After driving 30 miles, we reached the ramp that led to the water, where I was picked up by a skiff to take me the remaining 2 miles to Auke Bay. It was pretty chilly by then, probably in the 40s. Once I got to the camp, I took all my bags (I narrowed it down to 2 suitcases--one of them was 62 pounds--a duffel bag, and a backpack) down to the dorm and met my fellow female counselors. They are all sweethearts, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know all of them better over the course of the summer. After dropping my bags and unpacking a little, I headed outside to "see Alaska" (as a couple of the girls put it), but it was already a little too dark by then (around 11pm), so I came back inside to chat and unpack some more.
The camp is literally situated in a forest. The beach is probably 150 yards or so from the dorm/dining hall, where we live when we aren't in the cabins with the campers. If you stand facing the bay, you can clearly see the mountains in front you, as if they just sprout out of the ocean. Behind you is the forest, which encompasses the dorm, cabins, bathhouses, barn, and various other buildings of the camp. The horses are herd horses, so they just wander around at night and are wrangled up again in the morning to be used for the horsemanship classes or riding. There's poop everywhere, so you have to make sure to avoid it when you're walking from place to place. I don't know my way around here at all since I missed the official camp tour yesterday, but I figure it shouldn't take too long.
Today was my first official day of counselor orientation. After getting a whopping 4 hours of sleep last night, I spent breakfast talking to several other counselors and trying to remember everyone's name. There are about 11 other girls and about 5 or 6 guys (I think). The rest of the day included chapel (Olivet wasn't enough - just kidding), counselor devotions, a talk on what being a counselor was all about, and puppet practice! I'm going to be part of the puppeteers, which is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Our puppets will be singing and dancing to a bunch of kid Christian-reworded songs like the Gilligan's Island theme song, "I Love Rock and Roll", "Sk8er Boi", and others. Then we came back and had calzones and crab for dinner. Tomorrow we're taking an all-day hike to Camper's Cove and sleeping in tents. Good times.
Again, there is zero cell phone service up here. The counselors are allowed to be on the Internet 6-9pm on weekdays and most of the day on the weekends, except from weeks that we are with the kids. (When we aren't assigned to be counselors for the campers, we will be on the work staff--cleaning and all the rest of the grunt work).
I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed by the newness of everything, but I'm hoping this will start to feel familiar pretty soon. It's amazing being in the middle of God's creation. I can see him both in nature and in the other counselors and staff workers who are here. Every person at this camp clearly loves Jesus, and it's so awesome hearing them express that love so candidly. God is definitely going to mold me through the examples of these people and through the campers themselves. I know I have a lot to learn, and I can't even imagine how much of a struggle it will inevitably be, but I eagerly anticipate the challenge.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. I will update as often as I can.