I guess this is more for memory’s sake than anything else, but Edmund Rice Camps for Kids are really special to me. The camp I just came back from wasn’t quite what I remembered it to be. The first few hours when it was wet and gloomy made me incredibly miserable. The kids wouldn’t listen to anything I tried to make them do, and no matter what I did to try and make them behave or play with everyone else or follow the group activity, they’d just run off or hit someone or something like that. By dinner, I had thoughts about going home and not being able to cope. I’m not sure what changed after that, but when we went to bed, the kids were still being horribly disobedient and causing all kinds of hell. Somehow though, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe it was because I wasn’t trying to make them do what I thought was best, but I’m really not sure how it became amusing. Those kids really know how to cause trouble, and thinking back, it makes me smile.I have to say, this camp was a lot more challenging than its predecessor. The kids I spent the most time with were Hayden, Brandon, Thomas, Logan and Coddi. Each and every one of them was more than deserving of a backhand, particularly the last three. Hayden turned out to be a great kid, and he really opened up his heart at the end. Brandon is Brandon, hitting people in the nuts and wrestling with everyone, but he kind of made up for it by looking me in the eyes and saying “You’re my best friend.” He gave me lots of hugs and even a kiss somewhere, and even though I knew it was inappropriate, it was a little heart-warming. Thomas… Man oh man, whatever happened to that kid? He was the sweetest little guy last time, and in those six months, he’s transformed into a swearing, throwing, hurting, teasing, disobedient little asshole. I felt really sorry for everyone who had to keep in contact with him for group activities and at night. Logan started out as an enigma, seemed to enjoy himself later on, then turned absolutely foul for no apparent reason. He just kept yelling shut up, even to people who weren’t talking, and he got into a few fights with Hayden. I get the feeling Hayden has a lot to defend. As for Coddi… I’m not sure whether it was his hearing problems or his downright ignorance, but he had a remarkable ability to block out everything that he didn’t want to hear. And let me tell you, when you’re on camp to have fun, there is a WHOLE lot you don’t want to hear. I think he played the broken, four-stringed guitar in every single skit on skit night. He was a nightmare to get to cooperate, but I’m glad he had a good time.
Other kids to mention are Elishia, who clung to my arm and pretended to be some sort of abnormal growth. A giant tumour of some form that could control my brain and tell me what to do. I just thought her vocabulary and creativity were well beyond her years so I played along, even if the clinging did prevent me from doing many other activities. Chris is the brightest little kid I’ve ever met. He’s what Annaliese would have referred to as ‘hyper-intelligent’. He thinks like a witty teenager and saw right through all the activities we were throwing at the kids. He knew they were pointless and nothing would happen if he didn’t participate, so he sort of entertained himself with some of the most hilarious jokes I’ve ever heard. I think a lot of the time he’s quite bored with the life he lives, but he played with the other kids to humour them (and in doing so, got some joy out of it himself). Most of all, I saw that he was happiest when he was running for his life or playing imagination games with the other boys. At heart, Chris, despite his precociousness, wants to be a kid, and I’m really glad he got the chance to be one.
I learned a lot from this camp. I learned about my own prejudices, and to look past behaviour to see the real cause of a problem. I learned that sometimes, there really is nothing you can do, and maybe you’d better leave it to someone more qualified. I learned that sometimes, the rules really kinda suck, and as long as you’re safe and fun, what’s the problem?
Although I enjoyed this camp, it really doesn’t have anything on January. I made some incredible friends there. We were family. I miss them, and I love them. We skipped a day and a half of camp, so we lost a lot of leader-bonding time and kind of got thrown into things. I felt we were forced to cooperate for the kid’s sakes rather than worked as a team on the whole. The winding down, final camp debrief wasn’t as majestic either. Rather than go back to camp and stay up all night eating junkfood and being stupid, we headed back to Westcourt for a few hours to play uno and reflect. Although I’ve made some friends, it’s really not the same. Maybe January, ne?
So that was camp! Back in the “real world” life is as busy as ever. Time really doesn’t wait for anyone, does it? Well, I’m about a half hour late for Bethwyn’s house and lunch, so I’d better scoot off. Sorry honey, I’m on my way! Can’t wait to see you again. It gives me chills just thinking about it. See y’all later, I guess! Peace out from Ninjajohn.