Thursday, August 18, 2011
My daughter recently sent me the obituary of an old friend, Kay Dibblee. I hadn't thought about her in years, but as I read what was said about her, memories and tears flooded me.
Kay was one of the professionals who worked for Ventura County Camp Fire Girls way back when I started as a Blue Bird leader. Back then, trainings were held for the leaders on all sorts of things. Kay was often the person who did the training. As time went on and my girls grew older we started camping. It was Kay who taught me everything about camping and cooking out doors. I spent a lot of time with her at Camp Cielo and visiting her at her home and once she and her great husband came to visit us.
But it was other things Kay taught me that have stuck with me throughout my life. Kay was fearless. Once a bunch of leaders were headed to above Santa Barbara for a weekend training. The head honcho of CFGs didn't want us to go because the weather was horrible--it had been raining for days.
To get to the camp we had to drive across a creek which had turned into a river. I drove a VW bus at the time. Kay's solution was that I drive everyone across the raging creek in the bus. It took several trips to bring everyone across and all our supplies. I never thought twice about it. Kay knew the bus would make it and she was right.
I don't remember everything about that weekend, but I know we had fun in the big lodge, learning new ways to cook in a fireplace, sleeping on couches and the floor, singing Camp Fire songs and playing silly games.
Kay was a good friend to all the women who had decided to be Camp Fire Girl leaders. She gave us great ideas, she taught us to be brave and try new things. With my own group of girls which I had for ten years until they graduated from high school, we did all sorts of exciting things. We camped at Cielo and in public campgrounds, we camped in the snow, we back packed into Rose Valley following trails none of us had ever been on before, we made trips to San Diego, Hollywood, and we put on plays to earn money for our biggest trip of all, to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas via our own Greyhound bus.
Kay was the one who instilled in me the fact that I could do anything if I just tried.
I haven't seen Kay in years. My Camp Fire Girl days are long over. I've had all sorts of jobs since then, teaching little kids with developmental disabilities, working in day care centers in ghetto areas, and living in and running my own licensed residential care facility. While I was doing that, I also organized and developed training for administrators of residential care which I continued to do for about fifteen years.
And of course I've been writing, teaching writing, and traveling all over doing promotion for my books.
Thank you, Kay, for being my friend, a mentor, and just being you.