Monday, August 13, 2012

From the Outside Looking In, You Can't Understand It...

Camp Mather
Fish Camp 2012, Session B
Texas A&M University

Back in December, I got an email informing me that I had been selected as a Namesake for Fish Camp 2012.  For those of you outside the Aggie Family, Fish Camp is a four-day baptism into all things Aggie for our incoming freshmen; out of 8100+ in the class, approximately 6500 will attend.  Here in Aggieland, we affectionately refer to our freshmen as "fish", so, Fish Camp.

Namesakes are nominated by students to serve as a name for a particular color session of camp, as well as a resource and mentor for two co-chairs, twenty-four counselors, and 125-150 freshmen.  It is a huge honor to be selected- there are several hundred nominees and forty are chosen each year.  It has long been a heart's desire of mine to be a namesake, and this year two of my students made it happen.  They  had been counselors for two years, and this year each of them were named co-chairs, and they nominated me.

At first I thought it was not real- someone was playing a prank on me.  But it was true!  I was in tears as I called Thomas.  So exciting!  And it got better.  In January, I met my co-chairs- two amazing Aggies that were dedicated to our camp and our future fish.  Michelle and Jason read thousands of applications (literally- I'm not exaggerating) and spent countless hours choosing the right students to be counselors for Camp Mather, in addition to being generally amazing.

March rolled around, and with it came "Rev (Revelation) Night."  All the chosen counselors (twenty-four per camp for forty camps) showed up, all dressed up like it was Halloween, ready to meet each other, Michelle, Jason, and me.  Not intimidating at all.  But it went swimmingly and I was introduced that night to who I like to call, "The Chosen Ones."  All of my co-chairs' hard work paid off, as we were blessed with the best, most amazing, cream-of-the-crop students as our counselors.

Over the rest of the school semester and the summer, they got to know each other- and me.  Many of them had been counselors the previous year or two, and I was a little nervous about being the "old person" in the group and spoiling all the fun.  I needn't have worried- they welcomed me with open arms, made me feel included and part of the family- not so much in a motherly way, but as a fun older sister.  They were genuinely interested in hearing my "back in Old Army days" stories about my college years and my own Fish Camp experiences.  And they thought I was funny.  We spent so much time together, just hanging out, bonding.  Watching them grow together and prepare for our fish, working so hard to make camp an amazing experience, has made me proud as any parent.  I couldn't have asked for better kids to represent me, my name, and my legacy (small as it is) at my beloved alma mater.  I didn't think it could get any better.

Then we went to camp.

To be continued...