After praise and worship and a few more confusing announcements, everyone scattered to make final preparations for the grand arrival. Our little counselor band of six returned to Room #1 to put final touches on the decorations. Around 10:00 a teen helper came running down the hall, shouting the news we had been waiting for.
“They’re on the buses. They all made it. Everyone’s coming!”
We cheered and high-fived and then grabbed markers, glue and signs to add names to bed posts, hanging mobiles, and welcome posters. Then the next announcement came.
“They’re 10 minutes out. Everybody to the parking lot.”
I snatched my hat and my signs and followed the crowd. The doubts and fears I’d been fighting all week lumped together in the pit of my stomach, and I wondered once again how I’d make it through the week. I reminded myself it wasn’t about me, it was about the kids, and I was soon caught up in the excitement.
The teen helpers rolled out a huge welcome banner, and the counselors formed a ragged line on both sides of the driveway. When the first bus appeared, the crowd went wild, cheering, waving signs, edging to the front. As each timid camper got off the bus, he or she was greeted by a camp aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Hands were held and counselors were found in the confusion of people and signs. Looks of apprehension turned into smiles as one camper after another found his or her name. My girls were soon standing on either side of me, looking relieved but still tentative.
“Hi, I’m Linda, your counselor for the week. I’m so excited to finally meet you.”
“Jane” was slightly taller and heavier than I am. She had a mass of braids, caught up on top of her head and cascading down one side. She had a sweet, shy smile and one perfect dimple.
“Sue” was shorter and thinner and had light brown hair pulled back into a long ponytail. Her smile revealed slightly crooked teeth, and her eyes remained slightly guarded.
I gave them both a side hug – camp rules forbade frontal hugs as well as lap sitting and piggy back rides. I asked each of them to hold their welcome signs while I untangled their name tags from around my neck. As I placed a lanyard around the neck of each girl, I tried to assure her that while she was at camp, somebody knew her name and somebody cared.
For more information, go to the Royal Family Kids website.