Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mayfield Lake Youth Camp

 You know you have a good job when you are almost sad when it comes to an end, and that is the case with my job at the Mayfield Lake Youth Camp. Today, Saturday, was my last day there. I can't believe the whole camp season is over! It flew by so fast!
My first day there was April 15. Looking back in my journal for that day, I wrote that I was pretty sore, but that "though my body doesn't feel it, I am excited to work there (at MLYC). It should be a pretty steady job."  It was. Though I took over three weeks off for our East Coast trip in May, for the most part I was able to get in at least 20 hours of work per week, along with a stretch in June/July (crunch time!) where I worked 40 hours a week. All in all, I worked a total of 335 hours there.

In that 335 hours there are plenty of memories. There was the time Davin (a coworker) and I got the MLYC work truck stuck between a rock and a hard place and had our first, but far from our last, experience with confessing our mistake to our boss. In his defense, Mr. Petersohn is an awesome boss and did not give us a hard time about it. In our defense, the work truck, an S10 pickup, we had the "privilege" of using was about five years removed from what should have been its last day of use. As I explained that truck to my family: "it is basically a hunk of metal that somehow finds a way to move." Over time, though, I grew a certain fondness for that beat-up S10, and when Mr. Petersohn laughingly said that it would probably end up in a scrap heap this winter, I couldn't help but come to its defense. "Oh, Old Faithful has another year left!" I am not sure if I believe myself or not about that.

One of the funniest memories I have of my work at the camp is when, at the start of the day, Mr. Petersohn asked seemingly out of the blue, "Are your hands at all sensitive, Kyle?" At this question I looked down at my rather large, rough, calloused hands and nearly laughed. Sensitive? They could be used as sandpaper if needed!" I hope my voice didn't have to much scorn in it when I answered, "No, not at all!" "Good," my boss replied, "I guess you won't need gloves then. You are cleaning a few toilets today in the staff bathrooms." He proceeded to hand me a sponge and a bit of bleach, only a sponge and a bit of bleach. As if washing toilet bowls with a sponge and bare hands wasn't unsettling enough, when I arrived at the staff bathrooms and lifted the lid of the first toilet, a repulsive pool of mold and slime greeted me. I vowed from that moment on that to Mr. Petersohn, my hands were very sensitive. Luckily, after cleaning two of the moldy toilets, Davin relieved me of my dread job, also with a stunned look on his face. Apparently he did not have sensitive hands either. However, he came up with the ingenious idea of zip-tying  the sponge to a stick and cleaning the toilets that way. You can imagine how long I washed my hands afterwards. In fact, I have the sudden urge to clean my hands again. I'll be right back . . .

Another funny thing about my job this summer was that campers were constantly telling me all kinds of funny "problems" that I needed to fix. I had to change several light bulbs that worked perfectly fine, successfully flush all the men's toilets because "one of them wasn't working right", and plug in a freezer that "wasn't turning on". On the flip side of that, I enjoyed be looked at by the campers as a person of authority and did my best to meet their needs, even the silly ones.

There was some action at my job as well. For instance, the day I almost got driven over a drop-off by a volunteer worker. His name was Jerry, and he was a seventeen year old volunteering for three days. I would describe Jerry as a rather excitable person, and excitable and driving the battered piece of metal that is our work truck do not mix very well. There is a steep road at the Youth Camp that leads down to the lake, and on one side of this road there is a steep drop-off all the way along it. Jerry somehow had managed to get behind the wheel of the S10 before I could beat him to it (I knew of his "excitableness" from an earlier incident), and he gunned it up that same road with the drop-off. In his defense, the S10 had to have somewhat of a running start to make it up the before-mentioned road without slipping, but nevertheless, I rode white-knuckled beside him in the passenger seat. Unexplainably, he looked over his shoulder and yelled at Davin riding in the pick-up bed to "hold on!", and I also turned to see if Davin was doing okay at our mighty speed. When I turned back,  the trunk of a tree loomed before us. Jerry had accidently turned toward the drop-off when he looked over his shoulder, and we were in danger not only of hitting the tree before us on the side of the road, but falling off the drop.

I  am pretty sure some expletive or another flew out of his mouth as Jerry quickly slammed on his brakes and turned to try to get back on the road. We stopped before we hit the tree, but only the two left tires of the S10 touched the road as the truck got stuck precariously close to rolling off the drop. We tried to haul it back on the road with the heavy-duty tractor the camp owned, but after the truck slipped down further in the drop (and after I, stuck with the duty of being in the truck during this operation, nearly had a heart attack), we finally decided that we should let the boss know of our predicament. Guess who got to deliver this message via cell phone? Sigh. "Yeah, Mr. Petersohn? We have a little problem (Understatement!) . . ."  In case you were wondering, we did finally manage to save the S10, but I am sure poor Jerry wanted to melt into the ground that day as we waited for Mr. Petersohn to arrive on the scene.

 All in all, a great job, huh? As I have already blogged about, I got to witness verbally for the first time at that camp, and I learned many useful things there as well. I will always cherish these memories of my first "real" job, and though I don't plan on returning there next year, Mayfield Lake Youth Camp will always hold a special place in my mind. What's next for me? Well, primarily school (heavy sigh). On the bright side, though, it will give me more time to write to y'all! This fall I will be looking into getting a job at a Christmas tree farm over the hill from us, and I am looking forward to that. Next spring/summer I will be trying to build my lawn mowing business (a post about that coming soon!) to the point where I will have steady work. Write to ya' later, blog followers!


  1. Sounds like a good learning experience, even though a little scary at times. We are very proud of you Kyle.You are a wonderful God fearing and fun to be around grandson. (not to mention very handsome).
    You do however need to work on your scrabble skills. Much love, Meempm

  2. Ah, thanks Meemom! You are a fun and wonderful, not to mention very pretty, grandma!

    Until we meet again, scrabble nemesis!

    P.S. What is a Meempm? :0)