To continue reflecting upon the challenges and triumphs experienced by our Take2 campers, I’d like to share a story from this summer’s middle school camp teacher, Laura H.:
We had just completed our “flexibility” week with the kids, and while we knew one another better than we did at the beginning of the week, everyone was still working on building relationships. This particular excursion was decided by the staff but planned by the campers, so it was already a bit of a challenge in the sense that we weren’t entirely sure if they would be motivated to tough out any obstacles presented by this excursion. Armed with a map and a plan for the trip, we set out to take the bus to a local park to play field games and have lunch. The group seemed to be in high spirits as they left the building.
The journey began with a short wait for the bus—the leader of the group checked the times and noticed that a bus would arrive in minutes—and the campers readily embarked. Unfortunately, the campers didn’t realize that they were going in the wrong direction. We knew, but they didn’t. With a little prompting to verify the direction, the camper checked in with the bus driver, who informed him of the error. The group’s first flexible moment rested in their decision to adapt the course and take a detour suggested by the bus driver.
Despite keeping cool (metaphorically—outside, it was a hot day), each challenge sort of compounded those before it: not having exact directions for the detour, mistakenly leading the group to a neighborhood block, lots of walking in the heat, challenges with different opinions from the campers, not knowing one another for more than a week.
We continued praising them for thinking flexibly and going with the flow. We knew they were frustrated, but we also recognized how many victories were happening in this one trip. So we continued to support them, and suddenly, an oasis of sorts emerged. It wasn’t beautiful, but it would work: a flat, green space near an overpass with a small pavilion, and the only shade that could be found in DC. One camper said, “Why don’t we just settle on this place instead?” It was a long shot to get 9 other campers to agree to this, but they did. They all agreed!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, instead of playing ‘dead’ on the grass, the campers initiated a vote, which led them to play a kickball game that didn’t require teams—just a rotating pitcher and a line of kickers. They used some of the materials we had brought as makeshift bases. It was a very proud moment for all of us, and you could tell that the campers felt successful too. Halfway through the game, I heard the pitcher shout to his fellow campers, “This is so much fun, isn’t it?” The whole experience was a victory that I think will stick with the kids as much as it will with us.
Thank you for your continued support of Take2 Camp.