Friday, November 5, 2010

Off to do something that I love to do every year...

I volunteer every year as a counselor for a retreat. Normally that's nothing special about that, but the retreat is very unusual. It is for people who want to improve their sign language skills and my job is to help enhance that while at the same time, bring deaf culture to them.

Nobody at the retreat is ALLOWED to use their voicebox to communicate. The penalty is wearing a massive and colorfully loud bib with a dangling pacifier and a helium-filled balloon (so we can spot who has that when the next person gets busted for speaking).

I have previously mentioned that I am deaf and fluent in sign language. That is the unique set of skills I will be bringing to the retreat. There will be 8 lead counselors (I'm one of them), about 10 co-lead counselors, and about 8 hearing staffers who are sign language interpreters. We will be handling about 70 participants, maybe more. The participants will range from beginners to advanced.

The retreat will start Friday night with a gathering in the mess hall for dinner and end in the gym Sunday noon. I have to be there by 2 pm to help set everything up and help take everything down after the participants leave. 40+ hours of work nonstop, but pure fun and rewarding. I get to bond with the lucky ones who sign up for my cabin. Nobody is allowed to know which cabin will have who as their lead and co-lead counselors.

The biggest challenge every year is the skit. We always say to the participants "This is for fun", but we all secretly hope to be the one who wins this year. My cabin (out of 8 total) has won twice in 8 years (2006 and 2009). Not bad at all. Let's see if my cabin can win two years in a row. ;)

Maybe I will tell you the storyline of both skits that won. In separate posts, of course. LOL I will try to remember to post about this year's retreat Sunday and publish on Monday. If I miss that, just come back Tuesday.


Garden of Egan said...

Have a blast! I would so love to be there and watch it.
I wouldn't be communicating at all, but I love the beauty of the language.

Copyboy said...

Yeah, definitely interesting in seeing what skits they come up with. That's so great that you volunteer like that. BTW...that is a pretty nasty VB penalty! haha

nitebyrd said...

Your imagination is so good, I'm sure your skit will be great.

Have fun!

DCHY said...

Garden of Egan - why not learn and then go to one near you? Would be FUN! More so if you c-o-m-e to my retreat... LOL

Copyboy - my skit was the funniest of all! More details on that in the next post. ;)

Nitebyrd - I thought it was a good one, given what had happened.

Becky said...

Wow. Sounds very interesting. Very different from a blind conference where it is very verbal!

DCHY said...

Becky - you'd be lost at my retreat and I'd be lost at yours. ;)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Can't wait to hear about your skit. Have a great time this weekend on the camp. I'll bet you're looking forward to a GREAT win - by a mile!

DCHY said...

ADSL - the post is up now. You'll have to wait til the next day to know about the skit. ;)