The Golden Statue
The kitchen’s food storage room revealed a decade-old crime scene body outline. To the right of the doorway stood a cardboard sign with the words “The Queen Wants You!” At the end of the L-shaped room, invisible to those who only focused on grabbing supplies, hung a block-lettered sign, “Cry Corner.” The captivating camp’s food storage room offered a time capsule clutter of humorous and nostalgia-inducing artifacts. This year, as a summer camp counselor in training, I led community-building improv games, presented inspiring historical camp stories, and became a dedicated detective of lost towels and missing dental retainers. The food storage room offered a peaceful oasis from my campers’ middle-school mayhem.
The kitchen storage room also served as a confidential meeting place for counselors to discuss staff development, budgetary issues, and hot gossip. One of these clandestine meetings coincided with my desire for tea and oatmeal, stored in the same location. I had squeezed through the crowded kitchen jammed with campers washing dishes and food service staff negotiating with picky eaters. A few “excuse me’s” and “sorry’s” later, I serpentined to the back of the kitchen. Inside the storage room sat three counselors atop blue plastic chairs. Their hard glances and paused conversation signaled that I should immediately return from where I came. I was not yet qualified to join these meetings.
Summer camp was divided into two consecutive sessions. During the last session, Revolution (Revo) day arrived. This was the most important day for all nine counselors in training. We chose a Star Wars theme and transformed the camp into a Death Star. It was the most exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding experience. After Revo, I walked toward the dining hall where a few of my friends were sitting outside. They were crying tears of joy mixed with sadness. We were immensely proud of everything we had shared and accomplished, but Revo also represented an ending. To celebrate our achievement, we danced and laughed and then began cleaning up and clearing decorations. After some progress, I withdrew to the secluded food storage room. I slumped down in the cry corner and sat with my thoughts. After a while, the head chef, Eliza, walked in to grab food from the far-back storage shelves. Eliza was my counselor during my first year at camp. She noticed me in the cry corner. She asked me why I was there and kindly joined me. I appreciated her company. We talked and reminisced about Revos past. The cry corner held to its name. I had been so focused on gaining counselor status and joining food storage meetings, I hadn’t realized that the end of camp quickly approached. Next year, after summers of growing and bonding together, I would no longer live in the same cabin as my family of friends. After five years of dreaming and planning for this day, Revo was the final memory of our time together.
Near the end of summer, I developed one last lesson for our campers. I led a lesson for 6th graders focused on learning to trust one another. Several smaller games led to a concluding event. I took them on a blindfolded trust walk that ended at the back door of the kitchen. They laughed, tripped, and struggled to pass through piles of recycling thrown before them. Their excitement built as they moved closer to their ultimate destination, the food storage room. Removing their blindfolds, they smiled and expressed their wonder with oohs and ahhs. They explored delightful novelties and mysterious treasures. Seeing myself in them, I hoped that someday they would return to this special place to plan their programs, create new traditions, and enjoy kind company in a safe space.
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