Dude, call me arrogant, but I cannot already *help* but be extremely proud in my CRE* decision for the 6 positions out of the 23 applications.
a) The minute my kids showed up all on time (the majority early) for the parent's meeting.. I knew they rocked.
The Opening Day tells everything about your CRE* because it mostly consists of Team Building games..
b) The lady who we hire to come work with the kids asked me, while they were in the midst of doing a project:
"Did you interview these kids?.."
"You have a *really* great CRE* here, in comparison to the others I've worked with.. you can just tell that they're at a different level - more education, etc. .. You're lucky because you won't have the initial problems that other groups have.. you'll still have your own things that you have to workout as a group, but not nearly the initial problems.... .. it's good because you have *such* an opportunity to make something really great here.."
That says a lot because this lady's *job* is to work with/observe different groups and how they work together... so it was a really exciting comment for her to make to me! I've been to *all* of the other different CRE's* opening days, and this lady was definitely *talking* to my kids differently, and said outloud, "aw I want to be on your CRE* 'Lin'.." All of my kids answer her when she asks a question.. when she says, "How could we have done this differently?" "What didn't work?" .. etc.. They ALL chime in and give their suggestions.. which I have NEVER seen with any of these groups before! Haha.. one kid was constantly raising his hand to give advice, someone told me he would be a "problem child", but he definitely adds something special to the group.. he's one of those people where the group wouldn't be the same without him - comic-relief and still *very* motivated. Today we were discussing what the words "Always, Seldom, Never".. meant. and for "Always" he said, "110%!!" .. haha... which apparently no one has ever said before, and good answer! ... something my piano teacher would always say.. "You should never be working at 100%, but a minimum of 110% before competition/exam."
c) After my opening day, my supervisor came up to me and said,
"I think you're winning for the best CRE* this year, even over ___, so-far!.."
____ is the person my supervisor told me the other day, "has the best CRE* every summer" (the girl who has been working as a CRE* leader for 3-4 years).
So that all said, I think it already goes to say a lot!
Everyone sees something special in my group - they are respectful, responsible, *excited*, and seemingly work great together as a team.
It should be interesting to see how these next 4 weeks go. Tomorrow we will officially start *working* on the projects I have setup for them! The Board of Supervisor for our district came and spoke to them today (afterall they're funding this program), and he said that he would really "love to show us some hidden trails" which apparently have a lot of Indian history. The director for the --entire-- program (not my supervisor) was allllll over that (haha, anything that involves a BOS they normally are), so now I will have to modify my work schedule a bit, but it should be ok... and of course they are now working on getting a large amount of media coverage to my site that day.. anything where a BOS is actively involved in actually *working with* the CRE* is HIGHLY sought after... because, obviously.. that leads to more outside-funding.
oh.. and after Opening Day most of the parents came and joined us for lunch (something we encourage), which again I haven't seen actually happen before!
It's especially exciting for me because I didn't realize this is only the 2nd year that they've offered the program in this district. Apparently last year was a disastor, and it is my goal this year to completely turn-around the program and make it shine in this area. The BOS is also new this year, so they especially want him to see that it's a good program to have in his area.
I literally pour my heart and soul (cheezy, but true) into my job right now. I work way over normal hours (a lot of comptime adding up), and I also strive to be working at 110% every day. I've entirely changed my sleep schedule, and for those who know me, that goes to say a looot! I don't think I've gone to bed before 12 am since 7th grade, but these days, I usually go to bed around 10:30-11:00 pm. In fact, today I got home and took a nap for 2 hrs.. lol, and I still plan to go to bed at around 11 pm tonight. I also make sure that I arrive to work on time (if not early). It's something that I've really struggled with doing, in all of my jobs, in the past... but this summer I make sure my butt is AT wherever I need to be when I say I'll be there.
I've asked myself why I work so hard, but the truth is.. I really just love what I'm doing right now. I come home sooo exhausted, and usually I'm kind of perturbed when I come home feeling like that.. but when I get home now, all I want to do is share with my family what's happening in my job.. and then go to bed, lol. Honestly I'm just so excited about everything. Sometimes I wonder if my life is really something like Vanilla Sky, where he's stuck in a lucid dream by his creation in a different life (not sure that sentence makes sense). Because I honestly feel that I often create my own reality.
I went to Italy initially feeling like it wouldn't be good, for some reason, and while it was a great experience.. there were a lot of things that really bothered me while overseas. I was never completely -happy- at any one point. In fact I was often uncomfortable/lonely, despite a lot of new friends being made (who I'm grateful to now know today).
I went to DC feeling really excited about it, and it did turn out to be one of the most fantastic decisions of my life.
I walked into this job feeling *really* excited about it, and so-far my expectations have been met 10-fold. I'm learning so much, and I've *really* been given the freedom to make this the best project that I can.. and there's not a minute of the day that I'm not in the process of making everyone happy and making things run smoothly.
Okok I'm done here! ;)