Smokey had mentioned that sometimes a camper’s best memory is created on a rainy day. On such days at camp, counselors are told to bring campers back to their respective cabins and do some indoor activities. Sure, the zip line is fun, shooting an air rifle is pretty darn cool and kids have a ball during lake time but there is something different about the shouts of joy and laughter that permeate the air while a game of ninja takes place in the cabin.
One of my favourite camp memories from this summer, which was also my first summer in the US, was on the last day on my first full-week as a counselor. It wasn’t a rainy day. It was around 4pm and it was time to pack up. My co-counselor and I were exhausted and we were looking forward to sending off the kids back to their parents and enjoying the weekend on our own. We had gone round asking the campers if they needed help with packing, reminding them to check for stuff under their beds, in the bathrooms and in the shower and, of course, the ever important task of rolling up their sleeping bags.
The cabin is divided into quarters with two bunk beds in each quarter, allowing up to four people in a quarter. My co-counselor and I took up one quarter on our own. We both slept in the bottom bunk. Seeing that the campers did not need any more help, we retired to our bunks, ignoring the fact that we were smearing our sheets with the sweat that clung onto the back of our t-shirts. We lay sprawled on the thin, lightweight mattresses that were surprisingly comfortable. For about 10 minutes, we remained uninterrupted although the cabin was full of kids. I closed my eyes and drew in a deep breath. My muscles relaxed. This was rare.
At this point of time at camp, the campers had already grown familiar with one another and were friends instead of mere cabin mates. They had the attention of each other so they no longer vied for our attention. They knew that this was it; they had to take full advantage of the little camp time that was left in this summer (until they return in a year). There was no more time for bickering.
We heard “1, 2, 3, Ninja!” ring from the middle of the cabin for the third time in 10 minutes.
We knew that all was well.