Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The final week of NEFC has come to a close, with about 45 people on camp. We had about 5 Stockaders, 15 Battalion campers, and no Frontiersmen. Several staff have also left, so there were some unique challenges to the week, especially in terms of the kitchen clean up after each meal.

We made every effort, however, to have an exciting week for the kids. For example, on Wednesday in addition to the Battalion doing their normal overnight, the Stockade also went out to Jockey Cap, a nearby scenic spot in Bridgton. On Thursday night I told the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, which included the lighting of the campfire by a “ball of fire from heaven”. In order to pull this off, we had a cable rigged that went from the campfire to a tree nearby. A staff member attached a bundle of rags soaked in kerosene to a pulley, and at the appropriate time lit the bundle of rags and released it to slide down the cable. Just prior to this, at the point in the story when Elijah poured 12 pitchers of water over the sacrifice, I had poured a bucket over the campfire. My bucket, however, did not have water but had white gas, which they use in cooking out on the trail. When the fire ball hit the fire, it created a spectacular fire.

We did this story last week, and unbeknownst to me the camp director wanted a bigger fire. Where last week they used about 3/4 of a gallon of white gas, this week he told them to use about 1/2 gallon more than the previous week. If you go to the NEFC Facebook Page you can see the week 6 video for camp – the last few seconds show the lighting of the fire.

Separate from camp, this week was also the preparation for my brother Doug’s wedding. Monday, Matthias and I went over to Oxford to help them move a bunch of tables and chairs in preparation for the reception. On Friday, we went over in the morning to help set up the tent and get things ready. And then on Saturday we had the wedding in the morning and the reception afterwards. We stayed around to help take down the tent. It was 9:15 by the time we got back to camp, but it was a wonderful wedding and reception.

This weekend has seen the Day Camp staff arrive. Today (Sunday) families from the area are coming in to register their children for Day Camp, which will run Monday – Friday. Most of the Twitchells, however, are heading home on Monday after breakfast. We are packing things up this afternoon and will load the vehicles this evening, in the hopes of leaving after breakfast in the morning. I am concerned about getting home, however. The last time I drove the suburban, it seemed to be giving some problems. We think it may be the computer module that controls the shifting and transmission, but we are not sure. In any event, I am hoping it will get us home so we can then figure out what needs to happen.

Next weekend we will back here at NEFC to pick up Matthias and to get the rest of our stuff that is down here. Sunday the 21st we will go back home, via Bryant Pond for the Jackson Family Reunion. Then, just one week later, school starts. It’s hard to believe that the summer is practically over, but it’s been a good summer, and I like to think that we have been able to be helpful to the ministry here at camp..

This summer I’m going to attempt to post weekly about our activities at New England Frontier Camp (NEFC). But first, let me give you a little history of my involvement with NEFC.

I first came to NEFC as a camper in the late 70’s. I think I was here for two years, and I remember during that time that they were building the Stockade area of the camp, about 1/2 mile from the main part of camp. The cabins in this area were built in the style of the old Blockhouses on the frontier, with the upper level overhanging the lower level by about 2 feet all the way around.

In 1986 and 1987 I came to the camp as a Senior Counselor. During the summer of 1987, my then fiance, Kathy, was the head cook in the kitchen. Two weeks after the conclusion of camp was our wedding. It was probably not the best way to spend the summer in preparation for our wedding, as we were quite busy, and had little time to plan. However, somehow we managed to pull it off.

In the summer of 1988, we came for just a week. I was in a cabin and Kathy helped out in the kitchen. In 1989 I don’t think we came at all.

In December 1989, we were looking forward to our first child being born in late June, when I got a phone call from the camp director. He said the administrative staff had been talking, and decided they would like me to be the Stockade Program Director, but they knew that I couldn’t do that with the baby coming. However, they decided to let ME make that decision, instead of making it for me by not asking. I think we surprised everyone when we said “Yes”. Josiah was 4 days old when he arrived at camp that summer – quite possibly the youngest person to ever be at camp.

I worked at camp the summers of 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. During that time I went on the camp board for a period of time as treasurer, and worked as both Stockade Program Director and then as the assistant to the Camp Director. Matthias was a couple of weeks old in 1992 when he arrived at camp.

At the end of the summer of 1994, our pastor at home resigned, and that led me into a position of speaking each week at church. In addition, the summer of 1995 saw our 3rd child come along, and we decided that we could no longer work at camp. The strange thing was how completely we ended up separated from camp – I do not believe that we set foot on camp property again until May, 2010 when I took my Battalion group down for the Camp-O-Rama. Driving through the town of Lovell began to bring back many memories of camp, and it was quite a remarkable experience to drive down the camp road and begin remembering all the things that I had done there and been involved with. I had forgotten how much I missed the place, if that makes any sense.

Our family had talked about doing some camping that summer, and we found an opportunity with a “Hammer Camp” NEFC was hosting Memorial Day weekend for families. We decided we would go down and camp out in the back field and help out, and we had an absolutely fabulous time. All the kids had a lot of fun and we got a lot of projects done. Over that weekend, the camp director asked Matthias if he would be interested in coming on staff for the summer, and so Matthias sent in an application and subsequently spend the summer there.

We also found out that they were short handed in the kitchen, and so Kathy, Peter, David, and Elias spent 3 weeks there, which turned into 4 weeks. Annie and I made a commute back and forth between home and camp – I needed to stay on top of things at C-Prompt, as well as some projects I was working on at home.

We had such a fabulous time that we decided this summer we would spend the entire summer here. There may be times I will need to go home to tend to things at C-Prompt, but for the most part we are hopeful that the shop will continue without much need for me to be there. Kathy is helping out with the kitchen, both with orders and helping with some cooking, as well as taking care of laundry for the camp. Annie is helping out in those areas where she can as well. Matthias is doing a lot of office work, and Peter is a CIT (Counselor in Training). I’m kind of helping out with whatever I can do – networking, re-building campfire sites, and other miscellaneous things.

In the next day or two I will try to post a summary of our first week. Feel free to post any questions you might have! .

So it has been over 2 and half months since I posted anything here.  I guess I better bring you up to speed on my life over that time.

April is always a busy month, with the Maine State Math Meet.  This year the event was held on April 5th at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.  It was the largest meet we have ever had.  Kathy and I go down on the Sunday afternoon before the meet, and spend Monday afternoon getting everything set up – from registration tables, to putting name tags on the tables for schools, to setting up the computer scoring network, and setting up the grading room.  My team usually arrives shortly after 5:00 pm, and I take them out to eat for supper.  On the day of the meet, I arrive onsite at 7:00, the meet generally ends around 3:00, and I try to be on the road for home by 4:00.

Once I recover from that event, we usually are close to April vacation, which it seems that I managed to get through without spending EVERY day at C-Prompt.

Once we hit May, things start picking up again.  My AP Calculus class took their AP exam on May 5th, so we had about a week of final preparation for that.  I began meeting with each senior Mountain Time to start going over expectations for graduation, including dress code, procedures, and doing some practice marching.  We took the Brigade group from church down to New England Frontier Camp for the weekend of the 20th for the annual Camp-O-Rama, which is a lot of fun.

The last full week of May was not really full for school, as we had no students on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  We had a workshop day instead.  On Saturday we went to Jonathan and Karolyne Sloma’s wedding (Jonathan works for me at C-Prompt), and it was a beautiful wedding.  On Memorial Day itself I ended up spending about 4 hours in school getting things taken care of that needed to be done.

Thursday, June 2nd was our first formal Marching Practice getting the seniors ready for graduation.  Friday morning was our Senior breakfast, and then we had two more Marching activities on Monday June 6th, and then the Senior Farewell Assembly on Tuesday, June 7th.  I actually ended up going home early that day as I did not feel well at all.

Then that afternoon we headed down to Oxford to my folks where we spent the night, so that Kathy could get me to Portland by about 6:15 so I could catch a 7:20 flight out to Kansas City by way of Chicago.  In fact, that’s where I am currently writing this from.  I’m here grading the AP Calculus exam, and have finished 6 straight days of grading.  Tomorrow is our last day, and then I fly back home on Thursday.

Friday is our last day of school, so I’ll be working hard to get grades done and my room cleaned up.  I have very little time for this, as we plan to move on Saturday down to Frontier Camp in Lovell for the summer, where Matthias will be a Senior Counselor, Peter will be a CIT (Counselor-in-Training), Kathy and Annie will be helping out in the Laundry area and ordering food for the kitchen, and I’ll be helping out wherever I might be needed around camp.  I may have to come home each week to tend to things at C-Prompt, but we intend to spend a full 8 weeks at camp.

So – that’s where things have been for me the past several weeks, and that’s where things are going for the next 8 or so.  Maybe I’ll do better at keeping this updated while at camp!.

Wow!  Has it really been two weeks since I last updated?  I think I’ve been a little busy. . .

Let’s see – vacation is long over, and I’m having a hard time remembering what I did.  I know that a snow storm at the end of the week cancelled a trip to Portland, and I spent several hours down at Clearwater working with Philip on the call in thermostat, that allows one to call the camp and turn the heat up before arriving.  As of last night, we STILL don’t have it working correctly.  We ended up replacing much of the phone wiring in the camp, and it still did not resolve the issue.  One would think the unit itself should be replaced, but Philip has already done that and it still isn’t working correctly.

Kathy and I did end up going to Portland on Saturday – kind of a quick trip down and back.  However, that didn’t take care of the reason that I needed to go, so I had to reschedule that for this past Friday.  Before we get to Friday, however, another snow storm extended vacation by a day.  I did NOT need to miss a Gold Day – that’s the day my AP Calculus class is on and every class period is necessary to get kids prepared for the AP exam on May 4th.  Then, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week were chaotic with no classes due to the scheduled Exit Exhibition presentations by the seniors.  Overall, those presentations were quite good, but they are also quite draining.

We finally had classes on Thursday last week, but then I had to go to Portland on Friday so my student teacher covered classes.  I STILL haven’t seen my Gold Day classes since before vacation!  My brother Doug and I had to go the Civic Center to test out displaying the scores from the Maine State Math Meet on the displays around the Civic Center – that meet is on April 5th and we needed to be sure we could interface with their system.  Once we were done, Matthias (who had come down with me) and I went over to Lovell to New England Frontier Camp for the weekend where we helped out running the Father and Son weekend.  We had a great time, and it was actually somewhat relaxing.

By the time we got home Sunday afternoon, it was looking pretty definite that school would be cancelled yet again, and sure enough at 4:45 this morning my phone rings to tell me there is no school.  So I spent the day on two major projects.  The first was to get seating plans and proctoring assignments put together for the State Math Meet, and the second was to print over 550 name tags for the Home School convention this coming weekend.  I have completed the printing (although we had to go to C-Prompt to finish), and I made good progress on the State Meet stuff, although there is a lot more to do.

Because of the weather ( it was very icy up here today), and because the ISP for the store had an outage all day, we did not open C-Prompt at all.  Hopefully no one came in looking for us!

The real down side of today was when David came inside and told us there was a window broken in the Suburban.  It turns out that a chunk of ice had fallen off the roof, slid down the mud room roof, and smashed right through the drivers window in the Suburban and landed on the passenger floor.  The window is completely gone (actually, it is in hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces).  We are getting a used window at a junk yard tomorrow for $75.00, and Rob will help us get it installed.

This week is going to be crazy as well.  Tuesday after school I have math team practice, then come home for supper and Brigade at the church building.  Wednesday we have a math meet and are leaving school at 11:45 and won’t get home until probably 8:00.  Kathy, Annie, David, and Elias are going from the math meet in Augusta to Rockland for the Home School convention, where they will be until Saturday evening.  That leaves Matthias and Peter and I with one vehicle to get around in, and on Friday I have to leave school a little early to go the Augusta for a math league board meeting.

Boy – just writing about all these things is tiring me out.  I think I’ll head to bed early tonight. . ..

School vacation does not generally mean vacation, unfortunately.  Yesterday at church, one man said he thought vacation for me meant just go work another job.  However, I DID sleep in today until almost 7:00, and am having a relaxing morning, since the store is not open. (Although I just got an e-mail from someone wondering if we open and if he could drop off his laptop today.  I replied and told him that if necessary I could meet him there this morning.  I guess what they way is true – if you own your own business, you only have to work half time.  It’s up to you which 12 hours of the day you choose to work.)

This afternoon we’re taking the boys from the Brigade group at church on an overnight.  We’re going to a friend’s camp in N. Anson this afternoon, where we will have a fun time in the snow, playing games, cooking supper over an open fire, and playing board games.  The cabin has a wood stove for heat, but no running water.  (Actually, there is running water – you can run up the hill to get it!)  Jeremy will come late afternoon and do some winter survival activities with the boys.  After breakfast in the morning we will clean up and get the boys home by lunch.

The rest of the week is somewhat unscheduled except for Thursday afternoon into Friday.  Friday morning I have to be in Portland at the Civic Center to meet with their tech guy about setting up computers to connect to their display screens during the Maine State Math Meet in April for our scoring system.  We will likely head that direction Thursday afternoon, and may schedule some other things on this trip.

Of course, if this is like any other vacation, I will fill it up with plenty of other things to do.  I need to do some projects around the house.  I need to get the taxes at C-Prompt done so that I can do my home taxes.  I need to do some paperwork for the State Math Meet.  I need to grade a few papers in my briefcase.  Somehow, I think I’ll manage to have a hectic week!.

Normally, my day begins about 5:00 am when my alarm goes off.  This morning, I managed to wake up at 4:30 am, primarily due to the fact that Kathy had “stolen” the covers. (Not really, but it’s fun to blame her!).  So, I was up for the day at 4:30.  By 7:00 I was heading out the door to school.  After school, Kathy picked me up so we could go to Farmington to do about 5 different quick errands, and then we came back to New Vineyard to C-Prompt, where I had to get a customer’s laptop ready to ship out.

We then made it up to church in time for the 5:30 spaghetti dinner and the 6:30 Matthew Video Bible Study, before finally getting home again about 7:15.

Now that I look at my day, I realize why I’m exhausted!  It’s (hopefully) an early bed tonight so I can get caught up on some sleep!.

I’ve got to do a better job of taking time off.  I think God was very specific in his commands to work 6 days out of the week, and rest on the seventh.  Unfortunately, like most people I know, I have a tendency to fill my schedule 7 days a week.

Take today, for example.  I actually managed to sleep in until quarter of 6.  Then I was up for the day, working on various things until time to head to church for our 9:00 am Family Bible Study.  Following that was our 10:00 am Morning Service, where we are slowly working through the book of Galatians.  I say slowly, because we spent 3 weeks discussing and studying the first 10 verses.  Today we finally got past those 10 verses, and had a great conversation about the rest of the first chapter.

After lunch, Kathy and I went down to C-Prompt, where I wanted to work through our business taxes for 2010.   Unfortunately, I discovered I have a lot more work to do in Quickbooks before I can really go at the taxes.  Since I can log in over the internet to the store, I came home with the paperwork I needed, intending to work on that this afternoon.

However, instead I worked on getting Kathy’s new website set up for her, and then I played around with setting up my new website, experimenting with a couple of different templates.  The bottom line is that now it is about 7:30, and it will soon be time for me to think about heading to bed, to get ready for the new week.

I hope eventually I will learn to keep one day a week a lot less scheduled and take a day of REST!.