Before venturing into Part 2, make sure you’ve read Part 1 – The Prologue.
Every two years, approximately 1500 girls from 9-17 and 500 adults migrate from throughout California’s central coast region to participate in an enormous and epic event called Kaleidoscope.
The event is run by approximately 30 separate, yet equally important people. One is myself, the Entertainment Coordinator. This is my story.
Monday, April 22
I woke with the oncoming signs of a cold, my throat sore, my head beginning to throb. However, especially this week, I have no time to be sick. After a stern lecture to my body about poor timing in choosing when to be sick, I began a regimen of vitamin C and multi-vitamins.
However, I make my commute to work and take comfort in knowing that almost everything is in place for the Kaleidoscope weekend. My friends doing the entertainment have confirmed, I’ve contacted all of the troops doing skits, and I just need to set a schedule.
I took a quick break at work and checked my e-mail. I saw an e-mail from my entertainment group, and opened it, excited for a final confirmation.
Instead, it contains a sincere apology.
They must cancel at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.
I sat in stunned silence.
It was not anger that filled me, because I understand that life happens.
Instead, it is a slowly rising tide of panic.
Fortunately, due to my many summers working at camp, especially as an administrator, and my years working in high schools, I know how to glide along the surface of panic. There, I can keep my head clear and find a solution.
I have four days until the event to replace their guitar-playing-camp-singing talent.
Four days will have to be enough.
Still forming a plan, I send out a general plea for help on Facebook, along with several private messages to friends. All have prior engagements, but wish me luck.
My friend Braden suggested talking to a family friend named Chris. Chris is one of the nicest men in the universe, who also plays the fiddle and guitar, knows 1,001 Boy Scout camp songs, and has a great singing voice.
It wasn’t till Tuesday night that I was able to call, but on the other end of the phone I got a miraculous “Yes,” followed by some offerings of skits.
The Saturday Evening Program still needed to be fully planned, but it’s looking much brighter than the day before.
Tuesday and Wednesday evening are spent packing my own things, squaring away some final steps. Tuesday night, I worked on making pre-recorded announcements about picking up trash and making sure everyone can see. I spent about 30 minutes on this, only to discover my laptop had recorded nothing.
Thursday, April 25
With my own clothing packed and ready, I pulled together the last announcements. Mom and I printed out the Wanted posters for all the committee members – though, we realized later we forgot Mom’s – and she was the Event Director. We stayed up till 11:30 pm helping each other pack, finish laundry, and gather everything.
Then, we went to bed.
A loud banging sound came from downstairs, followed by Dad shouting for help.
We come downstairs.
He is lying on the floor, holding his bloody face, blood sprayed out on the floor.
Turns out he slipped and fell, hitting his eye and nose on the corner of a wood chair.
My brother Michael, sister Natalie, and I cleaned him up as best we can, looking at the cuts across his nose and eyelid. We debated taking him to the emergency room for stitches. His eye was already swelling.
Mom comes downstairs and works her motherly magic to get a butterfly band-aid on Dad. We figured the hospital was tired of seeing him. With Dad cleaned up and bandaged, we head to bed for the final time near 1:00 AM.
Friday, April 26 – The Day of the Event
We wake, eat breakfast, and pack both the van and my Honda Fit. I leave for work at 8:15 – typically, when driving, I try to leave no later than 8 due to potential traffic.
Work was busy, but ran smoothly. For lunch, we went out for a birthday-hello-former-co-worker party. I had macaroni and cheese with fries cooked in duck fat.
Not healthy, but I was tired, and knew the following three days would be non-stop epic. It was delicious and satisfying. (I did have assistance eating all of the fries.)
I arrived at the camp, 1 hour before the massive influx of troops began.
I dropped off the various items packed in my car, and then assisted my sister Alexis in setting up the tent for my parents and myself. We were putting air in Dad’s air mattress, only to discover the valve was missing. We attempted to close it with duct tape, but knew this would not even last the night.
We debated a solution.
I went to the information booth to get a radio to contact of Mom to ask if I should go down the mountain to the nearest K-mart – about a 20 minute one-way trip. I helped set-up as I waited to hear back.
Then, I saw her drive by on one of the gators. I ran after her, shouting her name every few steps.
This appeared a more effective paging system than the radio.
I reached her, we discussed the problem, and then Alexis and I drove back down the winding hill to K-mart, acquired an air mattress – complete with a valve – and then drove back up the hill, and arrived back at the camp site at the same time as the first set of incoming troops.
Fortunately, I had the foresight to change into my official Committee t-shirt, which worked as a ‘front-of-the-really-long-line pass’. I was waved through, and heckled, on my way back in.
After the last few hours of setting up camp, assisting with moving things, and answering questions, I sit down to a meal of grilled tri-tip, a baked potato and a green salad.
Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds.
During dinner, I sit down with fellow committee member, and veteran camp counselor, Tiffany, my eldest sister Julia, and Cinder, an experienced Girl Scout who knows 1,001 Girl Scout camp songs.
We begin to plan out the program as I attempt to eat. Every 5-10 minutes, I am interrupted. The interruptions mostly consist of troops who are doing skits or flag ceremonies checking in and verifying information, which is important. Each is polite, friendly, and excited. The verve of excitement fills the air as the site fills with girls and troops and everyone prepares for Saturday.
While still planning the program, I have to pause for half-an-hour to set-up the Friday Night Movie – Fieval Goes West. Other members of the committee put up the screen for us, and then set up the cord. While their help is awesome and amazing, when I brought over the projector, speaker, and DVD player, the last cord had one outlet, instead of the three-outlet cord I had brought.
After some searching, I found the right cord, and attached it to the end. Then, I plugged in all three devices. However, it became a game of one being plugged in, and another falling out of the plug. Meanwhile, Julia is using her super-awesome-camp-counselor-skills to entertain the gathering crowd who wants to watch the movie. Also, I have a few people come to me and ask questions as I’m working on getting the movie started.
Finally, everything was plugged in, the projector set in place, the speaker turned on, and the DVD played.
As I’m riding a gator back to where we are meeting, a pair of troop leaders talk to me, explaining that they had tried to contact me regarding their troops auditioning over the last few months, but hadn’t heard anything. We figure out their e-mail went to my SPAM folder. In fairness, I give them the last minute chance to audition – something I promised I wouldn’t do.
Tiffany, Cinder, Julia, and I re-convene inside the Trading Post, where all 2,000 hamburger buns have been placed for safe-keeping.
Then, we see a mouse run across the rafters.
We then spend the next 10 minutes moving the hamburger buns to the completely solid and safe storage unit.
As we re-reconvene, the auditioning troop arrive, and were fantastic.
This is how they dressed:
The troop was added into the show order, and we re-re-re-convened.
Then, Michael and Natalie came in. Michael did his best “I’m trying to be your obnoxious brother efforts,” and I told him, “I’ve been working on this for the last 2 hours, and have been interrupted a bajillion times, so go away.”
Luckily, while he has excellent obnoxious brother skills, he also has excellent, “I should stop now,” skills, and worked on his own things.
Finally, at about 9:30 PM, we had an outline of the show, the skits, the songs, and the awesome.
I went to bed around 10, slept a while, and then woke at 1 AM with the ‘I’m warm in my bed, and I have to put on my shoes to go use the porta-potty, but I really do need to go to the bathroom,’ dilemma.
So, I was awake when Mom was finally coming to bed, after waiting for the last few troops to finally come in and set-up. These troops came from nearly 8 hours away just for the event and had driven all day.
I heard her coming in, then she fell tripped on the tent door, and onto her knee.
I helped her up, assisted her with gathering her pajamas, and helped her take off her socks. She went to bed with a bruised knee, I used the porta-potty, and then returned and settled into bed.
Friday night ended with the illusory peace of mind that everything was ready for the next day.
At approximately 3 PM the next day, we realized there was something majorly wrong.
Tune in later for Part 3 – The Two Power (Sources).
Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of our wanted posters:
What would be your bandit name, and what would you be wanted for?