Unappreciated

I’m filled with a sense of ambivilence at the moment. I really thought things were going well… I get on with most of the campers… but in the past few days I’ve really got pissed off with the way our directors show too much favouritism and give a lot of special treatment to the older campers. They have been nagging me a lot lately, telling me all about the “traditions” of this unit for our final banquet and recognition night coming up tomorrow. It’s only when I ask some of the staff who’ve been here for ages that they tell me almost all of what they say is not true. Amusing. But the directors let them get away with it, and so I have to deal with them on my own. Not good.

The other problem right now is the fact that I feel rather unappreciated. I put in a lot of hard work and I would challenge any of the other counselors to do my job of standing in front of 40-60 tired and ratty kids every evening and giving them something to do. It’s not easy… but most of the counselors don’t respect the effort I put in by not even bothering to show up to my evening campfire activities, let alone help me out in some way.

But it’s not just the staff who I feel are taking me for granted. The campers themselves don’t seem to notice either. Last night the campers all filled in an evaluation form, with a question basically asking who their favourite staff member is. I probably shouldn’t be so sensitive, but I was only named once and it was by a camper who surprised me. The kids who I thought I was getting on with the best didn’t name me at all. Most campers named one of the guys who mostly works in the kitchens as their favourite, and this baffles me. He hardly ever goes out on program with them, but all he does is have this uncanny ability to engage them in endless small talk. Maybe that’s what kids like. But I feel I’ve always been happy, kind, helpful and caring to almost all of them. I don’t think I could go any further.

I just get the feeling that the campers really don’t care what I do. I understand I may have helped them out in some ways, but if they don’t recognise that I’m doing a lot to help make them better people, then I’m wasting my time and they will soon forget what I’ve taught. Kids need role models and they need to be able to identify someone setting examples because then it’s much easier for them to try to learn something. If they aren’t able to identify me then the chances are they will not remember it. The worst is the fact that most of these kids really look up to those very older campers that the staff are so nice to just because they are “veterans” of camp. They let them get away with murder, and the younger campers see that in action and learn from it. It’s a bad precedent.

It’s taken me a while to formulate this into words, but as well I probably have not been paying enough attention either. It’s making things pretty difficult right now, and I’m hoping that things improve with the new batch of kids next Wednesday. Maybe I’ll get a better chance to make a difference this time. Because that’s my goal for this summer… to have made a difference somewhere. It just galls me when the kid I’ve worked the most on, the one who has had the most difficulty communicating with others, doesn’t even recognise that.

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