One fatal choice in January lead up to a whole lot of pain through the summer. Sure there where laughs and some rather good times, but inside it hurt. I became an unpaid staff member a summer camp and volunteered my time as a C.I.T or counselor in training for two months. Within the first week I had no clue what was going on and I manly just did some hard work and got to know a few members of the staff or as they called it, “Staph”. Sure I loved all of these inside jokes and catchphrases. But I was looked down like an incapable young boy. It was a little judge mental, but who could truly blame them? So many kids where crazy and I guess they considered us just people they could use as a stress relief system. The some twenty kids and I would rotate through three camps. Well, most of them. I went to a camp the second week and not much happened there that I was found of. Moving into my favorite camp and rest of the summer, I fell in love with a small kid’s camp.
This camp was different from the other camps and provided me with a more interesting experience. Instead of one week, they were there for half a week and I got to hear a fair share of the adult’s stories. Unlike normal camps, where there are a few adult leaders watching over, many kids parents where surrounding them to help keep an eye on them. Once the week came to an end, I was taken back to the first camp where we just did work. I made an arrangement to go back and deceived some staff that I hadn’t been there yet. I loved some of the staff and I guess they loved me because when a staff member was gone, they would assign me their job. I would be given more trust then some of the staff members. Not so much that I wouldn’t be put in a powerful position like the lake director, but in places like a group leader or food server. Jobs that required attention to detail and speed. I liked this trust that wasn’t shown to me for three weeks. Sooner or later, I picked up some form of a bug that was going around and pretty much gave me very poor digestion. But that comes in a little later.
Some of the slightly older boys get to go on a hike up the tallest mountain in the area. It wasn’t too steep but we took a hike around the side and show them some other things that relate to the camp’s theme. I was made that we would need our gear five minutes before we left and so I scrambled back to staff camp and quickly packed. In hindsight, I wish they would have told me that I could come back down later. Any ways I missed them and I sort of remembered the short cut that we took in the first week to play a ranch wide game of Ultimate Frisbee. I took it and wound up on a large field with two port-a-potties and a table and some tents with some heavier camping gear. I knew I was in the right place, but now I needed to use one of the two green portable toilets. I went and did everything I would normally do but the only problem was how tired I was. I had a long night of work and walking up that hill didn’t help anything. I fell asleep and finished what I was doing earlier. About an hour later I awoke and proceeded to get out of the toilet after “cleaning up.” I found my leader who I was following and apparently I set off a quiet panic. Everything was explained as people got their gear set up. I still had to make up for it later by cleaning up spilled mac and cheese by the dumpster.
It started to become a death trap up on the mountain. Storm clouds flooded in extremely fast. A hard rain poured down that visibility was limited to two inches and evacuation was called. Truthfully, yelling fits this better due to the intense sound of water draining out our voices from all directions. We sent people to some rocks that provided shelter and sent others back to the shelter at camp. To make matters worse, the food truck couldn’t make it up the hill; the mud was simply too fast. There was a diabetic who need food but forgot his pack and was assured that he could get it once they made it to the top. I slip down the hill to bring this boy a plate of food. I crawled back through the mudslide and was assisted by another member. The director’s walkie-talkie buzzed and I was ordered to return to the camp as I am allergic to the cold and break out in hives. I was told to do anything possible so I told no one as the campers became more important than me. I was placed in the staff bathrooms and was told to stay put for a few minutes. Water slowly filled the floor, but it didn’t matter. I was still tired from earlier and to crawl up a mudslide would not help me stay awake. As I woke up suddenly and fell asleep moments later, I noticed that I was no longer covered in water, but instead in many white spots that inched with incredible power. I was still too tired and continued falling asleep. I was shaken awake by a new staff member and pulled into the laundry room because of how cold I had become. Outside, it had stopped raining, but was still freezing. I was moved into the laundry room until I dried. My allergies calmed down and I was able to move without the help of others. I was still slow, but not as slow as before. I was sent to the far edge of staff camp where my tent lay. I called it quits, and hoped for a better tomorrow. I stayed in a lodge where the staff relaxed to recover from a slight cold and fast passed experience.
That was a quite painful week and I questioned whether to come back. I finished the summer and for the next six months thought long and hard about going back and reliving some of the wonders that the camp did provide. Now all of it is simply memories and to remember the fun that I had is a challenge. All the bad and all the good don’t equal out and so I was left with one choice. Relive the beauty of the wild for the summer, or stay home and see what friends I still have. I choose the second option. I still wonder if I should have gone. The sacrifice of keeping friends for a long time or having a fantastic experience and see new people for only a few months is a choice I just cannot answer.
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