What I did at summer camp
I got back last week from the fourth Women's Grappling Camp (http://www.womensgrappling.org/), the first one in a weekend format, and the first one in Richmond, VA. Emily and I taught and Alaina administrated (or is it administered?); Felicia was busy with a prior commitment, so we soldiered on in her absence.
I'm pretty sure it went well; I know I had a great time, and it seems like the campers did too. We owe a huge debt of thanks to Chrissy Linzy, who floated the idea to us in the first place; to Triin Seppel of Fenom Kimonos (http://www.fenomkimonos.com), who donated a gi to be raffled off (congrats, Maggie!); and to Klint Radwani and Mike Crawford, who hosted us at the Yamasaki Training Center in Mechanicsville, VA (http://www.mechanicsvillemartialarts.com). The weekend format seemed to go well: the trick is apparently to tire everyone out the first day so they have no energy to complain on the second day. I personally had been worried that three days (Fri eve through Mon morn) would not be enough time to build cohesion and give participants the "camp experience", but I needn't have worried. The "repeat offenders" (campers who have come to other camps) and the new recruits mingled well, there was laughter and dessert galore, and the general consensus was that Emily and I did a good job of offering the less experienced students some solid basics while also providing the upper belts some interesting/useful details.
And that was good to hear, because as always happens, she and I went in with a plan, and then we quickly chucked the plan and improvised when it became clear that the campers' needs/wants were different from what we had anticipated. I don't mean to make it sound like we fly by the seat of our pants, because in so many ways we have become very good at running this camp, which is to say very good at enabling participants to enjoy themselves and learn something new. But in other ways, each camp has its own personality, and as any workshop/meeting leader will tell you, the ability to adapt is invaluable when you are learning the personality of the current group.
So, adapt we did. And we learned a bunch more about how to continue to improve the camp so that people continue to have fun and learn, or, as Felicia would say, to get out of camp what they need.
I'll write more about what's been going on with me. But the biggest thing is that I turn 40 in ONE WEEK. I'll be spending the next seven days bidding a wistful goodbye to my 30s. They were a good decade.