|The Storm That Made Us Men (standard:Creative non-fiction, 1771 words)|
|Author: CL Schilling||Added: Nov 16 2011||Views/Reads: 2212/1252||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A short, non-fiction story about two youth who find out the first night of summer camp to be a little harder than they thought.|
by CL Schilling “Well have a good week,” my father said while shaking my hand as my camping gear remained scattered on the ground. It was the first time I ever recall shaking my father's hand and I think on some subconscious level, it marked a moment where I was no longer a boy, but starting the process of becoming a man. But at that moment in my life, I just wasn't ready for that stage. Because as I saw my father walking back to his truck, I did everything I could to not cry. Especially in front of the other boys. It was July of 1995 and I was 11-years-old and was spending my first summer at Boy Scout summer camp in the mountains of Farmington, Pennsylvania. Along with five other boys, I had just crossed over from a Cub Scouts pack that was run by mothers to a Boy Scout troop that was run by fathers. Now along with the other five newest Boy Scouts, I went from building pinewood derby cars and selling popcorn to going on 100 mile hikes, long canoe trips, and learning how to start a fire with out matches. As a very shy and sensitive child with long hair and large thick glasses, I was terrified of the thought of spending a week in a foreign place without my family. And I was even more terrified of the older, mean looking high school boys I had just met who were already beginning to surround and harass some of my friends like vultures on fresh roadkill during a hot summer day. It still amuses me how the older boys were able to reassure the parents of the younger campers they would keep an eye on their children. They would always act the part of the caring older scout so well and even put on a fake smile as the parents returned to their cars feeling confident there son was going to be watched over by a mature older boy who had their best interest in mind. But as I found myself terrified of the week that was about to start, I did have my friend Art who I had just met a year before in my fifth grade homeroom class at our elementary school. While Art and I had a lot in common such as our taste in music, school activities, and sense of humor, I always enjoyed having Art as a friend because he was more talkative and confident than I was at that stage in my life. And having a friend who was able to make friends with others better than you could meant a lot to an 11-year-old who is just trying to fit in with the crowd. With our parents now gone and our brand new camping gear still on the ground, Art and I learned the tent we were going to be assigned wouldn't be available until the next day when summer camp officially began and the commissary would be open. Art and I had arrived at scout camp a day early just as the older boys had arrived following a 100 mile hike from our hometown which was a tradition in our Boy Scout troop. But our scoutmaster at the time, a man named Alf, who was a tall, older man with thinning brown hair and dark glasses, offered to stay in his son's tent so that Art and I could use the scout masters tent until we received ours the next day. For most of the afternoon, Art and I attempted to settle in to the campground by exploring the woods and the camp lake. But most importantly, we were trying to remain low on the radar from the older boys especially Jon, a husky Irish farm boy with beady dark eyes who had the reputation of being the ringleader when it came to hazing the new younger scouts. But as the evening approached and darkness began to fall over the Appalachian mountains, the wind also began to pick up and the air began to seem a little less humid and more cooler as all of us new scouts sat in a tent reading ghost stories out of a book. “Well, its getting late,” Art said to all of us. “It's time we call it a night especially since its going to storm soon. Okay Chris, lets head back to our tent.” As Art and I walked out of the old army tent and began walking back to the tent we were going to use for the night, we looked around the campground which had become deserted. No longer were the scout fathers Click here to read the rest of this story (125 more lines)
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