I retired from my job this year.  At the end of September, to be exact. That would be my English teaching job for those of you who did not know that I have also worked as a professional teacher for the past million years!  And I didn’t so much “retire” as just -well -stop.

It’s a long story. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to chat with you someday about it.  It’s a peculiar and affirming story , all at the same time, and I’m loving my new life and the new craziness which each day brings.

Anyway, it made for a lot of change in my life and the change was awesome.  Suddenly I had time to pursue all of these things I’ve wanted to do for ages – practise more fiddle, play music with more friends, make pottery, craft moccasins, tan hides, cook great food, work on food husbandry and making our home environmentally friendly – all the crazy things I talk about all the time.

But did I?  Well. No, actually.  I kept just getting caught up.  In the change. I found myself on social media, wandering randomly,  cleaning things that did not need to be cleaned.  Well, okay – maybe they DID need to be cleaned – but you know.

Unexpectedly, I found myself off balance.  Sort of missing the routine of life, even though I had become automated by the same routine of each of my busy days.  I’ve been finding my stride lately, but it took awhile.

It had me reflecting a lot on the “shake up” needed at KLKP this year.  Why “need” you might ask?  Well, as soon as things become routine, we, as humans, start to become complacent. Things slip by us. Some routines are amazing, because they stop us from having to use our brainpower, which we theoretically can use for more important things (like making music) For instance, it’s just a routine that when I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth. Sometimes I’m downstairs with no recollection of whether I have or have not brushed my teeth, and then I realize it’s just because it’s so habitual that I no longer need brainpower to accomplish that small task!

But we don’t want the KLKP to get like that! Sure, it’s sort of nice to have a “routine”. We know that the jellybeans get set out at a certain time, and all the kids race to the MTC to fill up their nametags!   We know when Rowan will have the confessional sheets out, or when to get in line for lunch to maximize our time!

But it’s also important to rethink all of what we’re doing and to ask ourselves whether each of these automated steps is getting us closer to our ultimate purpose at the KLKP, or farther away.

So, just like the year when we cleverly moved the  “Will computer desk” to the opposite wall of the MTC and wondered why it took us so long to figure that out, I asked many trusted sources to walk with me over all of the fine details of camp – everything from when people arrived to how they left. And we examined it all with the questions; is this making us MORE of a community? OR separating us?

What would bring us more “face to face” time and less anxiety time?  How could we streamline things? What would we each like more TIME for in our lives? Certainly not more running around like hamsters on a giant wheel of busy-ness, that’s for sure. Is there a way to work in a nap break?  or more “woodshed time”?

So this year may feel – well – different to some long time participants.  Some of our streamlining might feel awkward at first. That’s natural, and we’ll be looking for feedback. But we really hope – sincerely hope- that this year is going to bring some time to nap, to chat, to work together on hand projects and visit, to share stories and commiserate over the year gone by, to play music together and dance and laugh and swim and eat and dance!! To listen to people create music, to make time for that process to occur without feeling like we’re “skipping something”.

We actually have MORE direct instruction time than in previous camps, but we think that it is more condensed, and will be more student-friendly and less frenetic! And rotating instructors will allow everyone to have variety in their days, and to meet other amazing musicians. Camp mixers are still in place, yet are a little less – well – dictated! So – check out the preliminary schedule.  Nancy already found a flaw – we had not included breakfast time – so that’s been fixed already! ANd if YOU find a flaw, maybe drop me a line so we can look more carefully.  Many eyes make  – well – a very weird looking monster I suppose!

And if it’s feeling odd, and you just want to clean something, there are always dishes to be washed. It’s very satisfying to start with a dirty pile and end up with a clean pile!

It’s one of my favourite things!

Hope to see you at KLKP 2017

~ Michele