One of the things we do at the end of a day of Summer Camp, after the kids go home, is share an Apple and an Onion from our day. An Apple is a moment or happening that was just really sweet. An Onion is something that requires further processing before it’s really palatable.
Today was mostly apple-ful for me. Both the Class Clown and the Instigator Of All Things Inappropriate were gone today, and that made things a lot easier. We took this crazy long hike to see a glacial erratic, got lost, thought we would be late, hiked back like crazy and made it with time to spare, and played a really good game of Firekeeper. It’s really hard to pick one key moment from the day. I keep starting to write one down here, and then I stop and decide that it doesn’t quite capture how good the day was. One of the really sweet moments was when The Runner came up next to me at the end of the day to tell me that today was his favorite day by far. I don’t think 12-year olds give compliments too freely. Another was when the group decided on a team name. I had planted the idea of a team name for them on Monday, but the boys all wanted something like The Constipated Camels while the girls all wanted something like The Wolves, and never the twain would meet. But today as we left the Fantastic Erratic (the map label for the glacial boulder), I told them a story about wolverine energy in order to get them pumped up for this hardcore uphill hike that we needed to finish in half the time it took us to get down the hill. They rocked at the uphill climb, and the wolverine story really seemed to work for them. At one of the water breaks, after we realized that we were making good time, one of the girls suggested that we be The Wolverines. The boys still thought there needed to be a qualifier, and everyone was able to agree that our group name would be The Lost Wolverines. Possibly, this doesn’t seem like a really sweet moment to someone who doesn’t work with kids. But the fact that a story I told resulted in them self-organizing in order to make a decision that the whole group agreed upon without any yelling or namecalling…well, you might have to take my word for it.
The Onion for the day was actually the fact that the Class Clown wasn’t there. Yesterday, he had really really annoyed the rest of the group with a particular annoying behavior. By the time we were having our closing circle, it was really out of hand, with him doing it all the time, and the rest of the kids yelling at him to shut up all the time. So we went ahead and had a talk about it in the circle. He acknowledged that he knew it was annoying to everyone, but "it’s hard for me to not do it, I’ve done it for a long time." I asked him if he wanted to stop doing it, in which case the rest of the group would be happy to support him and help him out, if it was something hard for him to change. He wasn’t sure if he was willing to commit to changing the behavior, and I asked him if he wanted to think about it, and let us know in the morning. He said he would like that, so I planned to have a quick talk about it this morning. However, he didn’t come this morning, or at all today. I don’t think that the 4 minute conversation from yesterday would have kept him from coming back, but there is a little shred of worry that maybe that was too intimidating or something and he was afraid to come back. That would suck.