Taking a hand

By Chloe Lister

As the last minutes of my sophomore year ticked away, I was preoccupied with thoughts of sunshine and freedom from any sort of schoolwork. While my friends hopped onto planes with destinations like Paris or Beijing, I would stay at home to return for my second year as a counselor at a day camp.

They seemed sweet enough at first; but I learned firsthand how terrible 13 seven to nine-year-olds could be, pigtails and all.

At the beginning of every day, the senior counselors would retreat for 20 to 30 minutes to their attendance meeting, when junior counselors have full reign of the group to play games and get everyone excited for the day. This period quickly became my favorite part of camp; the more confident I was, the more fun we had, and that was the time when I really felt like I bonded with them.

One day, my senior counselor had her evaluation with the camp director. That meant that I’d have an additional hour with the group, when I didn’t have anything planned. My group started off strong, but one by one, the children trickled out of whatever game we were playing to sit off to the side and whine about how bored they were. They could only throw dodgeballs or chant “cut the pie” for so long.

Once there were more girls sitting out than those playing, no amount of “hey, listen up” could get them to focus.By chance, one counselor happened to walk by, and, despite my own reluctance, I asked for his help. Within seconds he had all my girls enraptured by his instructions for a game usually only played by the oldest groups; he “wasn’t sure” if they’d be mature enough to handle it.

All 13 of them were up, laughing and shrieking with delight at all the fun they were having.

I learned something that I can carry with me during junior year: that I don’t have to do everything alone. At school it’s encouraged to be independent, which is a good thing when it comes to preparing for our lives ahead of us. But most of us have gotten so caught up that we forget the people we have at our disposal. Just like I was able to reach out to someone with more experience with children than me, we have experts in countless fields to guide us. With the start of the school year comes all the tired clichés about starting fresh, but they’ve only become clichés by being such enduring truths. I hope that we all will be able to go out of our comfort zones this year and remember that we can always ask for help.