It’s easy not to care about strangers’ opinions, but it’s much harder to disregard the feelings of those surrounding you – whether the matter is significant or not.
For example, I couldn’t care less whether I am in five hundred photos this summer or just five. (And as you can tell from this blog, I’m not particularly mindful of / interested in taking photos.) Nevertheless, it feels good to be asked to be in a photo or for someone to save me a seat at a meal.
Similarly, when rooming next to a couple of campers last week, I overheard a lot of disparaging comments about staff and fellow trip members. I eventually went over to their room to let them know that I could hear everything they were saying.
One of them came over to me a couple of days ago to apologize for the comments that they made about me. Ironically, I hadn’t heard them saying anything about me so this trip member was offering up new information. It wasn’t anything tragic (they were mocking me for being cheery/enthusiastic at the beginning of the trip and later realized that I was ‘chill’), but it still bugged me a little that they were ribbing on me.
I am loving this experience, but the worst part of the job is being the heavy. Most recently, a boy was caught in a girl’s room – a strict violation of the company’s policy that we had reviewed in detail that morning. I had no choice but to fill out a report, but did so as leniently as possible, detailing extenuating circumstances and recommending a warning instead of sending the kid home.
The office heeded my recommendation and the kid will be able to stay with our trip for the next three weeks. I saved his butt and did everything I could for him, yet he now hates me as do a group of the other kids – because I had to enforce the rules.
Thankfully I have a great support staff and am getting a third trip leader on board today, but I’ve realized that individuals’ opinions count a lot more than I thought they did – particularly in the absence of friends and family when they are almost all that you have for a full month.
posted by amybetho