Let’s Kick Start This Camp!

, , , , | Learning | May 7, 2018

(I’m teaching at a summer theatre camp, and the first group I am working with is a group of about 20 seven- to nine-year-olds. It’s a lot. I’m somewhat new to working with kids. It’s in day one and we’re about to have an afternoon snack. Per training, I’m discussing not sharing snacks and why, before we go outside.)

Me: “It’s very important to remember to keep your snack to yourself! Can anybody tell me why?”

(I choose one kid with their hand up.)

Child: “Because it’s mine.”

Me: “Yes! This is true! Your parents packed a snack that’s for you, and not for everyone here! Also, you never know if someone may be allergic to—”

(Mid-sentence, I watch this girl kick an unsuspecting kid next to her, square in the face. Very lightly, but still IN THE FACE.)

Me: *without missing a beat* “NO. NO. You and I are going to talk about this in a second, but let me finish this first.”

(I continue on about snack safety. I finish and check that the child who got kicked is okay, and the camp assistants then begin to lead the rest of the kids in a line out to the playground.)

Me: “[Kicking Girl]!”

(I do that “come here” motion with my finger, like my parents use to do to me before giving me the business. The girl looks down at the floor.)

Me: “You can’t kick people in the face.”

Kicking Girl: *looks away and sighs* “I’m just trying to have a good time.”

Showering Compliments

, , , , | Friendly | April 16, 2018

(I’m staying at my in-laws’ cabin at the lake. This cabin is in a campground that has shower buildings for everyone to use. The shower buildings also have toilets. As you’d expect, there’s one shower building for the men, and another for the women. I’ve decided that I need to answer the call of nature, so I amble over to the women’s building. Just as I’m about to do my business:)

Man’s Voice: *says something I don’t catch*

Me: *thinking* “Oh, no. I must have gotten into the men’s building by mistake! What do I do? Maybe he just needs a toilet and will be out of here quickly.”

(The shower starts.)

Me: *thinking* “Aw, great. He’s having a shower. Who knows how long he’ll be here? Maybe I should run out while he’s showering and hope he doesn’t see me.”

(Just then…)

Woman’s Voice: *giggling* “Ooh, this water is hot!”

Man’s Voice: “Not as hot as you!”

Me: *thinking* “Ah. I’m in the right building after all, but I’d still better get out of here before things get really embarrassing.” *runs*

Camp Misery

, , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(I’ve worked at a camp and outdoor education centre in a remote area for many years. All my interviews for the positions I’ve held have either been on Skype or phone, or at the local branch near where I live. The people who run the camp know that I do not have a car, due to the fact that I’m a recent graduate desperately trying to pay off some student loans. After working a fall session and returning back home to two part-time jobs, one of the supervisors contacts me and suggests applying for an assistant supervisor job that will be all year long. I’m excited about the opportunity, but I remind the supervisor I am without a car and ask if that will be an issue. He assures me it won’t and goes on about how the job would be perfect for me, since I would live onsite and wouldn’t need one. With their insistence, I apply. A day or two later, I get an email asking if I can come up to the camp in two days time for an interview. The camp is four hours away, and the bus to get there doesn’t drive up on the day they are asking. If it did, it would be a full day of travel, and I would have to leave the night before to get there. My parents and friends also work full-time, and asking them to drive me there and back in one day is out of the question. Plus, I am still working my two part-time jobs and it would be impossible to get coverage in just two days. I respond and ask if I could schedule a Skype or phone interview, instead, as finding a ride up so soon would be hard to manage. I don’t think this will be a big deal, as all my past interviews have been this way. To my surprise, I get the following email back:)

Supervisor: “Due to the nature of the job, it is vital that you are here in person to meet with all the program heads. A Skype or phone interview is out of the question.”

(I am confused, as I have never encountered this problem before, and the same supervisor who suggested I apply is saying this. However, I try to honour their request, since I was encouraged to apply.)

Me: “Okay, I unfortunately will be unable to make it to the site on the day requested, as I need to take the bus up. What about a week from that date? And would it be possible to secure a place to stay? The bus won’t be running after I arrive, or I would have to come up the night before.”

(Since I know most of the supervisors and have worked at the camp prior, I don’t think it will be an issue to stay overnight and catch up with the people I have worked with. Well…)

Supervisor: “We were hoping to have interviews done within the week. Furthermore, the site is off-limits to anyone who is not a supervisor as we are getting ready for winter session. The hotels in town are always vacant around this time, though. Let us know and hope to hear from you soon.”

(To clarify, this camp I had worked for forever wanted me to drop everything, spend at least $100 on travel to their location, and then spend another $100 on accommodation for an INTERVIEW. Not even the job, an INTERVIEW. The kicker? The other supervisors already had somebody else in mind for the job and, I found out later, felt that having a vehicle was necessary for the job. Luckily, after that last email, I declined the interview and eventually found work elsewhere. But I shudder to think of if I had gone through all of that for a job I wasn’t going to even get.)

They Should Be Sent To Bootcamp

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 8, 2018

My entire family used to be avid campers. Two or three times a summer my parents, aunt, uncles, and grandparents would all rent a large, shared campsite at a local family campground for a weekend. This is the worst camping trip we ever had; it was bad enough that my grandmother never went camping with us again after that.

Normally, it would just be the aforementioned people, plus my cousins, my sister, and me. This year, we got invited to camp with the college-age son of a family friend and all of his friends. We knew this son very well, but didn’t know his friends, but since he and his father were awesome and well-known to us, we didn’t think it would be a problem. First mistake.

First day there, they stole all of the expensive beer that my uncle brought — despite being underage, and despite the fact that he didn’t bring it to share with anyone but my grandfather — then got drunk and started throwing up all over the place. I also found out, years later, that my aunt had yelled at them when she caught them smoking pot around my sister and cousins and me.

My mom always over-packed snacks because she wanted to make extra sure my sister, cousins, and I always had something to snack on if we got hungry. The friends saw me get a box of granola bars from the back of our car to share with my cousins and realized there was food in there, then helped themselves, completely clearing out all of the snacks in our car by the next morning. They never once asked for permission.

The next morning, my grandmother made eggs for my diabetic grandfather’s breakfast. The second they were cooked, the friends walked over to her stove, took the skillet, and ate the entire thing themselves without even saying a word to her. My grandfather had nothing to eat and almost had a sugar low. They didn’t even bring the skillet back when they were done, and she had to figure out where they left it; apparently someone just tossed it aside in the dirt. They then ate the cereal, cereal bars, and oatmeal my mom brought for our breakfast, so there was nothing for my sister and me to eat. We had to get breakfast from a neighboring campsite where, thankfully, we had become friends with the children of the campers in the site the day before, and they were sympathetic enough to give us some trail mix.

The friends wouldn’t stop leaving all the coolers wide open, so all the ice for our meat and drinks melted completely in the summer heat of noon. They offered to go out to a store and get more, so everyone pitched in money to pay for it. They came back with tons of raw chicken that no one asked for and not a single bag of ice, because they “forgot.” We ended up having to cook the chicken, plus all of the burgers and hot dogs everyone brought that day — otherwise it would have spoiled without ice — and it was way too much food for everyone. They then took the leftovers and threw it all into the woods, so we had tons of feral cats, raccoons, foxes, and even a freaking black bear in our camp in the middle of the night that night.

The absolute worst thing they did was forget me in a boulder field. One of the main draws of the campground is a prehistoric boulder field left behind by the Ice Age. People will go down there and climb on the rocks during the day and look at stars during the night. Our campsite wasn’t that far from the boulder field, so they decided to go climb on the rocks and brought my sister, one of my cousins, and me with them. We were only allowed to go because my parents assumed that the family friend was going with them and would watch us; they had no idea he was actually headed somewhere else on his own. When the friends left the rocks, they failed to do a headcount and left without me. I wasn’t even that far out on the rocks and was still within their line of sight, and they still didn’t notice they were leaving me. I didn’t even realize they had left and was still sitting there on a rock by myself, staring out at the rest of the field, when a father with three kids walked by and saw me alone and called to me to get my attention out of concern that I might be lost. By then, my mom and aunt were running frantically down the path, screaming my name, after they returned to the campsite without me. My parents told me we weren’t allowed to go with them anywhere, anymore, even if the one person we knew said he would be with them.

By noon the next day, they had drunk every soda, bottled water, and juice box that my mom had brought for my sister and me, ate every bit of food that they hadn’t already devoured the first and second day, drank every bottle of beer anyone brought, and not once did they ask if it was okay for them to take any of it. My sister and I were six and eight years old respectively, so we started crying because we were hungry and thirsty. My mom was furious because, even after all the food and drinks she brought, she couldn’t feed us at all due to their theft. My dad was boiling creek water so that we wouldn’t get dehydrated because of how hot it was that day.

We were supposed to be there for three more days, and already we were out of everything, so my family called it. We packed up the tents and gear. All the while, the friends couldn’t understand why we refused to stay there with them any longer, having completely ignored all of the complaints from my family members throughout the weekend. My grandmother says it was likely they assumed we’d stay and just give them more money to replace what they stole so they could steal it again, but after the chicken incident, no one trusted them to actually buy what we asked them to. If we went out and bought what we needed ourselves, they’d just take it without asking, and we’d be back to the same problem again.

We’ve been asked to go camping with them again several times since, but we have all made it clear that we’d sooner share our campsite with the black bear again than with them.


A Monstrous Tale

, , , , , | Related | April 6, 2018

(My parents have taken me on my very first camping trip.)

Me: “Mommy, I have to pee! Can I go in the woods like Daddy?”

Mom: “No, you can’t go in the woods! You’re not a boy! There’s an outhouse right here you can use.”

Me: “No! It’s yucky in there and there’s monsters!”

Mom: “I know it smells bad in there, so you’ll just have to go as fast as you can. And there aren’t any monsters in the outhouse, I promise.”

Me: “Yes, there are, and they’ll pull me in and eat me, and you’ll be sad because you won’t have a [My Name] anymore!”

Mom: “Look: there’s no monsters in the outhouse. I’ll go first and show you.”

(My mom opens the door and discovers that there’s not one, but two timber rattlesnakes curled up together on the floor. They must be asleep, because neither of them start rattling until after my mom slams the door shut again.)

Dad: *later* “Why did you decide to let her pee in the woods? I thought you were taking her to the outhouse.”

Mom: “No way! There are monsters in there!”

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