Band-Camp Survivor!

Oh the joy of seeing young people learning how to march to different songs is absolutely amazing! Watching them learn their roles, line by line, creating formations that intrigue and boggle the mind is really something to behold. The trombone, trombone, clarinets, flutes, saxophones of all timbres and percussionists–making music and keeping time with their feet on the move and their eyes on their music–first time for me and the last.

Just a few days before the band was supposed to leave for camp, I was informed they were short one chaperone. Being the person that I am, I agreed to go and chaperone for two and half-days (other chaperones were coming for the second half of the week). I was looking forward to the experience since I had not been camping since I was twelve and really wanted to get a handle on how my grandson would react to the experience he had never been camping before this time.

On Sunday, some of the parents went with kids to clean up the cabins. We spent a great of time and effort in washing down and disinfecting mattresses, spraying for insects and praying that other wildlife would not invade. On Monday, during a tour of the camp–I saw a bunch of kids carrying out the mattresses we had just disinfected into another cabin. Not knowing it was a prank, I was livid and went off on them until they explained that it was “an approved prank.” The girls in my cabin had to sing to get their mattresses back. Fortunately, mine had not been touched.

There was a bonfire scheduled, but we were rained out and it rained all night long and I didn’t sleep listening to the downpour. For the girls in my cabin, this was a new experience and they were terrified. We covered the window of one door and then locked them because they were afraid. We survived the night.

On Tuesday, it was still raining and we sloshed through to the bathrooms and the shower cabin, got dressed and went to breakfast. I watched the kids practice, took pictures and watched some more. I was told about an hour before we headed back to the cabins about another “approved prank.” The Seniors were planning to “walk through the cabins” at 3:30 a.m. making noise with an air-horn and drums, shaking beds. I was told not to tell the girls, so I didn’t, but I was livid again.  No consideration was given to the 60+ chaperone who would also be awakened after not having slept the night before.  When the senior band members arrived at our cabin, they couldn’t get in because the girls had locked the doors. They made noise and banged on the door after I being hit in the face with a bright beam of light, they left us alone. The girls were terrified.

On Wednesday morning, I could barely move–again having had no sleep and finally arose, packed my bags and left. Sleep deprivation almost overtook on the drive home and I had to pull into a rest stop to relax for continuing on. That was the longest hour and half-drive, but I survived and was thankful for my bed into which I immediately dropped and went to sleep.

No more band-camp chaperoning for me! Practical jokes have never been a part of my life and had I been told about them before I agreed to go, I wouldn’t have gone. I survived the trauma, but I wonder if the kids will! It will take me awhile to get over this event, but I pray they will get over it soon and not allow it to control their lives as some such events have for others.

April 1st Tradition

For as long as I can remember, people have loved playing jokes on April 1st and they don’t even know why!

It appears that the first April fool’s joke came about when a new calendar was introduced in the 1500s to the Christian world by Pope Gregory that indicated the first day of the new year was in January. Many didn’t want to change the date, so they kept celebrating the new year on April 1st. From that time forward, people have pulled pranks or jokes on people, just so they could say, “April fool”.

Typically, in April, the newness of spring arrives and is evident in the change of the temperature of the air, the color of the leaves, and the grass that grows. One may hear more birds chirping, expect to get more done in the course of a day because of longer daylight hours, and even just relax outdoors. So, upon further reflection, may the celebration of a new year should be April 1st.

At any rate, pranks or jokes should not humiliate people or traumatize them for life. I’d like to see another tradition become a more typical April celebration. How about on the first of April, everyone pledges to do at least five really good things for other people. That would make a really good April 1st for a lot of people.

Think about it–what could you do to make someone else’s life just a little better today?