After having an amazing conversation with someone that I respect and admire, I decided that I wanted to create a second blog that would be a more appropriate platform to talk about things going on in my life. While I will now be running two blogs at the same time, I hope to dedicate more time to this blog and talk about some of the cooler things going on! For example, let me talk about where/what I’m doing now!
I am currently (as of June 10th, 2017), at Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana, working as an Upper School Theater Staff/Instructor for their six-week Summer Camp. I came to this position after interviewing at Culver Academies for their year-long teaching fellowship which at the time was not offered to me in the end. However, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to come here for the summer and actually gain some experience. My current duties include, managing the theater facility, designing the lights for our summer show (Musical Theater International’s Madagascar Junior), assisting in technical production for the show, teaching a 45-minute period of theater tech everyday for two weeks, as well as any other duties assigned to me. I’m very excited about this experience at this brand new environment for me.
Culver Academies is located in Culver, Indiana which is about two hours South East of Chicago right by the second largest lake in Indiana: Lake Maxincuckee. Culver Academies is actually three institutions under the same banner. Culver Military Academy, Culver Girls Academy and Culver Summer Schools & Camps. The military and girl schools are combined together known colloquially as the “Winter School”, while the Summer School is its own entity. The military aspect is purely for character and leadership development under a specific system for the boys, while the girls are set under the British “Head Girl” system. The summer school extends the military system to both sides. This provides a unique environment, where students, faculty and staff are provided very specific expectations and guidelines. What may seem strange and “old” for outsiders, is actually substantiated by years of tradition as well as a long and successful line of graduates.
To be frank, in my first few days here, I was thoroughly intimidated. It was a daunting environment to be at. It seemed very strict and stringent and unfortunately, there wasn’t much diversity when it came to summer staff and faculty. I’m being completely serious when I say that the amount of Asian staff at Culver, I can count on less than one hand. It felt like culture shock all over again. Now this isn’t to say that Culver isn’t trying. I think, it’s one of those situations where it’s hard to hire diverse staff without a diverse leadership, but there can’t be diverse leadership without diverse staff. So far, I’ve been able to manage. My supervisors are very nice, and my fellow colleagues are all very friendly and understanding. I’ve been told that there will be quite a few Chinese students attending the camp, so I look forward to interacting with them. Other than that, the experience has been very welcoming and has slowly helped me work through the intimidating atmosphere.
Things to highlight: found a really nice small and homey church, borrowed a bike for the summer, have a swanky office just to myself, will get to be in a single-engine plane, where I get to be at the controls for a bit!
Things to note: the weather is quite frenetic (its quite hot, there are frequent thunder and lightning storms, its humid, did I mention its hot?), the amount of uniforms they gave us is quite a bit (I have no clue what I’m going to do with all this Culver gear), so many bugs (I’m not usually bothered by them, but there are so many of them).