Friday 15th July
6:56pm Leather is definitely my favourite lesson to teach. It doesn’t require any of these skills everyone has apart from me, and I’m actually quite creative in it. I teach with Cara at the end of the day and Ben sits next-door teaching drawing, so I like going in to see him every now and then. His kids are always so quiet in there – he says all he can hear is me and Cara screeching about being careful with hammers and the kids squealing when they hit themselves with them. There are only a few kids in his class, but he has such a good rapport with each of them. They love him. He’s like a gentle giant and he’s so calming to be around – perfect for an arts teacher. He’s a lot of fun without being too brash or in your face. I swear one of the girls is into him though. She’s very pretty, for a 15-year-old, and always gives me filthy looks when I go in to see him. I’d say she’s definitely got a soft spot for him. I love having Ben and Cara as my best friends here. It’s nice to know you’ve always got someone supporting you and who likes you best out of everyone.
Anyway, back to leather – generally we get the kids to make belts or bracelets.
- I’ll cut them a piece of leather and show them how to dye it.
- They dye it and wait for it to dry, messing around in the meantime.
- Next, they use stamps and a hammer to stamp pictures and letters into the leather. Or they can use a scalpel to cut sections out.
Leather is simple and cool, and the kids love it because they have something they’ll actually use to take home with them. I’ve even made a few little gifts for myself in the form of about ten belts and a few bracelets for some select friends. The leather department is right next to the computer room too, so Cara and me are in a nice little rhythm of covering for each other while we each go and check our emails every day. I feel so sorry for the guy in there. He has around 20 computers to maintain, the only reason the kids go in there is to play on MySpace and email their friends, and the internet connection is unbelievably shit. It never works so he has 20 kids in there with fierce computer rage. He doesn’t look like he copes with it all very well either.
7:25pm Cara’s just been to the bunk slagging off some of the counselors who arrived in the second session. She’s definitely a love her or hate her person. I love her, I wish I could work with her all the time, but I think she’s a bit much for the other counselors to cope with. She says random stuff around the kids and other counselors turn their noses up.
Cara: “Earl’s a dirty great roide, isn’t he Lucy?”
Haha, oh she does make me laugh.
When she’s annoyed about something her face is so earnest and sincere, but then what comes out her mouth is something totally different. She swears like a fisherman’s wife – never around the kids though, well hardly ever. She’s obviously not impressed at being left in visual arts, but has just decided to have fun no matter what. The visual arts boss will tell her to do something, she’ll start it, and then wander off when she sees something more fun going on.
Some days she comes in and I can tell she’s in a good, pro-active mood. She’ll tidy the cupboards and get the kids in order and listening, and she won’t take any shit. Then other days she’ll come in and just let the kids do whatever they want and walk around cleaning up after them. I guess it’s when she’s tired. Actually, everyone looks completely exhausted – how the hell are we going to last all summer – there’s still six weeks to go?
7:43pm The kids are going Harry Potter crazy; it’s all they can talk about. The new book comes out tomorrow so the doting parents are sending it straight to camp via special delivery. As of tomorrow Earl’s even introduced a Harry Potter minor into the schedule so the kids can sit and read their books during the day. Not my girls though, oh no, they’re too cool to read.
Mealtime post is so competitive. It’s like a popularity contest between whose parents love them the most. I note that my parents haven’t actually sent me anything yet. One of the English counselors got some Cadbury’s chocolate in the post the other day; she was really sweet and gave it out to everyone. The chocolate in America is shit – Hershey’s is horrible. If I come next year I’m definitely going to bring some choccy to win some friends, although it probably wouldn’t even last the flight with me, nom nom.
8:19pm Zoe told me earlier that she’s actually friends with the head of the drama department here back home in Australia. He told her she should come to this camp and she’d meet some rich and famous kids with celebrity parents who could offer her a big acting break. I don’t think he counted on her actually coming out though. Now he’s not talking to her and she’s really upset. I think she’s treading on his ground, or some shit like that. I feel sorry for her, but it was a pretty stupid thing to do. I didn’t think anyone actually came here for a career move, well I guess teachers do, but not wannabes. Sounds like she had a lot counting on it.
I wonder if that’s why she’s always singing and doing OTT monologues in the bunk? She must be desperately trying to get the kids’ attention so they can tell their imaginary influential parents about her. Hmmm, don’t think that’s going to work somehow.
We’ve got three days left of this session. I’ll be glad to say bye to some of these girls, but because so many are staying it doesn’t really feel like the end of anything this time round.