I spent last week at my home away from home: Camp. I love how it doesn't need a more specific title than that... It's fine calling it camp. Lots of people have a "camp," and even though they all have different names, they're all just... camp.
Anyway, I told them I'd come up and help last week, and without having found sufficient excuse to get out of it, I made good on my promise. It's always good, no matter how awkward it can be to teach kids how to do stuff I don't know how to do, like cross-country skiing. But they have a way of figuring it out on their own, eventually. Usually. Sometimes. Maybe.
There were a bunch of sixth graders there. We have an indoor climbing tower, and each kid got a shot at it. I saw two grils scramble half-way up the wall quickly, stopped, and insist they had gone as far as they could and wanted to come down. Not more than 30 seconds on the wall, and they were defeated, even though they could easily have made it to the top. I just. Don't. Get it.
We took them on a hike out to the dunes. I wonder why they do this, in January, in 15 degree weather, with kids who would much rather play an x-box than go for a walk. But, like everything else you do at camp, 90% of the kids loved it and 10% hated it. I walked at the back, which was where the haters inevitably congregated. I had to coax a few kids off the ground, tears freezing on their cheeks, telling them that stopping in the snow and waiting for a bus to come was not an option. We got to the dunes, which are always windy and cool even in the summer, and the snow was blowing, freezing into chunks of mixed mud at the surface. The wind whipped across the dunes, breezed through my jacket and my other layers, broke my skin and needled at my bones. It was cold.
But... No one ever sees the dunes like this. Everyone comes when the sun is out and the water is warm. I don't know of anywhere else in the world where you can see a mini-desert covered with snow and break the sandy ice chunks under your boots. It was beautiful in a moonscape sort of way. And that alone makes it worthwhile to brave the cold to see it.
And because I just watched this and thought it was funny....
"Is this real life? Is this gonna be forever? Why is this happening to me?"