There is a slight chill in the morning air as the buses pull onto the stone drive of Camp Gitchigumi.
As the teen passengers disembark, they are directed to stand fast next to the bus until a headcount can be taken. After all teens are accounted for, they are asked to assemble near the pagoda.
"Welcome campers. I am Patrick Gregory. You may call me Patrick."
"And I am Courtney Williams. You may call me Courtney."
"We will be your camp counselors this summer. We have plenty of activities arranged, so hopefully you will each find something that interests you. I know some of you, and look forward to meeting the rest of you."
"I, too know some of you, look forward to sharing a great camp with all of you," Courtney added.
Patrick continues, "Will the following campers please move off to my right. You have been chosen as the peer leaders for this summer. Molly Gregory, Ruby Lewis, Boris Michaels, Stormy Riddle, and Anthony Stark. The peer leaders will reside in this cabin with the counselors. Also joining them will be Axel Lothario."
"Every camper has been assigned a cabin, so if you will each come forward, we will give you your assignment and direct you to your cabin. I have the boys' and Courtney has the girls' assignments. If you did not get assigned with your buddy or friends, please don't fret. You will have plenty of time to spend together this summer.
"We'll give you all a chance to get settled and then meet back here at fifteen hundred hours. At that time we'll go over the rules and the basics of camp. We will do everything in our power to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable camping experience.
Patrick and Courtney greet each one as they file forward to receive their assignment. The teens huddle with their friends to compare camping arrangements.
After the cabin assignments have been handed out and the campers directed to their cabins, Patrick and Courtney turned to the peer leaders.
This will be the last summer before these teens begin high school. A new life experience awaits them when this summer is over. One last time they can be top dogs with their peers, then they will become the bottom of the heap - freshmen.
Molly Gregory, Patrick's younger, and only, sister. She was the baby of the family, spoiled and protected, until, at 15, her younger brother, Eric, was born. Having a stable home life, Molly is quite charismatic and can easily get along with most people she meets. Being athletic, she has tried out for the high school cheerleading squad and been accepted . She finds it difficult, as do the other cheerleaders, to address the coach as Courtney.
Ruby Lewis, a rebel, has never had any use for school or homework. Although she comes from a very loving family, she prefers the loner life. A girl from the in crowd called Ruby a "loser" at school, and everyone gossiped about it! Ruby's reputation seriously suffered and not much could be done to quell the rumors. As a result she has few friends to boast of. She is very excitable. Being mean-spirited has landed her in the company of some less than desirable companions. She has found art to be a creative outlet for her anger and finds it comes quite natural to her.
Boris Michaels: nerd, geek, techno-guru. He is a whiz when it comes to computers. His genius allows for ease in problem solving. The harder the puzzle, the more enjoyable he finds it. He has a natural aptitude for repairing broken electronics and has been known to upgrade a few objects around the house. Boris is quick to dismiss any inquiries into his family life, as most would find the "uniqueness" a bit much to swallow. Both parents are involved in local crime.
Stormy Riddle comes from an unstable background. Her parents are not supportive of their children. Because of her family life, she finds it impossible to find humor in anything. Having spent a lot of time with her father, Stormy has discovered a natural aptitude for repairing objects around the house. Having seen her parents' relationship deteriorate and her mother succumb to depression has made her a stalwart person. She is less likely to panic in extreme situations. She loves to get away from it all by finding a secluded spot to fish.
Anthony (Tony) Stark, a local athlete, is involved in many sports and can probably be found at the gym. When he performs exceptionally well, his teammates chant "Hank the Tank," a nickname given to him by his father. Coming from a military background, he is known to be extreme in almost all he does. He does not like to lose, although displays great sportsmanship when he does. He is not quick to panic. Being very social, he has been known to attract the girls. Although he is quick to engage in conversation, he is holding out for that one special girl.
Over the weeks, the camp was alive with activity. Classes were provided in one of the old favorites, arts and crafts. Many took part in activities such as painting, basket weaving, kite building, and pottery.
Many participated in the numerous sporting events that took place. Competitions were held in swimming, foot races, biking and volleyball. Recreational sports were also available such as, football, baseball, volleyball and soccer.
The big event every year is the fishing derby. Each of the cabins chooses a representative to participate in the derby. This year's participants were Molly Gregory, Steve Harevy, O'Ren Ishi, Jayne Madison, and Jon Thompson. The winner this summer was Jon Thompson.
Throughout the summer, relationships have been establish; rekindled; strengthened, and even dissolved.
Molly and Tony created a special bond;
Ruby met Boris through his brother Axel, whom she began to hang out with;
Molly and Stormy renewed their friendship after a long hiatus. They had know each other as children, living just a few houses away from each other on the same street;
It was a summer to remember for five Peer Leaders. Never in their wildest dreams did they ever think they meet other teens from different backgrounds and begin to form friendships with them.
Will they be able to strengthen these friendships, or will they drift apart, going back to their respective cliques.
The Big Game
The year of the (CBC) Crescent Bay Cougars!
Tony enjoyed high school mostly because he was good in sports.
Three years had past and Tony was in his last year of High school, every year Crescent Bay high would get close to winning the state championship but they never went all the way.
This year seemed different; this year the Crescent bay Cougars only lost one game this season, the very first game they played, however they won every game afterwards. If Tony and the Cougars were going to win state it would have to be now.
The school sprits were high; everyone in school was thinking this would be the year of the Cougars; however they were playing the top team, the undefeated Riverview wildcats.
The night before the big game the coach had spoken unto the team:
OK Cougars! This is it! I want everyone well rested for tomorrow’s game, today we are Cougars, and tomorrow we will be state champs!
Tony went home and finished his homework; after his homework was done he talked with his father.
Tony: “Dad I know you want us to win and”.. before he could finish his father interrupted.
Hank: “Son all I ask is you do your best, I am very proud of you and proud to have you as a son”
They talked for about an hour before Tony left to see Molly.
Tony arrived at molly’s only to find out she was not home so he went to Stormy’s house to see if Stormy knew where Molly was.
Tony: “Have you seen Molly?”
Stormy: “No Tony, I have not seen Molly since we left school.”
Tony and Stormy talked for a bit.
Just as Tony was getting ready to go home Molly showed up at Stormy’s home.
Molly: “Hi Tony, Hi Stormy.”
Stormy:”Hi Molly I was just talking to Tony about tomorrow’s game.”
Tony: “I must say I’m a little freaked out."
Tony: “Anyone seen Boris or Ruby? I wanted to talk to them before tomorrow’s game.”
Stormy:”No I have not seen them but they will be at the game tomorrow, you should get some rest Tony you have a big day tomorrow. I have to go in now and finish my homework; we are driving up there early tomorrow, Good luck.”
Tony: “Good night Stormy.”
Molly: “Night stormy I’ll see you at the game tomorrow."
Stormy went into the house to finish her homework
Tony looked at Molly “wish me luck tomorrow” he asked of Molly.
Molly: “you don’t need any luck you’ll be fine.”
Tony: “this is my last year of high school it’s now or never, well I’m going home to get some rest.” And with that said he kissed Molly goodnight.
The day of the game!
Coach: “Today we do or die, you walking onto this field as Teenagers but win or lose you will walk off this field as men. Yes I know you all rather be playing this game at Crescent bay high and being in Riverview stadium and hearing the crowed cheering for them is not the greatest!”
Coach: “But you shall overcome this. Yes! They are the wildcats! But we are the mighty Cougars! We will defeat them! Now go show them what we are made of!
Both teams rushed on the field screaming and chanting. The crowed cheered very loud; to Tony it was as loud as thunder.
During the first half of the game neither team was able to score, both teams played the game like pros, neither team wanting to give an inch of the playing field to the other.
The wild cats finally got within field goal distance.
“We need to push them back” Tony shouted, but the roar of the crowed drowned him out and gave momentum to the Wildcats.
The Wildcats; seeing they could push no further went for the field goal and made it.
The score was now 3 to nothing, in favor of the wildcats. The next few minutes the cougars were unable to score during their next few possessions neither were they able to get within field goal range to tie the game.
2 minutes left to play and the Wildcats was in possession of the ball. All they had to do was run the clock down to win the game. Now 1 minute left, Molly heart was racing it looked like it was over, 30 seconds left and the Wildcats still had possession of the ball.
The Wildcats through a long pass, caught it, and running for the touchdown, the only one there to stop him was Phil, with a sharp turn Phil hit him so hard it knocked the ball from his hand.
Tony quickly grabbed the football and ran for his life, Molly jumped high into the air shouting "GO! Go Tony Go!"
Needless to say Tony made the touchdown and the Crescent Bay Cougars won the state championship 6 to 3!
My parents are such a drag. Since High School will be ending next year, (thank goodness) they want me to come up with a favorite memory of mine for the graduation party Mom has planned.
A favorite memory? High School was the biggest waste of my time. My grades aren’t going to be winning me any scholarships. I have no real friends to speak of. The kids I do hang out with aren’t exactly friend material. Stupid, snotty girls at school talk about me behind my back. They all think I am a loser, but I could care less what they think. I loathe the thought of even attending my graduation. I have been begging Mom to just let me stay home; she is too proud of her baby and blah blah blah.
I guess thinking back on the years; I have had some good memories. Summer Camp was pretty fun. I did meet some interesting people and rekindled some old “acquaintances”. The counselors put Boris, Molly, Tony, Stormy, Axel and I together. Axel was a boy that I spent the most time with that week. He was cute, funny and a bad boy. Perfect combo. So, I guess that wasn’t such a bad memory.
Oh, yes…one memory that stays etched in my memory is this Beach party we had. How can I forget that night? Axel and I had become close friends throughout the year. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to the party. I accepted happily. We spent most of the night chatting. He looked so cute in the moonlight.
I was happily surprised when he took my hands and held them. Then he kissed me under the stars. It was so perfect. I didn’t want the night to end. He then asked me if I wanted to go out with him. Of course I said “Yes”.
The rest of the kids had their own fun at the party. Boris was teaching Stormy how to play Chess; she seemed to enjoy the game and had fun with Boris.
Molly and Tony were playing a game of catch on the beach. Everyone once in a while they would steal a kiss under the stars as well.
Towards the end of the night we all gathered around the fire pit and talked about our various plans after school. Tony had plans to join the Army after graduation. Molly seemed a bit sad by this bit of news, but coming from a military background, she was proud of Tony for his actions. Boris had mentioned that with Axel moving out with their cousin Kale. He would be moving to another house with his parents. He told us that he would be studying computer programming.
Boris and I shared a knowing look about his computer prowess. Molly would be traveling to Europe to study photography. I knew she’d be successful. Boris asked Stormy what she was planning. She looked confused and told us she was still unsure. She said she would probably take a class here and there and make her money fishing and the like.
I told her it was alright, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in art or music. I reassured her we still had time; this was only our junior year.
I forget who had busted out the marshmallows but the boys had a time firing them up. Poor Axel burnt his but ate them anyway.
We sat chatting for a good portion of the night. It was nice to be able to sit with these five kids and talk like friends without the pressures of what our other friends would think. I sat hoping that our senior year would be just as memorable as this year had been.
I went to go look for my dad, to remind him that Career Day was in fact today. He seems to "forget" things that are not important to him. But before that, I made sure Sunny was fed and dressed for the day. Before the crack of dawn of each weekday morning, I get my baby sister fed and clothed before Davy the babysitter comes by and take over. Sure he could do all of those things, but I like to spend time with her, something I make sure she has, because I never did. So, after all was said and done, I found my dad in the dining room and gave him a friendly reminder about attending Career Day and to talk to my peers about where he works and what he does, in detail. I for one thinks being a Handyman is quite cool and soon he will have his own business!
Anyways, Dad said he couldn't make it to my school today because he got a call this morning for some work over at the local stadium. I asked if he could cancel it this one time, but he went on and on about when a job is available, it is unwise to let go of it. Especially when he may not have work for a few weeks at a time. It wasn't like we were hurting for money, I thought to myself. I was very upset and I made sure he knew it....He could have done this one thing for me.
During third period, through lunch, fourth and fifth period, Career Day was held in the room where dances, and other events usually took place. We, as in Molly, Tony, Ruby, Boris and I decided to meet there during our lunch break. There were many other students, mostly Seniors there inquiring about the different jobs available and what training and or schooling was needed to get hired. Tony went straight to the "Join the Army" booth, with Molly by his side. He asked many questions, and signed up. I looked around but didn't see anything of interest. Ruby then told us she has made up her mind and will be attending a school for arts to improve her painting skills. She does indeed paint beautiful abstracts.
Behind me I heard a bunch of giggling and noticed a few of the cheerleaders asking Molly's brother Jacob, one of our math teachers, many questions about his part-time profession as an auxiliary policeman. I over heard him make clear that auxliliary police are usually the reserves for the police force and that sometimes, depending on where you work, you may or may not carry arms and that some may or may not get paid, but instead, volunteer their services. But these girls were totally flirting with him and not interested in becoming auxiliary police women. Must've been the uniform.... he does look good in it. Okay, he is handsome too.
The poor nurse standing next to him hardly had anyone to talk to about her career because Jacob was getting all the girl's attention. While I chuckled about the spectacle before me, Boris nudged me to point out a few other careers I should get into, since I was the one who was undecided in what I wanted for my future. I was not interested in becoming a Sous Chef, Nurse, Fireman and or Journalist. But, Boris didn't point any of those things out, he mentioned careers that were not here at the fair. Such as, adventurer, explorer and or a commercial fishermen since I seem to take risks, "collect things" by rummaging through wealthy people's trash and fishing. Some rich people throw away good stuff I can sell for a small profit. Also I may journey to far away lakes to catch rare fish for our local grocer. I always make sure to be home by 5p.m.
Ruby grabbed mine and Molly's hand and dragged us toward one of the tables. Her mother stood behind the one we were pulled to, while she was setting up her spot. She brought out small household objects from a medium sized box and set them on the tabletop. Afterwards, as Tony and Boris joined us, saying their hello's to Ruby's mother, she went on to tell us she was a homemaker, but also does fun crafts on the side. Some of the crafts she did was beading, or taking a picture frame and adding pretty little faux gems around it and or needle work. Some of it, she sells. I guess we all know where Ruby gets her creativity from. While she continued explaining the ends and out of needle work, my attention was turned towards the staircase, where I heard the oh so familiar sounds of rattling, and jingling of a loaded tool belt.
Sure enough, standing there was my father. My heart went to my throat as he looked at me. I'm not sure what he was thinking or feeling, but it had to be along the lines of caring. I giggled to myself because my dad is weird. But people say I am too. It reminds me of the apple on the ground and something about the tree it fell from.
He came towards me and I to him and we embraced. He said he was on his lunch break and that a few guys were going to cover for him. I was so happy and knew my father, with his awesome handy skills will be a hit for those who has a knack for fixing things. My very good friends were with me the whole time.
Them being there, increased my love for them. I have a very good feeling we will all be very good friends in our future as well. I am still undecided in what I want to do. I will take local classes and gather more information on adventuring and being a commercial fisherman.
If someone had asked my four years ago who I would be sharing a limo with for senior prom, I would never have guessed the truth. I've always been a social person and athletic to boot so it seemed natural to go out for cheerleader in junior high. Of course it helped that I'd been in gymnastics for years as well. As a result though, I lost a childhood friend. Stormy and I didn't really talk at all for almost four years - which is difficult considering we rode the same bus and live on the same street. But that summer at camp - we started talking again and it was great to have her back in my life. I didn't realize how much I missed her in my life. That summer I made other friends as well, people I'd gone to school with and even lived surprisingly close to and yet had barely known at the time. And now - I'm going to Prom with them! Told you I would have never guessed!
Stormy, Ruby and Ranna - Boris's date - arrived at my house each carrying garment bags and accessories. Stormy lived only two houses down and Ruby lived around the corner so our street, and as a result my house, we the most central meeting place for everyone.
"My mother tried to do my hair as I left the house." Ruby said looking annoyed as she stomped into my room.
"Your hair looks great." I said encouragingly. Ruby and I were friends now but we'd had a rocky start and still had our moments. She took issue with my bright and sunny attitude I think.
"Very nice." Ranna piped in. None of us knew Ranna that well but since she was Boris's date, I wanted to include her as much as possible.
I could hear my mom opening the door to admit someone - it had to be one of the guys - so I hurried everyone through the finishing touches of getting ready. This should have been a quick procedure but we're talking about four girls about to go to senior prom! So the guys had to wait.
It was just as well because Ruby's date, Axel, was late. Boris and Kale just shrugged when we started to ask them if they knew what was keeping him. 'Not my brother's and/or cousin's keeper' I think is the expression.
While we were waiting Stormy and Kale were having some sort of spat from what I could tell. Stormy looked upset and Kale just looked irritated. I pulled Tony aside and snuggled in his arms. I had every intention of enjoying tonight but there was still a part of me that looked toward the future with a degree of sadness. Prom was the beginning of the end so to speak and Tony and I were both going different directions - like thousands of miles of different directions. As if sensing my thoughts, Tony pulled me closer to him.
"The limo is here!" my dad called out from the front room. Axel still wasn't here and Ruby looked like she was on the verge of a panic attack. My mom ushered us out the door to greet the limo while whispering soothing words to Ruby. I'm not sure if it was what she said or the fact that Axel was leaning against the limo with a cocky look on his face - but Ruby calmed down by the time we were on the front lawn. Mom - being a mom - lined us all up in front of the limo and tried so hard to get us all to look forward and smile.
It didn't work. Ruby started to look freaked again...about what I'm still not sure, but it caused Tony to look at her as my mom snapped the picture. At the same time Stormy and Kale were still at odds with each other and Ranna was trying not to look at them.
In spite of all the pre-prom jitters and emotion, the moment we all arrived in the ball room none of it mattered. One of the early songs - a dance staple - was something akin to the Chicken Dance. Sadly I think I was the only one doing the chicken dance.
We all danced and partied until our feet wore out and half the senior class had disappeared for whatever post prom parties they were going to.
The photographer made the final call for prom pictures and none of us had gone yet so we reluctantly left the dance floor.
Tony and I went first - of course Stormy made some comment diverting our attention at the last moment but no one realized that until we got the pictures back later.
Ruby and Axel
Stormy and Kale - their earlier problems seemingly resolved.
Boris and Ranna
Using some persuasion (and filling out an order form for a full package) we convinced the photographer to do one last picture of the five of us. Our dates willingly stepped aside so we could have our group shot. When the picture came in, I gave a copy to each person.
"Tony, Molly, Ruby, Stormy and Boris at Senior Prom"
Four years ago, I didn't really know these people. Now I'm not sure how I will live without them.