Caring About Other’s Opinions

6 07 2010

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

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4 responses

6 07 2010
j.opps

hey ames!
that does suck, but don’t be too discouraged – in the middle of my trip, one of the leaders had to bust three kids for smoking/drinking and one of the girls claimed she hadn’t done anything (which wasn’t true) so it became a whole he said she said dramatic thing, but it blew over after a few days.
also, maybe sit the kid down and explain to the boy that you really had to do something about it considering that you just prohibited it, but that you hope it doesn’t impact your relationship with him over the course of the rest of the trip, that way it’s clearer to him that at least from your perspective, he doesn’t have a target on his back

7 07 2010
The Wandering Cartographer

I used to be gross to happy, cheerful people all the time. It was because I was jealous. I’m a lot more content now that I have acknowledged that. xoxox

19 07 2010
kayakdov

That’s ridiculous. Your the least cheery enthusiastic person I know. … OK, I take that back. You’re the most cheery and enthusiastic person I know. But that’s part of what makes you great. You being offended by “cheery” and “enthusiastic” would be like me being offended by “damn good looking”.
I couldn’t imagine anybody more qualified to do your job then you, so don’t let anything get you down.

26 07 2010
amybetho

I returned from Costa Rica just yesterday and running the summer camp was definitely a month of ups and downs. I hope to post about some of the highlights and lowlights of the trip in the coming weeks.

But meanwhile it was great to hear from each of you, so thanks for the support! 🙂

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