July 7, 2011
Respect for the Maxis
Each morning after Flag Raising, the Aquanauts (campers finishing the 7th and 8th grades with a few 6th graders) are the last to go to breakfast. Rather than have them mill about doing the teenage zombie walk, we have morning “Aquanautics”. Aquanautics can be real exercise, a short game or any activity to provide amusement and distraction.
One of my favorite examples of Aquanautics was organizing everyone into a marching band and having the campers march in formation while playing imaginary instruments. By the way, this is a difficult act to pull off. 12-14 year-old boys can be agonizingly self-conscious. Asking them to march and sing like band instruments - all while the girls are walking by - is a neat trick.
Yesterday, Paul Sir (the Aquanaut Division Leader) had a nice idea. All 50+ of the Aquanauts paired up and formed a tunnel. When the girls started to walk from their Flag Raising to the Fillin Station (Dining Hall), they walked through the tunnel to words of encouragement and chants of “we respect women.”
The girls had a great time and the boys felt like heroes.
The Axe Man
I love seeing my wife smile and laugh. She has a wonderful air about her and a nice playfulness. Knowing this, you will not be surprised to hear that I was delighted to see a huge smile on her face as she approached me this afternoon to share a story.
We have a camper whose mom is one of our wonderful nurses this summer (note: this is a particularly great group of nurses - your campers are well taken of) who relayed this to Susie Ma’am.
As her son approached, she noticed that he seemed a little different. He smelled, well, kinda nice. In other words, he did not smell like a 4th grade boy.
“What’s that smell?”
“Axe? Like the cologne?”
“Yes. I borrowed it from a friend.”
“Well, I had a date last night.”
At this moment, I think mom did a spit-take. “A date?”
“Well, I think it was a date.”
“OK, why do you think you had a date?”
“OK, maybe it wasn’t a date. I am not sure. Maybe you can tell me. It happened last night at the dance.”
I can only imagine the combination of amusement and horror that mom must have felt. None of us want our little ones to grow up too fast. And “a date” in elementary school is TOO FAST. Nevertheless, she encouraged him to continue sharing, “What happened at the dance?”
“I danced with a girl for a whole dance!”
“And you think that was a date?”
“Well, I did the robot!!!”
OK, so I have learned something new. If you dance, AND do the robot dance, you have had a date. It is also worth noting that this is not the only way that the robot leads to confusion. Not only does it make a 4th grader think that he was on a date, but it also leads to another delusion: every camper thinks he can do the robot. They cannot. They do something robot-esque, but the local renditions are comically (and delightfully) bad.
Here is an additional source of amusement. Why was he wearing Axe the next day? He clearly had no idea who he danced with, nor any expectation that he would see her today (the guys and gals generally have little interaction time during the day). Did he think it would work retroactively? Or, did he assume that guys-who-go-on-dates are guys-who-wear-cheap-cologne? And why Axe? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
I almost did not share this story because I do not want you to worry that our campers are growing up too fast. We consciously strive to avoid doing so. Instead, we want camp to be a place where silliness and childhood are celebrated and embraced. In fact, one of the things I love about the high school program is the fact that it is generally much more wholesome than the typical school environment. In other words, we strive to have our high schoolers act more like elementary school kids than the other way around.