Camp Weekend, Part 1 | Do Try This at Home: Camp Weekend, Part 1

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Camp Weekend, Part 1

Ever since I was eight years old, I've wanted to live at summer camp. Camp has all the fun of teaching preschool with the added advantage of taking place outdoors a majority of the time. I'm almost always happier when I'm outdoors.

I'm not sure exactly why or how I always find myself at home afterwards. I probably get tricked into leaving by the promise of a bunch of over-tired, hyperactive children trapped on a 3 1/2 hour bus ride home.

The best thing about camp might be that the level of chaos, while still somewhat controlled, is much higher than anything one could allow in a classroom. The kids are older at camp too, so instead of saying things like, "We don't spit on our friends!" I get to say things like, "I don't know. I'm not in charge of snack. I'm only in charge of bossing you around." and "Screaming about peace and quiet is not going to get us any peace and quiet." Followed closely by, "You're on a bus with 80 kids. You're not going to get much peace and quiet."

That last one is key, I suppose, since I found out only later that our bus was considered the worst behaved of any of the buses. It would have helped if someone had informed me I was supposed to be keeping them quiet. I know HOW to chew kids out. I just had no idea it was required. In fact, I was probably at least as noisy as they were.

One of the councilors asked me why I keep the wrench/all purpose tool pictured above in my purse. Let me just tell you that he asked this question WHILE using said wrench to help a girl escape from the bus bathroom where she had been trapped for at least 20 minutes. Aside from the occasional accidental crime and a bathroom rescue, it was also useful on the way home for cutting a giant cookie cake.

I was with a third grade bunk last year, and let me tell you: fourth grade girls are an entirely different animal. I'm pretty sure they have all the interpersonal problems of adults, but lack the experience and tact to steer through them. I tried my best each time they asked, doling out sage advice about how to cope with a friend who threatens to start and spread rumors, is bossy, or "steals" friends.

They didn't want to hear it though. I finally threw in the towel stating, "I really don't know. I didn't have any friends in fourth grade." It's not true, of course. I had a couple of close friends. I just didn't have large groups of friends that I had known for years. Considering the types of problems these girls are having, I might actually have been better off.

Here's another problem I didn't have in the fourth grade: these girls have boyfriends. I was even an eyewitness to a breakup: "I'm dating someone who's older than you, taller than you, and cuter than you!" At dinner that night I had to ask who was older, taller, and cuter than the boy she broke up with. "No one," she told me, "I just made that up."

13 comments:

disa said...

i was just having a conversation this evening about how i dont remember children being as precocious "then" as "now". i dont think im as precocious "now" as 12 year olds are "now".

Roger said...

I am feeeling your pain Jill ;D

DJ Kirkby said...

Yikes.

Ms. Q said...

DAng! 4th graders...dating? They keep getting younger! I started to think of boys as maybe sorta appealing in the 4th grade but actually wanting to kiss one? Ewwww!

When it comes to "doling out sage advice" (a hilarious phrase if I ever heard one!) it doesn't matter how old the person is - 4th grade, 9 years old, 50 years old, whatever, if they don't want to hear it, they DO NOT want to hear it.

So then you have to fall back on the cliche response of "Well... I guess if all your friends want to jump off a building, I guess you just have to follow their example."

You sound like a pretty good camp counselor though! I'm not sure if I'd have the patience for the antics of 4th grade girls.

That's funny about the "older, taller, cuter" comeback by that girl. Grown women are known to use that. Slightly modified but pretty much same rebuttal!

Trapped in a bus bathroom?? Did you take photos???

jp said...

So did you glean any dating advice, other than making stuff up? :-) Janet

ALF said...

I don't think I'd want to be a kid these days. It seems so much harder.

If I were trapped in a bus bathroom for more than 30 seconds, I would hyperventilate and die.

Kerry said...

I LOVE working at camp.

toners said...

LOL! As the mom of a fifth-grader, I'm scared!!!

Maureen said...

Wow, 4th grade??? Thank goodness my daughter didn't date until 9th grade....

Noelia said...

Funny you blogged about camping because my daughter will be spending 3 days at camp with her class this week. She's a 6th grader...

Jill said...

Disa - Except, she's only nine or ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And probably way better at the whole dating thing than me!!!!!!!!!!! KIDDING! I can't see how they would have gone on any actual dates...

Roger - What pain????? :-0 :-0 :-0
Oh wait, the NEXT camp post is pain. Not mine though. :-)

dj Kirkby - Yeah, I guess it is kind'a scary. I guess that's the pain Roger's talking about!

Ms.Q - I can't believe I forgot to take photos!!!!! I remembered to take one of them cutting the cookie cake, but forgot to post it! :-0 :-0 :-0 I'm not sure that the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in the fourth grade includes any actual dates...I mean, how could it???????????

jp - Nah. Making stuff up was about what she had to offer I'm pretty sure. :-) Still, it was useful information... :-0

Alf - Yeah, I'd ask her through the door if she was doing okay & she'd say, "It smells really bad in here." And I was like, "It's just smelly though? You're not panicking or anything?" She was SUCH a good sport! I told her a bunch of times she did way better than I would have done!

Kerry - Isn't camp THE BEST?!?!?!?

Toners & Maureen - Yeah, my daughter's in 7th, so I'm pretty scared too. She tells me there's a pregnant 8th grader at her school, a rumor I've actually heard from other parents...

Noelia - Hope she has as much fun as we did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bastet said...

4th graders dating...oh boy. Thought that boys were icky at that age. Times are changing. Of course, who'd guess that my own daughter would get "dipped and kissed" in day care, before the age of 2!

Can't wait to hear the camp stories...

Happy camping!

Saradevil said...

Having worked for a while with a bunch of fourth graders I know that they do date. However I found that dating usually meant that the person in question was really just the best friend of opposite sex. It didn't mean kissing but meant it was okay to be hanging out with that boy because they were dating.

I dearly hope that has not changed to much since I left the US.

In Korea I once walked behind a middle school couple (fourteen years old) and a Korean man was walking towards them, he forced their hands apart and started yelling at them because they should only be thinking about studying.

He was a stranger.

Got to love cultural differences.

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