5 Things I Learned from Working with Children

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This past week has just flown by. I imagined  myself having more time to blog, craft, and cook... and then I started summer camp. In the past few years, I have worked with children in many different scenarios, including over-night residential camps, youth development programming, after school programs, volunteering for an organization that serviced students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and now I am a part of my first summer day camp!

I have worked for the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau since its founding last October. From September until May, the Club provided an after school program for community youth to enjoy and I served as the Middle School Program Leader for the majority of that time. A week ago, we started our summer camp and I am continuing to be the primary middle school go-to person. This past week has been quite an experience and I am reminded every day why I enjoy working with children.

Since I have been absolutely failing with blogging, I am working tonight to write some posts and have them set to post on various days throughout the next couple weeks. I actually have some down time tonight! So without further ado, I would like to share some of the things I have learned from working with children as a dedication to my first week of summer day camp!

Enjoy this photo of me being pied in the face by some kids (:

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this is just my opinion and most of my experience is with kids between ages 10 and 15. I would love to hear from others about what they have learned from fun times with kids!


1. How to be strict in a nice voice.
I recently went through a staff training with our new Exec. Director at BGCP and one of the things that really stuck out to me was his way of addressing misbehavior to a kid. Instead of yelling at them or raising your voice, use your quietest voice. Basically, you should learn in the case of an emergency or prevention one from occurring. I tie together that quietness with my calmest, coolest, collective tone and from my experience, they are more likely to just say "yes ma'am" and correct the behavior than be defiant or talk back.

2. Kids are smarter than you think. 
This should really be a "Nuff Said" but I have watched many fellow staff members say things in front of kids that they thought would go over their little heads, but they will at the least pick up your emotional stability from your words if they don't keen in on what you are really talking about. It's like they have a sixth sense of always knowing what you really meant to say. I've also witnessed fellow staff members treat their kids as though they are developmentally 3 years younger than they really are; this is such a big mistake. If you treat them as though they are "dumb," they will either be angered by it or use it to get away with "dumb mistakes," a.k.a. misbehavior you have to forgive because you didn't want to teach them appropriate behavior beforehand.

3. Some of the worse scenarios in your eyes may just be the highlight of their week. Kids are resilient!
The great thing about kids is that they are resilient. Of course you don't want to ever put a child in danger, but "it will be okay." I once took a group of rowdy high school girls on a mountain biking trip through Dupont State Forest. An hour into the trip, I found myself with one girl with the worst case of asthma I have ever seen to this day and another with a sprained ankle. The majority of the gorup had already had their fill and was complaining of how tired and dehydrated they were (they sucked down their water fast). While trying to get ourselves back to our starting point, it also started pouring rain. I had about 15 soaked, tired, irritated girls and a couple with injuries and a ill-equipped first aid kit. I couldn't even phone back to camp to call for assistance because I had no signal! DISASTER. But at the end of the week, I overheard the girls bragging to the rest of the camp at a lunch about how awesome their mountain biking trip was and how much fun they had, even the girl with the sprained ankle. I was amazed, but it just goes to show that as long as you keep your cool and stay flexible, it will be okay and they won't hate you. I wouldn't depend on their resiliency though.

4. They love routine. They won't admit to it, but they want it and need it. 
Reliability is important for this one! If you can't be reliable and stick to the routine, you're going to lose them to their own vices, i.e. arguing with each other. Chuckie will "accidentally" push Dill into the dirt and Phil is stop being Lill's friend over a spot on the rug. Working with children will grant you with the ability to problem-solve like a pro, but you don't want to waste time solving these problems when you could be having fun with your kids. Routine is key.

5. Have fun!
If you're not having fun, then you're not doing it right. It's just that simple. If you are having fun, then they will have fun. That's all kids really want is to have fun, but if fun is not happening... then something is wrong. Not having fun and can't figure out what to do? Don't be afraid to call for assistance or ask someone with great kid experience. As much experience that I have had with kids, I still find myself in no-fun predicaments and need to call upon someone wiser with kids to figure out what to do. Having fun is essential!


So what's the next crafty project?

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I recently posted about how I was painting a cooler... I'll be honest, it's really not quite done. I cannot decide on what to do with one of the sides. The background color is there but my creative flows are running dry as far as what to do with that cooler. Instead of haggling myself completely finish, I am going to start prepping for my next project: an Altered Book!

I have an old book from when I was in my first Latin class. I'm thinking that it will be great for altering since it is a sturdy hard-back and the pages are stitched into the binding. I came across an awesome blog titled Go Make Something  with some great advice and tips for prepping a book for altering. The link to the post that I used will be at the end.  I am totally stoked about my first altered book! I have already started ripping out pages with a ruler.

Now to go back to the cooler.... This is my pledge to finish it in the near future. I'll need to post some updated pictures of it, just to prove that I actually did paint it, haha! Sorry, everyone, for my lack of flow. I just can't force creativity. 

By the way, Ecce Romani means "Look, Romans!" Not that exciting, right?






Back from Washington DC!

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I feel like it has been a century since I have found time to sit at my computer, but this time away from everything was definitely worth it. The past week has been filled with travel and fun adventures with my boyfriend and I cannot wait to start posting about what I learned on this trip and my favorite parts. Last Wednesday, Kyle and I headed out of the mountains of North Carolina to spend the night in Greensboro, then leaving on Thursday morning to make our way all the way to Washington DC. We spent three full days in DC (so five days and four nights technically) and had an amazing time.  Here are some of the highlights of our adventure!

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Federal Triangle, Washington DC 
I made a Peacock friend! I didn't want to get too close to him but he was definitely willing for me to hang out beside him for a good twenty minutes. I probably took 50 up-close photos of his feathers and stances.

National Zoo
Woodley Park, Washington DC

In this US Holocaust Museum, there is an awesome memorial inside that features all of the camps with candles underneath their names so that you can light a candle to pay respects.

US Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

Rotunda
Arlington National Cemetery

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Washington DC

John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Arlington National Cemetery


Lincoln Memorial
Washington DC
Throw what you know! Alpha Gamma Delta

Washington Monument
Washington DC
Union Station
Washington DC
Supreme Court
Washington DC
The US Capitol looked like a hot mess on its dome. Like majority of DC, it is going through repairs. The Mall is tore up and the Grant Memorial is completely covered. So I did not take any pictures of  a memorial that you couldn't see or how ugly the Mall was with its construction.

US Capitol Building
Washington DC
The Museum of Natural History
Washington DC


Taking a picture with good ol' Andrew Jackson. My 2nd favorite president after Thomas Jefferson. The awesome part of our Capitol tour was that it was a private tour, thanks to Congressman Mark Meadows, and we were able to enter the Capitol through the underground tunnels that connect the Capitol to the House offices. The tunnels also connect between various other important buildings in DC.

US Capitol Building
Washington DC
The Museum of American History
Washington DC
Kyle's dad works for the EPA as a scientist / researcher so we naturally had to take a picture with the EPA building DC.

Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Triangle, Washington DC





First try doing this type of pictures and wanted to give it a shot on this beautiful memorial. This is by far one of my favorites and it was awesome to here on D-Day.

Wold War II Memorial
Washington DC







200 miles of No Internet Service- What!?

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Living in the mountains is a great experience, but you come across some stranger problems. For instance, when the power or internet goes out, then it's likely that it's happening to everyone within an hour of you too. Today was one of those days. The internet had went out as soon as I got online to check Facebook, brainstorm a blog post, look at cooler ideas... and I was immediately kicked off. After checking around with neighbors and friends, it turns out that the internet had been out for other towns in the WNC area west of Asheville and I ever heard word from a sorority sister that she was out of internet in GA. The lesson learned here is... Storms in the mountains are the real deal. They may not be very intense, but they sure will take out an entire region from having internet. A silly thing to complain about, really, but it amazed me how far this problem reached.