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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Curfew
By Rachel Phelps
07/14/09


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Tuesday, July 14

What have I gotten myself into? It seemed so simple: be a counselor for a group of junior high girls at church camp. It’s only five days. I used to love camp – college hasn’t removed me that much. What happened?

I’m sitting here on my extremely creaky and uncomfortable bunk, writing by the light of my cell phone because it’s lights out. I could go out into the common room, but then my “cabin” (it’s a room in a dorm-style building – why not call it a room instead of a cabin?) would be counselor-less, and I think Mrs. Drake, the dorm mom, would frown on that. She frowns on a lot.

These girls are insane. I arrived to find my room already swarming with ten skinny, acne-speckled girls all talking at the top of their lungs. Two were fighting over the bottom bunk by the window facing the boys’ dorm (excuse me, “cabins” inside a dorm-like building). All the top bunks were taken and Jessica had just been booted off the last one by Sandi, who insisted she needed a top bunk for her back. (What?)

By dinnertime, three of my girls had steady boyfriends and four more were competing with other girls for their respective men. I didn’t realize the kids came to camp so fancy nowadays. These girls are wearing sundresses and skirts that I never would have dreamed of bringing to camp – particularly not Camp Arrowhead. Campy Dust-Bath is more like it.

I was excited to see most of my girls taking part in the worship service, but of course I was mistaken there, as well. I realized that while they seemed to have their hands in the air and their eyes closed, they were carefully keeping their arms down to mask any armpit odor, and their “closed” eyes kept sliding over to various boys.

Today was about the same, only longer and worse, because now all but two of my girls are “hooked up” for the week. Imagine trying to interest them in relay races and Bible Sword Drills when there are cute boys watching. Definitely un-cool, so I’m told. Also, devotionals in the cabin are not “in.” Two worship services in one day are more than enough for these kids.

I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. I do all the fun things and get excited about the activities, and try to talk to the girls personally, even if it is about a camp break-up. Heather had one after dinner tonight – crying, ripping love notes (already??), the whole bit.

Still, it seems like everything is wrong. Sandi pulled me aside this morning to let me know that the girls are unhappy with how I’m running things. Apparently the other counselors are not so “strict” and “boring” as I am.

Speaking of which, Sandi still isn’t back. She asked permission to stay out till curfew, and I said ok, but that was over ten minutes ago now. I hope Mrs. Drake hasn’t captured her. She’s not one to take that –


Well, since writing that, I’ve had quite the experience. The door opened and Sandi tried to sneak in. I got up and met her at the door, ready to deliver a whispered lecture that would curl that flat-ironed hair of hers. I stopped when I realized there was a man behind her.

Apparently, Sandi’s boy of the week, Devon, had taken her out to the dock to watch the stars and make out, but a security guard caught them and according to him, it was a little more than making out. Mrs. Drake had already given her quite the lecture and sent her to me to decide an appropriate consequence. Me? I’m the wild college student, according to her, what do I know about talking to a 14-year-old about this?

I got Sandi to tell me about what happened and tried to get her to open up a little about “how far” and such. Awkward and very unfruitful. She sat there like she was deaf and mute and wouldn’t look at me. Finally, I gave up and told her that I would give her the consequence for breaking curfew, but I couldn’t punish her for anything else unless I knew what happened – since the boy should be punished equally. She smiled at me, just for a second.

I’ll talk to the boy’s counselor in the morning to confirm. Who knows? A couple of hours on kitchen cleanup might do Sandi some good.


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This article has been read 535 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Vander Elst07/16/09
You've shown us the stark reality of today's teens! I wouldn't have wanted to be this camp counselor. You told the story well.
Virgil Youngblood 07/17/09
Well written and interesting story. Good job.
diana kay07/18/09
Oh gosh I remember this experience! well written and descriptions of teenagers and your dilemmas spot on!
Mildred Sheldon07/18/09
A very well written piece about the wiles of teenagers in camp. No truer words have every been spoken. Thank you.
Scarlett Farr 07/19/09
Gulp!! I read this the day after I sent my daughter to church camp for the first time. Thanks for the insight! Very well written.
Seema Bagai 07/19/09
Yikes! It's a different world out there. You captured today's teens realistically.
Diana Dart 07/20/09
Nice descriptions, I could see the girls, feel the tension, etc. She was a bit harsh though eh? See the world through someone else's eyes and you may understand why they are the way they are... otherwise the gulf remains. Just my two cents! But you wrote a great piece, the MC's voice was very consistent and the pace was just right.
Chely Roach07/20/09
Great story, frighteningly realistic. I personally didn't think she was strick enough, lol. Loved the dry wit of the MC. Great job!
Jim McWhinnie 07/22/09
There was a stark realism to this piece, a bit distressing for modern day teenage parents.

I found that you evoked that certain concern in me, therefore I believe this piece accomplished its purpose.

Well done.