My oldest son is entering grade 5 this year, so is in his final year of eligibility for this camp. He'll be in the Jr. High level next year. He has Autism, so the main reason I was attending camp was to be his 1:1 support. I absolutely love camp though, and I would have volunteered at one of the three weeks (Teen Camp going on now) even if he hadn't been attending.
This year I experienced something new. In the past I had been a counselor or a handyman/janitor. This year I was not only my son's support, I was also the nurse.
|Sadly, I did not have an awesome first aid briefcase.|
That's right. The nurse. Typically there is an actual nurse on staff each week of camp. There were no volunteers for the middle week of camp this year though, so the duty fell to me. I'm far from trained in nursing, but as a Youth Care Worker I have trained in CPR/First Aid every two years or more for the past 14 years and I regularly dispense medication.
I learned two lessons while being the nurse:
- Little kids are sexist. On several occasions I got giggled at when kids asked me if I was the nurse. I also got a few, "You're a boy, so shouldn't you be the doctor?" remarks.
- Being the camp nurse is a lot of work, even though I didn't have many serious injuries to deal with. There were more sprained ankles than a usual week (and one turned out to be broken), but more of my time was spent running after kids who needed bandaids or splinters pulled or had gotten too much sun. Other years I had seen the nurse running about looking harried but experiencing it firsthand gives me a whole new respect for the profession and the camp role in particular. Luckily I avoided having to deliver the baby - that couple just drove themselves to the hospital without even waking me. Probably a good move considering both my own kids came by c-section.
I've already been asked by a friend how well I was able to eat Primal at camp. The short answer is not very. Being a camp for little kids, pretty much every meal consists of stuff that little kids like to eat. There's too much activity in the day for them - we need to feed them stuff that they'll eat enough of. Unfortunately, that means a lot of processed carbs. I suppose I could have packed a week's worth of food and taken it with me, but for cost and food storage space reasons, I didn't go that route. I plan to write more about what I ate and how that affected me later this week.
Camp wasn't a total dietary loss though, there was bacon served on one day. Unfortunately it was in short supply:
|Maybe the most Primal/paleo meal of the week. No seconds on bacon.|
Luckily I was able to intercept a near disaster later in the morning of the bacon and eggs breakfast. A staff member was about to throw out some of his bacon! He was moving away from his seat and I asked "what are you doing with that?". He answered that he was throwing it out because "it's just the fat". This would have been an excellent time to engage in a discussion about the many health benefits of saturated fat and maybe debunking the lipid hypothesis of heart disease. It was also an excellent time to snatch the bacon fat off his plate. In a moment of weakness I chose the latter. You know you would have done the same.
Have you ever volunteered at a summer camp? In what role? Are you by chance a male nurse, and if so, how do you deal with the stereotyping? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net