Amidst all the tears after graduation (we had one of the most drama filled cabins), one little girls pipes out, "Sometimes bubble gum helps."
Said one girl on the last night: "Well, I'm ready to get back to the big city life."
(You'd probably have to know this girl to appreciate this comment. Funny thing is, I recall her saying the exact same thing 2 years ago during her first year of camp.)
Said several other counselors throughout the week, "Aaaghhhh! Spider!!! Jennifer, come get it!!!"
I was asked if this big 2 inch spider was a brown recluse. No, they're small. THat's a good spider. I rescused several from the cabin and put them outside where they could eat the bad bugs.
"What the ?"--Said a camper from a boy's cabin when they came to hug raid us and we were all hiding in the shower.
"Geronimo!" said a camper as she went off the diving board (again, you'd have to know her)
"Ohhhhh, I'm scared to dance in front of all these people. Oooohhh, booooohooooo", said the 7 year old boy camper I was dancing with. He was kidding. He was a hoot.
"I can't believe he lets his wife dress him. He's crazy!" said the young boy about the skit character out of Napoleon Dynamite. I was then treated to a running commentary of what was going on on the 'stage'. I was difficult to keep a straight face!
"I can't wait until I'm all better so I can go back to Mexico. I miss it there but I can't go back until I'm not sick anymore", said a little camper (my little swimmer) to me.
And then there was the story about the youngest girl cabin. One first time camper just took in camp with all she had. Homesick at first, she soon realized what a blast camp could be. One night during a group hug in her cabin, she got out of the shower to realize she was missing out. So, she took her nekked little self and joined in the group hug, sliming all over everyone. Note: This is secondhand. I didn't witness this one!
This same girl was talking to a fellow counselor about her port being sore. This counselor was smiling as she was listening, just to show that she was attentive. Well, 7 year olds aren't too in touch with non-verbal cues and such. She stopped what she was saying and asked, "Are you laughing at me? Because if you are, I'm going to have to kill you."
This same girl, bald from chemo, had little pipe cleaners tied on to the sides of her headband her cabin wore during skit night. She wanted ponytails like the other girls.
OK, this is a quote from a previous year, but one Tuesday, a first time camper said, "Wow! It's only Tuesday and I've already done so many new things. I zipped down the zip line, jumped off a diving board, slept outside, and helped cook my meal over a campfire. I love this place!"
Finally, the last graduating senior to speak his words: I was doing fine, not getting teared up until this point. He proceeded to say what camp met to him, how much fun he had there, and then he thanked all of the counselors, that we might give up a week of our lives, away from families, work, etc. to come and help make this such a great week for the campers. He said he that meant alot to him that we would do that.
The point he missed was that it is an honor for us to be there. Spending a week with these kids helps all of us so much more. It gives us a break from the real world (not to imply that what these kids are going through isn't real). It gives us perspective. It makes us thankful for our own health. It makes the troubling things in our own lives much less so. We are the priveleged ones--to have this experience and to have our lives touched so dramatically by these kids and young adults. They are a blessing to us.
So, as another sun has set on a week of Camp Esperanza, I hope I've left any of you reading this a taste of what a special week this is. It's something that I find really hard to convey to friends--you just have to experience it yourself. Maybe one day some of you will!
Taken from the Sports Barn
July 20, 2005