May 7, 2012

Staff Spotlight: Devin Helmgren

We travelled far south to the distant land of shine this week's summer staff spotlight on Devin. Originally we were going to attend the 12th Annual Northwestern Snail Convention, but all the exhibitors were running way behind schedule. You know the old saying, "If all the snails are late, go interview someone for a Staff Spotlight." So, here we are...
Orkila: What's your history with camp? What units were you in as a camper, and what have you done as a staff member? What will you be doing this year?
DH: I've been going to Orkila for a looooooong time. Like, literally since before I was born (true story). My first summer camp experience was was as a Goodie Glacier, followed by being a Hoodoo. Then something went terribly right in my life and I did Horsemasters for like, four years (I never learned how to spell Illabots, but I knew that they took NO Jive). That kept me coming back long enough to join LDI Tahomas (Tahomies) which rocked my socks like a laundry machine. The year after that I did CITs and was a CIT for the Lizardheads, after that OSI's (Lizardheads and Hoodoos). I took a year break, and last year I did my first year as paid staff where I worked with the Loowits all summer. This year I am coming back as a Counselor for another year, for which I am beyond stoked.

Orkila: What have you been up to this year? Where are you right now!?
DH: This year I've been living/studying/working at the University of Portland aiming to get a computer science degree, which means that this summer will be the first time I've seen the sun in ages. I spend a lot of time working for the radio station at my school (KDUP) and also working as a health educator. And at time of writing... I am in my room... writing (yep, couldn't hold myself back on that joke...). On the larger scale I am getting myself psyched for a trip to Europe during May and June, and before that writing and recording music with my musical project "Secret Headquarters" (a folk-punk trio).                                                  
Orkila: What’s your favorite part of camp? And what keeps you coming back?
DH: Erm, my favorite part of camp is the people. You get to meet some really amazing folks when you come to camp, and I'm not even just talking about staff. The kids are whacky, zany, intelligent, energetic, inspiring- I could go on. And on. And on. People are really themselves at camp in a way that they aren't allowed in the real world. Which, when you think about it, walks the line right between sad and wonderful. HOWEVER! WE GET TO BE THE PEOPLE WHO SEE THAT OTHER SIDE! WHICH IS SPLENDIFOROUS! People aside, camp is the birthing ground for all of my favorite inside jokes. For people who were at camp last year, sometimes just a word is enough to bring a smile to their face.          
Orkila: Why can’t you ride “my little red wagon”?
DH: Look, I know what you're gonna say. "But narwhals can't shoot their teeth from their mouths like a spray of hornets!" I don't care. Nobody has ever seen a real Narwhal, so all we have to go on is convoluted mythos, and, quite frankly, until you get your Radio Flyer Big Red Classic ATW (look it up!) properly prepared for a narwhal attack, I CATEGORICALLY REFUSE to be a passenger therein. Also, John Bourgeois told me that it was in desperate need of maintenance. 

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