I chaperoned/was a counselor again this year. My friend Josh and we counselors together!
Had to be up deathly early. Got to the bus around 7:50, greeted parents that were there and the bus driver. All the parents I spoke with were sweethearts. Got on the bus and did a head count, no one was missing(thank god), we got moving. I collected peoples permission slips and off we went! The kids were pretty good, they played truth or dare and socialized and seemed to have a good time. We stopped in Augusta to pick up two kids and left on time to the final stop in Hampton to pick up one final group of kids. Their chaperone was my friends mom so I caught up with her for a while before I just started reading and stuff. We showed up at UMM around 12:30 and met with everyone and did more socializing and checked in. Things were hectic and stuff, but it wasn’t super bad. One of my kids had a severe panic attack during the talent show and we had to go to the hospital with her for a few hours, and she wanted to leave afterwards, but her mother wouldn’t come pick her up or meet us half way or anything, so she had to stay(she told me yesterday that she was glad she stayed) There was an issue with three kids and the showers but we dealt with it and forgot about it.
So this day was insane. We woke up early and were off for the entire day. Panels, food, groups. Dr Wayne Maines spoke with us about his daughter and the battle they fought. I cried(I cried last year too) and shook his hand and chatted with him a bit afterwards. Then we brought the kids over for ‘support groups’, where everyone split into groups that matched their identities(Gay, lesbian, trans, gnc, etc). I went into the gnc group(run by the wonderful sugarpunkprince), and that was interesting. The other person who was helping them run it was really fucking weird and like “hur dur don’t hate on cis people omg” so that was dumb as fuck. But after that we went to lunch and then brought the kids back for panels. I told the Gorham kids that they had to go to at least two panels, but they didn’t need to do all of them(I did the same thing last year). They told me they would so I was cool with it all and let them do as the pleased. One of the kids in my group(Not Gorham, I had a group of five kids from another school who was mainly with Josh but we were a team so they were mine too) kept running off without telling us. Josh broke down crying. One of the other kids in the group kept trying to tattle on the other kids all weekend and then would tell everyone bullshit about what happened before finding out what had REALLY gone down. But anyway, fast forward to the ball. The kids all got ready together and seemed to have a lot of fun with that, and helped each other a lot which was super cute. We relaxed around the dorms and got ready before getting to the bus to head over to the dance. The kids were great, one was kinda weird and kept staring at me while dancing with people so that was awkward. I made it about 2 hours in before having a panic attack and needing to leave for a while. One of the students from UMM took me to a gas station to get sugar and snacks and to just calm down, and it helped a little. Then I went back and took pictures with a few of my friends from the weekend(they get a photographer for the dance, so you can just go take pictures with friends), before I went across the street to hang out with the wonderfully fantastic Rozz (sugarpunkprince) in their hotel room with a few of their friends. They were all super cool and friendly and it was so much fun. Rozz brought me back over in their car and we smooched and stuff so that was da best. I went and collected my kids and brought them to the bus and we all chatted and laughed and went back to the dorms and relaxed. There was some college kid who was setting off fire crackers around 12:30/1 in the morning while we were all laughing and hanging out so we had an emergency meeting(in my room) with the chaperones and counselors to talk about the possibility of the fire alarm going off. It never did thankfully. I went and gave a final knock down the hall to get everyone in their rooms at 1:25 and everyone listened and went to bed and then my kids and i went to bed and it was nice. We all were out cold.
The final day was nice and relaxing. We all went and ate some simple breakfast before saying our good byes and getting onto the bus to head back down. It was relaxing and fun on the way down. I chatted with Kai(My friends mom who was a chaperone)’s kids. They were all adorable queer kids who I wish I’d talked to more!
The bus ride down was long and tiring, and so was the entire weekend. Everyone asked me if I was going to come again next year, because I had seemed so stressed. I simply grinned and nodded. No matter how much stress this causes me(which it doesn’t cause more then running any event does). This event is an incredible event that helps so many kids. Last year and this year I had kids come out to me as trans*. They’ve told me how thankful they are to have people who know what they’re going through. And if I can help make kids in high school feel safe enough to be themselves, I want to help them.
So yes, of course I’ll be back next year.
(Photo credit to my-chemical-assbutts)