I had been looking forward to fifth grade camp since kindergarten. Every May, for one week, the halls of Kellogg elementary school became significantly quieter in the absence of an entire grade on vacation. My brother, sister, and even my mom had gone before me. I knew exactly what to expect. As the day approached I had no nerves; I was excited, as if Christmas vacation had come twice.
Early Monday morning we boarded the school buses and traveled to Clear Lake Camp. Upon arrival, the boys and girls were separated and sent to our dorms to claim our bunks. Our dorm was a building with three sleeping wings, and a common area with bathrooms. I chose a top bunk in the north wing and discarded my duffel bag.
They separated our home room classes into teams. Our class was called the Kirtland’s Warblers. In the dining hall they divided us into even smaller groups at assigned tables. After each meal, a chosen member of our table would collect all of our food waste, where it would be weighed and compared with the waste of every other table. At the end of the week the table with the lightest amount of waste would be awarded a prize.
We spent most of our days doing nature-related and/or team-building activities. We were each asked to write about our favorite experience for a scrapbook we received later. I wrote about how much I enjoyed the trust fall and team obstacle course. (Clearly I had no idea how much I would hate this type of thing as an adult.)
After lights out, a recording of the book “A Wrinkle in Time” was piped over the speakers. A few months earlier I had been sentenced to a week of going to bed an hour early after stealing a dollar from my brother, and I was allowed to keep the light on for that hour if I read a book. This was the book I had chosen, and I loved it. I could hardly contain my excitement that first night when I learned I would get to listen to it in bed all week. Continue reading