Tuesday was our first full day, and that was an apt description. Most of the counselors got up between 5:30 and 6:30 in order to get ready before the chaos began. We woke our campers around 7:00 and were in the dining hall shortly after 8:00. This was when I realized I needed to get everything that was offered in the serving line. If I didn’t want it, someone else did.
“Miss Linda, are you going to eat your sausages?”
“Miss Linda, can I have your cereal?”
We also got acquainted with Uncle Steve. He made it his personal mission to see that every camper was entertained with magic tricks and adorned with stickers at every meal. I don’t know when he ate.
After breakfast the boys went to activity centers and the girls went to the Chapel to dance. We stretched and danced to contemporary Christian songs, and we learned a dance we would all do at the Camp Variety Show later in the week. We ended with a free-for-all session of freeze dancing that left the girls breathless, but not too breathless to ask the question of the week.
“Miss Linda, what do we do next?”
“Where are we going now, Miss Linda?”
I don’t remember exactly where we went next. I arrived on Sunday with a notebook and a pen and every intention of chronicling my experience as I went along. By the time the campers got there on Monday, I had lowered my goal to making a few one-word notes, and by Tuesday, I had given up the effort altogether. But looking back at the schedule, I know we went to activity centers, and I think we made spin art pictures and key-chain lanyards.
Kid’s Club was at 11:00, and it was time for counselors’ to take a break. There was some separation anxiety for some of the kids, but it was eased by the prospect of a fun time of singing and stories and by the promise that their counselors would pick them up for lunch in an hour. We could hear their fun, because Camp Central was directly below the Chapel, and during the song time, they all ran in place, very enthusiastically, to say hello to us.
Lunch and Quiet Time
Lunch was followed by quiet time, and even our older girls were ready to lie down for a few minutes. That didn’t last long, though, because swim time was next. As soon as one pair of feet hit the floor, chaos ensued as swim suits were found and beach towels were retrieved from the drying line that was strung outside.
Our group decided to divide our time between the pool and The Pond. We started in the pool where we had a rousing game of water volleyball. My team lost. I attributed that loss to the fact that Lisa and Darlene on the other team were both close to 6 feet tall while I, at just under 5’4” could barely touch bottom, but we all had a good time anyway.
As we headed for The Pond, I lagged behind a bit. In addition to my gimpy hip and the sticker I had stepped on the day before, part of which was still embedded in my toe, my flip flops had rubbed raw spots between my toes. I had opted for slides today, but I was still moving a little slowly. I saw Grandma Lillian sitting on a bench under a shade tree, and I thought I might join her. Then I heard a little voice coming from halfway up the 20 foot tower on the edge of the water.
“Miss Linda, are you going off the zip-line with us?”
I sighed and looked at Lillian. “I guess I am now.”
“Miss Linda needs to get a life jacket,” shouted Coach Cindy from the tower.
I found a life jacket that would work and took my place in line. I watched as one girl after another took hold of the trapeze, stepped off the platform, and slid down the line until she let go and dropped into the water. With each step toward the top my heart beat a little faster, It didn’t help when Lisa – tall, athletic, water volleyball winner, able to high kick over her head in dance class – told me how the sudden weight of her body on her arms had caused her to let go too soon, wrenching her shoulder a bit and leaving her with a long drop into the water.
It’s not about me, it’s about the kids, I repeated under my breath.
When I reached the platform, I watched the girl ahead of me squat at the edge of the platform, hold the trapeze at arm’s length so there would be less stress on her arms, and duck walk off the edge.
I can do that, I thought.
I turned to the teen helper who was working the ropes. “Will you come to my funeral?”
He looked shocked at first, but then he grinned. “Sure.”
“Okay, then I’m ready.”
And I was, and I did, and here’s the proof.
That daring feat earned me quite a reputation at camp. I didn’t have time to dwell on it, but I guess I was a little proud of myself. You know what the Bible says about pride.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
I survived the zip-line, but the day wasn’t over yet.
For more information, go to the Royal Family Kids website.