Bonclarken & Baby Dinosaurs

Tomorrow is my last day working at Bonclarken for the summer.

If you do not know what Bonclarken is, then you are probably not a member of an ARP church. (Donโ€™t worry, I think about less than 1/3 of the students at Erskine are members!) Bonclarken Conference Center is the conference center for the ARP Denomination located in East Flat Rock, NC. ARP churches and non ARP churches alike often schedule week-long or weekend retreats for relaxation and restoration in the Blue Ridge Mountains; Bonclarken hosts hundreds of groups and churches every year.

Every summer about 30 students from Erskine go up to Bonclarken as members of the summer staff, working full-time as a member of one of the departments: kitchen staff, recreation staff, housekeeping, guest services, or in the front office. Students live in buildings that are a lot like dorms, with bunk beds and roommates. When they are off work they all hang out in the lobby and do a lot of late night random things together like any good group of college students would!

This summer has been my second summer working in the front office at Bonclarken, and I must admit it has been rather fun! Another girl, Amanda, who will also be a senior this year at Erskine, has worked with me in the front office this year. We work hard greeting guests, answering the phone, and organizing mounds of documents but we also like to have a little fun when we are not working quite so hard!

One of my favorite things in the entire world is a baby dinosaur. You may have noticed that there are not too many of those walking around these days (something about a volcano or a meteor, who knows??) so I cannot have one as a pet! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I try to make up for this rather sad fact by pretending that I am a baby dinosaur, and so are all of my friends. My coworkers at Bonclarken have also been rather sympathetic to my cause by giving me gifts of stuffed baby dinosaurs, water baby dinosaurs, and this week a set of plastic baby dinosaurs.

A stuffed Baby Dinosaur from Betty, her name is Desdemona :)

A stuffed Baby Dinosaur from Betty, her name is Desdemona ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, since my plastic baby dinosaurs were given to me by Betty (one of the sweetest people ever who works in the front office), I had to bring them to the office to play with them. This was meant to show her that I really liked her gift: everyone knows that if someone gives you a set of plastic baby dinosaurs you have to let them see you playing with them! DUH! So I brought them to the office and then hid them all over my bossโ€™ office! Good thing Lynn has a sense of humor! When I got back from lunch they were hidden all over my desk for me to find! ๐Ÿ™‚ The worst part about this story is everyone found all of the plastic baby dinosaurs in about five minutes, except for me who took twenty-five minutes to find them!

I feel like any workplace can be improved by some baby dinosaurs!

I feel like any workplace can be improved with some baby dinosaurs!

The funniest day was when one of my coworkers, Sheri, gave me some of the baby dinosaurs made of sponges. They were the kind that comes looking like little pills where you stick them in water and watch them grow. It is supposed to take about 4 hours for the baby dinosaurs to grow into big sized dinos that you can play with!

Well, let me tell you, my baby dinosaurs were having some trouble. It took them about an entire week to mature to full size! I put them in see through plastic cups in the center of the office during the week and encouraged all of the senior staff here to check on them as they passed through the office. They were like our little office pets, everyone who walked through the office stopped to give them a peak! And by the end of the week they were fully grown! ๐Ÿ™‚

I was very excited, so my boss decided to pull a prank on me! She staged an escape for the baby dinosaurs making it looked they had escaped from their watery cages!! There were little water footprints walking away from the cups that led to the side of the filing cabinet, but after that there were no more clues! I had to track them down and see where she had hidden them! The whole thing was super hilarious and super fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

We are happy to be working in the office! :)

We are happy to be working in the office! ๐Ÿ™‚

If all of this sounds a little strange to you, if you are thinking that the office staff at Bonclarken sounds a little crazy to you, let me encourage you to direct your accusing thoughts towards the guest services staff. When they were bored this summer they all decided to capture a beetle/cockroach/bug thing and tied it to the leash. They then took turns taking the poor little thing on walks! (Leading me to come to grips with the fact that I do really work with a bunch of weirdos!)

But no one ever claimed that Erskine students are normal!

Summertime = Mountains

For me, the summer is about to begin for real.ย  Until this point, I have been living at home and bound by few responsibilities, but this afternoon I drove four hours up to my summer home-away-from-home: Bonclarken.

Prior to going to Erskine, I had never heard of this wonderful little place up in the mountains.ย  Prior to working here, I had only visited twice, for the winter retreat that Erskine has organized for the past few years in January.ย  However, after working and living here all last summer, I have come to love Bonclarken dearly.

I work in the office up here, but there is a whole group of us โ€“ mostly college students โ€“ who stay every year for the summer and work.ย  There is a recreation staff (Rec), guest services, and some food service workers, and we all live in two little buildings.ย  Part of the great experience is living with the people you work with; this means that you really get to know them.ย  Granted, most of the student workers go to or graduated from Erskine, so we all kind of know each other to begin with, but then you just get to know them in a whole new way.

Sunset on the lake at Bonclarken last summer, after spending the afternoon reading... ah, summer.

Sunset on the lake at Bonclarken last summer, after spending the afternoon reading... ah, summer.

Because we have no commute time, most meals are provided, and we all live together, we do a lot of things with each other outside of work, as well.ย  There are always lots of movies, excursions, activities around Bonclarken, and I think the guys have even set up a video game room in their building this year!ย  Plus, because we are in the mountains I love to spend time outside, going for walks, hiking, reading on the lake, or even just going downtown and poking around the little shops โ€“ it is definitely a great place to spend the summer!

The work is good, the location is beautiful, the people are so nice, there is lots of fun to be had, and it is a community of Christians. . . the summer is starting for real tomorrow when I go in for my first day of work, and I am looking forward to another rewarding few months, making memories and enjoying it all.