Just got word from Karen & Jodie Bradbury! YMCA Camp Marston folks know them as fantastic camp counselors. Coming from Newcastle in Australia, I had the pleasure of meeting them in the Summer of 2002 at (where else?) YMCA Camp Marston in Julian, California.
They were both traveling together, doing a working holiday in England, and doing the summer camp counselor thing in the USA. Karen and Jodie are generous, kind, hilarious, loud, fun, laugh-a-minute and all around very cool people. They're both great with kids. Karen especially has a keen understanding of young children, and Jodie will make an excellent pediatric nurse.
When they finished their jobs as camp counselors, they used the savings to buy a custom van with an all Budweiser interior for an epic road trip around the USA and Canada! The van was absolutely classic, and when they came through Flagstaff, I wished I could have bought the thing. In the end, they crashed on my dorm room floor, and I showed them around Flagstaff and Northern Arizona.
I took them down to a Forest Service campground off of Lake Mary Road to cook Peach Cobbler and have a campfire. Perhaps you know the place near Lower Lake Mary with the trail going into Walnut Canyon and The Pit? Anyways, when the campground leech/fee collector came, they put on this "We're charmingly naive tourists from Australia and didn't know we had to pay for this site, can you give us a break?" routine. Jodie, Karen, and Jen all shamelessly utilized vast interpersonal skills, exaggerated Australian accents, and Australian stereotypes to browbeat the fee chargers into a freebie. The fee collector apparently handn't met any Australians, because he bought it! I kept my mouth shut. Then my friend Paul Brodar showed up, along with some other counselors, and we all started singing songs! He came back and told us the sheriff was on his way! The nerve! Getting kicked out of Coconino National Forest!
Later on, they were kind enough to let me crash at their house in Newcastle for awhile. They also drove me around and gave me the grand tour of Newcastle. I left Newcastle being very impressed with their little city. They even bought me Tim Tams!
I have to concede I've been bad about keeping in touch since then. So from now on, I'm resolving to keep in touch from time to time. Karen runs a preschool in Newcastle (and I suspect is very good at her job). Jodie was finishing up nursing studies when I saw her last and is now nursing. She had planned on working in Sydney and possibly the US. With our nursing shortage in the States, she could probably make a mint.