Camp Nurse Conference

So…buoyed by the enticing thoughts of free babysitting, I signed on the dotted line. I was to be the nurse for a 2 week boy session. 80 male campers from the age of 8-14 would be on camp for 14 days. I would be responsible for handing out medications and responding to “little emergencies”. What could possibly go wrong with 80 boys over 14 days?!

In preparation for this, the camp sent me to a camp nurses conference. It was early April when I went to a local YMCA and met up with 60 other newbie camp nurses.  Shirley was running the show. She had been a camp nurse at Camp Chicadee for 20 years. This babe was hard core. About 55, Shirley sported a vest embellished with kitties (pretty certain it was home made, ya, it was that nice) and a hat with various fishing lures dangling from it.  After introducing herself she began singing the Camp Chicadee song, including hand motions. If that is not a great way to start off a conference, I don’t know what is?! After I closed my gaping mouth, I looked around to see if anyone else thought that this was as lame as I did. Apparently not. All the participants were watching in complete rapture. Some had even clapped to the beat. This day was gonna be awesome!

The day was actually kinda helpful. We covered some basic first aid as a refresher. Discussed allergies and how to handle an epi pen. We discussed campers getting their first menstrual period at camp and how to handle that (not gonna be a issue during boy camp, but seriously, what are the odds of that?). We covered homesickness and strategies to handle that too. But, probably the most vivid thing I remember is when Shirley explained her first trip to camp. She had brought up a bag full of yarn to make 2 sweaters and 3 Harlequins to read. When her husband had come up from the city to visit her during the weekend halfway point she had him take back her bag full of yarn and her 3 Harlequins. 

“This will be no vacation ladies. Do not be mistaken! Camp nursing is hard work!” 

With that, I pretty much broke out into a cold sweat.

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