After business meeting on Saturday of that last week, I decided to get up and announce that I needed a ride back to SLC. Before I could get up there, though, my co-counselor (whom I couldn't stand) offered to give me a ride home. It was a bummer, but she was effectively muzzled when I put in the soundtrack to Les Miserable. "You'd better sing along if you're going to put that in," she commanded. "But of course," I acquiesced. "It's WAY better than talking to you," I imagined myself saying. The timing was perfect, and by the time we got to the Gateway Mall, Val Jean was just dying.
The Ring Bearer was there. He took me to California. We stayed at my brother Ouija's house. We found my friend Hero and he hung out with us a bunch. We did the San Francisco thing, Toured the Jelly Belly Factory ("'Best Factory Tour in the USA' --Readers' Digest 2005" boasts the sign), and watched season one of 24 all the way through with breaks only for the bathroom. That's officially my new favorite TV show. At some point I offended Flavor's best friend by inadvertantly calling her "ho." Whoops. I really need to watch that. I went to institute, and a girl there was all, "Hey, do you want a car?" and I said "Heck yes I do," so she gave me one. A brown Cadillac Sedan Deville that runs great! I was so glad. I drove the car back to Ouija and Flavor's house and in the morning left for the airport with the Ring Bearer. Threw up in the airport. I always seem to do that. On the other end Kevin and Kylee, our coordinators, picked me up. I was the first BC to arrive.
BC stands for "Building Counselor," though I always told the kids it was "Boss Counselor." That's "building" as in edifying, not edifice. The differences between being a BC and being a counselor are many. BCs are counselors over the counselors. Rather than have a group of teenagers (we call them participants), I had a group of counselors every week. It was my responsibility to sit in on their lessons and devotionals and make sure they were teaching well and appropriately, teach them my own lessons every morning before the kids wake up and every afternoon during free time, deal with heavy discipline issues, and also run the individual activities and duties of the camp, i.e. the dances, service project, slide show, musical program, lunch duty, etc. We had six lists of all the BC duties, and rotated through all of them during our six weeks.
EFY Week 3: Galke
Brother Galke was our session director this week. I had him last year, too, and he was my least favorite. Now, everybody else loved him. Everybody. But he really rubbed me the wrong way last year. This year he didn't do any of the specifics that drove me so nuts last year, which was good.
I should take a moment to tell you about all the other BCs, since these are the people my summer pretty much revolved around.
Jon: Jon was actually my roommate last year at efy. He's one of the funniest people I know. We play off each other very well. He and I had agreed to write a book about a fictional sister missionary called "We Had a Miracle Today!" I'll have to remember to write in here about when we were in charge of the service project. Anyway, he also sings like Josh Groban, so we heard him singing a lot this summer. I'm a big fan of this guy.
Shelley: Shelley was the sporty, outdoorsy BC. She's a humongous Disneyland nut, I grew very close to her. She's one of the funniest girls I know. Every week she would go to a youth testimony meeting and then come back and report all the funniest parts, and it was always a highlight of my week. She and Jon hooked up immediately, a move I totally support.
Jessica: Jessica is a cute-as-a-button girl who makes me laugh a lot. She confided in me her crushes. We always had great discussions. She was really good at her job, too, which I appreciated. We joke about the idea that we'll be co-coordinators next year, since we're the only northern Californian BCs from this year.
Michelle: Michelle often made me feel like my opinions were invalid or inappropriate. She would dismiss me to other people like, "Oh, that's just him." She really did add a calming influence to everything, though, and the week she took off I definitely missed her. As of this writing, she's gotten married.
Jonathan: Jonathan was one of the most fascinating things to happen to me this summer. This kid had the most bizarre opinions about things. And they aligned with my own almost invariably. From our quirky taste in music to the fact that neither of us says the pledge of allegiance, we kept surprising each other with the parallels in our personalities and lives. He's overcome ridiculous trials to be where he is. It was a huge blessing for me to find someone who was so eerily similar to myself.
My BC weeks were pretty run-of the mill every time, but I'll share the things that were different about each.
I had a counselor whom we'll call Jared, since that was his name, who was really, really bad. He hadn't read his manual, he was teaching his own freaky opinions as doctrine, he yelled at his kids for no reason, and he was Asian. That last one wasn't really related to the other ones, but I thought it would be funny to list it like that. Anyway, his kids were miserable, and I knew right away that the guy would soon have to go. I observed his Monday-night devotional, which was ostensibly about faith. Instead, he challenged his boys to approach girls who were dressed immodestly and inform them that nobody appreciated when they dressed like that. I had talk after talk with the coordinators about his progress. I recommended that he be terminated, but they wanted to give him an ultimatum, which I did. I saw improvement in the areas about which I talked with him, but the problem was that there were just too many problems to be able to correct them all in the six weeks he'd be with us. Anyway, more on Jared later.
I'm going to stop talking about this week, except to say that I was surprised at the poor quality of the counselors I had. I was wondering if I was being to harsh on them, but subsequent weeks proved that the good ones were indeed there, and that by some fluke I had been assigned all the problem counselors for these first two weeks. Oh, and also, I'm really proud of the slide show I put together of that week. I wish I still had it.
EFY Week 4: Music
I was in charge of the singers this week. That was cool. In every fireside, the session director has a counselor sing a song from the EFY CD. It's mostly very poppy poopy music, but we counselors still clamour for the opportunity to get up in front of all those kids and share the spirit through our talents.
Our session director this week was a timorous man who'd brought along his wife. She was definitely more outgoing and fun, though she hit a wall near Tuseday night and was NOT fun to be around for a few days in there. Anyway, she's a singer, so she got very involved in the selction process with me and also with Jonathan's musical program. That was all right with me, I guess. This is more like my journal people, with reminders for myself of what happened rather than making it interesting for everyone else, so sorry if this is more boring than my usual entries.
Thursday nights after the big devotionals on the atonement and testimony meetings, we would all (BCs, coordinators, session director and wife, health counselors) get together for whatever sort of activity the session director wanted. When it was Brother Galke's turn the week before, he used this as a chance to let his hair (and standards) down. I think he was trying to show us that he was cool and wasn't efy all the time. He told off-color jokes. Most of us were insulted. There was an attitude of "Okay, the kids are gone, now we can drop the whole spiritual act.
It was the exact opposite this next week. The session director had an attiude of "okay, the kids are gone, now we can get into the deeper doctrines." I really liked that. I learned a lot about the enabling power of the aonement from him, and how Christ doesn't just make bad men good, but good men better. I set some goals that week.
There was a mural in the building where we did all our dances and classes and things that depicted a lot of naked people standing in a circle naked. The university offered to cover it up for $100/day. We declined their generous offer. I took a picture of us BCs standing in front of it in the same pose for the slideshow. I set it as the desktop for our efy computer and offered to change it for just $100/day. That should say something about how cool the people I worked with were. Most counselors would have been offended, but my bosses and co-workers all thought it was great.
Independence Day was on that Monday, and we gathered all the kids on the roof of a nearby parking garage for the fireworks. It was really cool.
This week my favorite counselor, Seth, left us, and instead we got a new one named Aaron, who was even more of a handful than Jared. He was continually sleeping through meetings, keeping his boys up WAY past bed time, and I even walked in on him passing around dirty jokes that he's printed online. There were gay, sexist, bestiality, and racist jokes in there. I couldn't believe it. His devotionals were long and boring. The next week he was off to Flagstaff, so I sent a message ahead of him for his BC and coordinators there to keep an eye on him. More on him later, too.
In fact, more on all of this later. Time for In-N-Out and In-Sti-Tute. Chao Pescados.