These last few days have been really relaxed punctuated by an hour every now and then running around with my head cut off. The Chaplains, and support staff in general, really don't have a whole lot to do right now. We sit around talking to each other while the "traditional" staff is in construction training and the like, while we could sit in on these sessions it seems best we not. The Chaplains are never going to be asked to step in and supervise construction and they Admin team seems to want to firmly define our role as one of spiritual support and not allow us the temptation of being distracted by construction. This comes from hiring past summer staffers to be Chaplains, as opposed to seminary students. Scott, Jeremy and I don't have any ASP or construction background so we have to focus on the spiritual well being of the staff. In all honesty, that is completely fine with us.
It does lead to a lot of during the day down time. For the last few days we were planning a worship service and a session on the summers theme. But we did the theme session yesterday and the worship service today. Both went really well, I was surprised at how well the Worship service came together. I picked the songs based on what the staff already knew and songs that would be easy to learn and only glanced at content, but they lined up perfectly as to where they fell in the readings and in relationship to Scott's sermon.
But now that 2/3 of our timed responsibilities are done we don't have anything to plan till next Saturday, so we nap and surf the internet and wait for the staff to have free time so we can talk with them. All in all its been really fun.
A couple days ago the Chaplains got bored so we went into the bustling metropolis of Jonesville, Va for lunch... only to find out Jonesville has .5 restaurants. This number includes 2 gas station delis and a subway attached to a gas station. We wound up driving out a little ways to the tiniest pizza buffet ever. But in between we did discover that Jonesville has 5 salons. I think that salons are the only business that can survive with out incorporating something else into it. Most gas stations double as delis or coffee shops. One called Papa Bear's is a Gas Station, Pizza Parlor, Deli, and Video Rental Shop, but it has a cool name, so redemption points there.
The First Years and Returning Staff don't know what counties they will be in yet. The Center Directors just found out their staffs last night, so they have been going around messing with the rest of the staff making jokes like "man it will be so great to have a guitar player on my staff" or "with you and me we will have the prettiest staff" and the like. Its interesting, There is a lot of importance placed on county staffs, because that is who they will work with, so everyone is really excited. Its like waiting for Support at Warren Willis to come check off your cabin and tell you what team you are on... only this team is all summer and Support doesn't (usually) draw out the tension (for long). Its a ASP culture thing. The rest of staff finds out where they will be serving tonight at some big reveal.... mostly its also a cook out and I am excited about the food, but I can see the excitement in everyone about finding out staffs. After they find out where they will be training becomes more staff centric and more about their roles at their sites.
I have known my counties since before I got here. Then I got here and Jeremy asked if he and I could switch so he can be closer to home and as such his wife, I was more than happy to do so... so now My counties are all in Kentucky and one Virginia. I will be serving the staffs in Breathitt, Clay, Magoffin, Knott, Perry: Chaivs, Leslie, Knox (KY), Harlan, and Perry: Jeff in Kentucky and Lee: Keoke in Virginia. If you want to look it up Harlan county has several songs about it including the oft covered "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive." Apparently Harlan earned its nickname Bloody Harlan County thanks to a series of Coal strike/ riots in the 20's and 70's. It may be my best bet to find moonshine.
I have been given an unofficial list of topics not to broach with locals, it includes coal and timber. I don't want to see what happens if I talk about this with the wrong person. I assume Obama-care, and racial diversity are also topics to skillfully dance around.
All in all its shaping up to be an awesome summer.