I spent my weekend at the Ignite Summit, a fantastic summer event at work where we take some of the incoming freshmen class into the woods for a weekend and put them through some teambuilding, some fun, some of both (this, for example:
is a minefield made of rubber pigs and softballs; it is both amusing and, in the right context, completely terrifying),
some leadership development, some tradition building, and some hardcore bonding. This is the first year I've been invited to help facilitate, and this was the best weekend I've had in a really long time.
I don't want to post too much about the summit itself for two reasons:
1) What happens at summit stays at summit. There is a bond of trust and shared experience, and while I can say that I had a lot of fun and the best team ever:
(one of whom is not pictured because she's holding my camera to take that picture) there are also a lot of things that are only for us. I laughed a lot, I cried a little (which was kind of horrible because it made some bug spray get into my eye and that hurt A LOT), and I hope I get asked back next year.
2) There's a second summit in August for an entirely different group of freshmen, and just in case someone googles the summit I want them to still be surprised rather than them seeing a picture of all of us playing "Ride the Pony" or working on the challenge course. I won't be at the August summit because it's right before the buildings open, and I'm usually pretty busy then.
Given that, here are some random photos. I didn't take very many pictures this weekend, anyway, because I was busy participating, but I did take advantage of our afternoon free time to shoot the windmill and fire engine on the property.
I also took this one of people learning to line dance at the hoedown on Saturday night:
Since I don't want to talk about the summit activities themselves, I'll instead share a tale of terror from the camp bathrooms.
The retreat center is pretty far out in the country; so far out that there is no cell phone service. You know that scene in "Friday the 13th" or "Cabin Fever" or "Wrong Turn" or any horror movie made post-1990 or so where all the characters hold up their phones and complain about getting no service and the viewing audience always accepts it as a suspension-of-disbelief genre conceit, because we know that the movie would actually be over in about twenty minutes if they could call someone? That actually happens. Today on the ride back, there were multiple beeps and dings in the van when we crossed a magical line and everyone's phone suddenly started working again.
I bring that up because I'm trying to say that the facilities are a little rustic. This, for example, is where I slept:
You can't see it in that picture, but that is a cabin for eight with one shower, one toilet, and no latch on the plywood bathroom door. It was kind of full of spiders and the floor was kind of dirty and the tub kind of had a fine layer of topsoil in the bottom that didn't wash out, ever, but at least we had a bathroom, and at least it was attached to our cabin and not in another building.
Anyway, Saturday night I was walking back up to our cabin and was intercepted by Richie and Mark, two of my cabin mates.
"There's a dead mouse in the toilet."
"There's a dead, drowned mouse in the toilet."
I've traveled all over the North American continent. I've been to 40 or so states (I've lost track) and most of the Canadian provinces. I've gone to the bathroom in some really, really sketchy places. When we lived in Alaska, many of the places we stopped had outhouses, and still, I don't remember ever seeing a dead mammal in any of them.
"It's, like, floating with its legs up and stuff," Richie said, demonstrating.
"Let me get my camera!"
Of course, that still left us with the question of what to do with it.
"Let's just flush it," Mark suggested.
"What if it gets stuck?" I countered. "What if it stops up the toilet?"
"It won't get stuck," Richie asserted, based on zero evidence.
"I'm gonna flush it!" Mark announced, heading into the bathroom. A moment later, we heard a flush. "It went down."
And I didn't go back in the bathroom again all weekend.