Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Vacation....

As most of you may remember I spent my summer working for the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. At first I was really nervous because I was going to be working as cook for seven weeks, cooking for anywhere from 25 to 75 girls. Well.... it turned out great! I worked with some wonderful girls and made some new friends.

The first four weeks were spent at a camp called Cherokee Ridge. A lot of the activities here revolve around horseback riding and swimming.

Every morning when I walked out my cabin door I was greeted by the site of the horses grazing in the pasture. I have always loved horses but never had the opportunity to be around them much.
Here is the pool house. I only swam once the entire time I was at camp and well.... I didn't really swim. Mostly dangled my feet in the water. Its not that I didn't want to swim, mostly because I am not comfortable in a swimsuit in front of others.... Especially when most of them are all skinny teenage girls! *laughing*

While at Cherokee Ridge I shared a cabin with Michelle a.k.a. 'Band-Aid' the camp nurse. Each year she decorates the cabin to a theme.

This years them was a beach theme. The cabin was really pretty nice. This is a picture of the main room. We also had a bathroom and another little room off of this one where campers could come in and cool off when the heat got to them and believe me, the heat did get to all of us. We were under heat advisories almost all four weeks we were there.

This is a picture of the dining lodge. This is where I spent most of my days. I was responsible for cooking three meals a day. My mornings started at 5:30 a.m. each morning and ended around 6:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the evening.

This is what 'my' kitchen looked like.

This is the pantry. My first order was $4100! Wow... to have that type of budget to work with was really something. Of course it wasn't like that each week, just the first week to start up. I had the responsibility to make up the menus and place my order for the following week. At first I was really nervous because I had never had a job like this, unless you count home.

Under the dining lodge we had some little visitors. Three baby skunks. They were so cute! I usually saw them every day but of course they would never make an appearance when I had my camera ready! I tell you.... they are so cute! If there was a way to catch one and make a pet of one, I think there were about three or four of us who would of tried. *laughing*

We stayed at Camp Cherokee Ridge for four weeks and then we had to pack up the pantry and head over to Camp LaTonka. Where Cherokee Ridge was popular for their horse programs, LaTonka is known for their ropes course. I did not go down to it but I did see pictures of the zip line the girls were able to do. I would of loved trying it but I am not too crazy about heights.

At this camp I was able to have my own space. This is the cabin I shared with the lifeguards. I lived on the right-hand side. Had my own bathroom and a very comfortable queen-size bed. Plus it was nice because it was directly across the road from the dining hall so I did not have far to go to cook the meals.

The inside of the dining hall was beautiful. Unfortunately the weather was too hot to use the fireplace, but we did use the handmade tables. I would love to have one of these at home. Each table seated ten people comfortably.

Meal times were very loud, especially when the kids did clean up. At LaTonka, each table is responsible for their own dishes. They are given dish water, rinse water and a dunking basket. Then they bring them to the kitchen where they are dunked and sanitized. While the girls do their dishes, they sing and let me tell you.... they get LOUD! I don't know how many times I would find myself singing 'gray squirrel' when by myself! *laughing*

Camp LaTonka sits on Lake Wappapello and it is absolutely beautiful. This is a picture of the damn from the camps 'swimming hole'.

Each evening, there is an all camp where all the girls meet and do some type of activity. Usually on Thursday nights they would go down to the lake and have a campfire, makes s'mores and sing.

One of the things I liked about LaTonka is that there are stone benches that fan out around the campfire.

Here is a picture of some of the counselors. From left to right there is: CC, Yo Yo, CB, Shades, Digger and Candy.

At camp, we are all given nicknames. Mine was Bunni and it gets to the point where by the time camp is over, even we have a hard time remember what the girls real names are.

When the seven weeks were over, it was almost sad. After living so closely together, you get close to a lot of these people and it was hard saying good bye. Lucky for me, a couple of the girls live close by and most of them are on Facebook so we can all keep in touch.

Camp was really fun and I am so glad I did this. It was a great opportunity and it helped me realize what I was capable of doing. There is already talk of next year and you know.... I think I may do it but until then I am so happy to be back and hopefully this will be the start of getting back into the groove of things. I have missed blogging and keeping up with all my online friends!



  1. Debbie, thanks for sharing your summer, sounds like all went well but I'm glad your back home;)

  2. Debbie,
    Seeing your photos brought back wonderful memories of all the summers that I went to church camp.
    Sounds like you have an awesome summer at camp!! Welcome back to blogland...we missed you.

  3. Debbie - I am so glad that the summer job turned out to be a great experience for you. It looks like a beautiful place.
    What an awesome kitchen! Having read your recipes before I know you whipped up some great food for those girls! Oh to have such a pantry!

  4. Wow! Those were long days, lots of girls to feed, and lots of food! Both camps had beautiful settings, what beautiful pictures you snapped! Sounds like it was quite an experience!