I had a really weird experience this past summer. Not weird in the “weird is wonderful” way, but more in the “oh shit, this is actually a thing now” way. This past summer I was employed as a Youth Program Coordinator and thus got to run an entire summer program that I organized, hired for, and this whole thing was more or less my baby. And I did it all with next to no supervision. Let’s fast forward past all of the shenanigans that I got up to over the summer to one sunny day on Clearwater Lake.
I was out with some older youth for my community and some youth from another community on a canoe journey. A couple of my camp leaders and I were unpacking and setting up our dinner area while a group of people went out on the lake for another canoe ride (paddle? I’m not sure. I’m one of those bad Canadians that doesn’t like canoeing and can’t ice skate). That was ok though because my camp leaders were basically the most amazing teenagers I could have possibly ever asked to work with. We all knew what to do and we were all pretty chill about getting everything set up. Everyone more or less had a job and they were doing it.
But in the middle of all of that a stranger wandered into our camp and I didn’t notice him right away. The only reason why I noticed him was because my Senior Camp Leader called out my name and said there was a guy in our camp. Out of instinct I looked around for an adult to notify that there was a stranger in our camp…
Then I realized that my SCL had let me know because I was the only adult around.
Not only was I the only adult around, but I was a trusted adult. A responsible adult. The adultiest adult around and I probably could have given one of my leaders a time out and they would have listened because that’s how adult I was. I was an adult with the power of the time out. Except I didn’t do that.
Instead I talked to the stranger who was friends with a lady who was staying in camp with us and then he left. Then I told my SCL that she had better eat all of the chocolate we bought because it was her insane idea to buy like a million giant bars of it. Except she didn’t and now we have a positively mad amount of chocolate kicking about my office that I may or may not make her eat
It was a really weird feeling. I mean, I’m 28-years-old now so I clearly know that I’m adult and I do things to take care of myself, sometimes I have a job, and well, I do adult stuff like go to my friends house and sip wine while eating off actual plates with nice utensils and not the cute plastic animal shaped utensils I bought for $3 at Wal-Mart. This feeling though, it was new. It made me realize I’m in a whole new world of something else. Dudes, parents leave their kids alone with me with the full expectation and trust that I won’t let their children die or be severely maimed on my watch. And I can put those kids in time-out if I really want to. Though I won’t actually do that without reason. So far I’ve actually only given 5 time-outs and they were all for good reasons and I had some very nice chats with those kids about behaving because I don’t like seeing them bored and not having fun in time-out.
Because guess what, kiddo? I may not be the best adult around, but I’m the only one you’ve got right now. And it’s a damn weird feeling. Like panic and pride mixed into one. Being an adult is weird. Especially when you drive kids places and they all sit in the back seat and you get stuck in a scene from Driving Miss Daisy.