chaos Week. 
Besides, there's something about Dr. Husqevarna that just gives me the creeps!

14. Lake Shawanni is the best. Agree or disagree citing excerpts from Arthur Miller's The Crucible to support your answer.

"Aye. But the Devil is a wily one, you cannot deny it." Hale
Lake Shawanni is a mystery, she is.You approach the edge of the dock. Test a toe--maybe two or three. Cold with a hint of warmth from the natural springs and hot summer sun. Once you take that leap it's a leap like you've never taken before. It's a wild ride that leaves you unsettled but somehow satisfied and eager for more.

Very good answer, but I was looking more for the personification of Lake Shawanni in the character of Thomas Putnam for obvious reasons of which I will not bore you with now. 

Thanks, Carli for a terrific interview, and I'm sure I speak for everyone at camp that we are extremely excited to have you working at camp all summer this year. See you then!