Monday, May 17, 2010

The counselors at the Girl Scout Camp, they say they're mighty fine, but when you go to meet them, they look like Frankenstein!

Hello, readers! To all my STL readers, I miss you like whoa and you all should come to Pennsylvania and play Yeah Dude with me right now.
So thus far, epic RENT night aside, my summer’s consisted of looking up animal hybrids on Wikipedia (check out the puma/leopard mix, the dwarf pumapard), checking my FormSpring which you all should ask me questions on, playing Treasure Isle on Facebook extensively and listening to more 4 Non Blondes than anyone should in a lifetime (Seriously, the “What’s Up” video is on demand and I’ve listened to it more than is healthy…it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t the age I am now in the 90s, cause I’d be trying to emulate them like whoa.)

Anyways…it’s hard to believe I used to value sitting at home alone and learning about phantom big cats and whatnot more than anything in the world, cause I really can’t take much more of it right about now. Sure one day I’ll be able to wow someone with my knowledge of ligers and beefalo (which have apparently stunted buffalo conservation efforts like whoa), but it’s really not productive at all, and loses the fun value quite quickly.

But, yeah, even when I did genuinely enjoy sitting around doing nothing all the time, the highlight of the summer months was still the few weeks I'd go away to Girl Scout camp. For a total couch potato/only child, it was great to be around a big group of really awesome people spending time outside and doing really fun the time I was in the travelers group (probably the best week at camp I had) when we went to the Delaware Water Gap (and they talked about the Shawnee tribe until shawnee didn't sound like a word anymore) and to Camelback Beach (I'm not a big water slide person, but I sure love wave's like being at the beach without the jellyfish and with a shitton of chemicals) on the 4th of July and spent the entire day imitating our British counselor's accents, because we thought they were the coolest ever (and we all felt really bad when we made "Ringo" (a girl scout camp counselor never reveals her real name...unless she does or you force it out of her...I got in trouble for telling people a counselor's name once) lost her belly button ring because we begged her to take it out and show us how it worked). (I'm on a roll with the run-ons and parentheticals today)...and the next year with my "Theater of the Mountains" group we went to see 42nd Street in town and it was...well, obviously a small town theater production (but hey, I just went and saw RENT at the Media theater and it was surprisingly awesome), but pretty fun.

I just tried to write a paragraph about how great camp was and ended up writing about how great not being at camp was. I promise we had fun on the campgrounds, too...we canoed (I was never a big canoing fan; your shoes got too muddy...I could deal with being grimy and having dirty clothes, but wet shoes are the one thing I really can't put up with for some reason), and funyaked (it's a little yellow floaty thing that you sat in the middle of, fwiw) (you could step into the funyak without getting completely soaked and for some reason the kayaking motion is much more fun than the canoeing one and you don't have to deal with sharing a boat with a slow paddler (though this one time I had to deal with a clingy campmate who made it her goal to link our funyaks together)).
And if you were willing to hike up a humungo hill you'd get to ride horses, which was really fun even though everyone there knew way more about horses than I did and this one time I steered the horse too hard and the scary barn leader yelled at me...and then the horse tried to buck me off and she ran over and was like "Wow, you handle that horse so well!" and affirmed that statement after the thing decided to step on my foot as I was demounting it. 

Speaking of crazy animal experiences, there was the summer when the bears ran rampant. Over the counselors' radios, we'd hear them talk about "Code B's" all over camp, but they wouldn't tell us what a Code B was...we quickly hypothesized that we were dealing with a Code B(ear), and everyone got really excited, though I was a bit skeptic. This next story starts with something totally out of character for me...I'd joined Roadrunners, and we woke up at ungodly hours to go for runs (yeah, I know...I was with the lagging group in the back in case you hadn't assumed that). I was walking back to my tent with someone else in my unit when I stopped dead in my tracks...there was nobody else around...except for a baby bear eating a big rubber band. I calmly tapped my friend on the shoulder and was like, "Hey, what's that?". "What's what?" "The bear!" and she looked up and freaked...quietly freaked, since being loud around a baby bear...I mean the baby prolly couldn't do much, but where there's a baby animal there's a crazy mother (I got attacked by a mother goose last year, so I know). So we stood there until it ran away and then went to our counselor who reported it and everyone in the camp found out and there was a hoopla and everyone thought I was really cool. It was a triumph of sorts, I suppose. And then one time was one either inside or just outside the mess hall and they had to chase it away and we all watched from a distance and by then they couldn't pretend there weren't bear around it was really exciting. Who needs danger perception, anyway?

And all the nights we'd stay up singing (This one time a counselor came to our tent to give us our nightly option of a "handshake, hug, or ET touch" [we always took all 3] and we ended up singing "Thank You" by Dido with her so now that song reminds me of camp) and playing truth or dare and the "nervous game" (and somehow I got the repuation of being the prudish a group of 12 year olds, mind you) and gossiping about other campers (During the travelers unit we ended up splitting up into 2 cliques...which were like the city people and the surburban ones, which seems really awful now, but at the time it was fun...I mean, everyone was in one and it's not like we were outright excluding everyone and the cool, urban kids liked me just fine even though I was from suburbia (which was good because I was with most of them in Theater of the Mountains so it would've been bad if they had recognized me as that girl from the rival clique) so its okay...right? Okay, fine...but I'm sure you weren't a nice person when you were 12, either)
But my favorite part of camp was also my least favorite, because it was the last night of each session, when we would have a campfire/singalong/talent show. We'd do the same skits every year (except when I was in the acting one, when we decided we needed a good skit so we did a good one, though I forget what it was...we also did a modern version of Cinderella which I narrated and when we raised/took down the flag some of the girls did a step routine...I meanwhile stood by the flag lamely and gave all the orders). But anyways...usually the skits were the Magic Blanket skit (in which people would through things over a blanket and they'd come back double in size until a skeptic spit on it and then got hit with a bucket of water) and the "and then I heard a knock, a knock, a knock, and I thought it was Cecilia, Cecilia, Cecilia!" one and "If I were not a camper, I wonder what I'd be, If I were not a camper, *insert counselors name here* is what I'd be! *Insert something the counselor said here*"...or, conversely, "A birdwatcher's what I'd be! Hark, a lark, sitting in the park! *Crack an egg over head, pretend it's bird shit, hilarity ensues*"
So we'd sing some silly songs...they were the songs that I'd sing all through the school years to get funny looks from people, so it was pretty sweet to go to camp and burst out in a silly song and simply have those around me join in ("Baby shark, do do do do do do do"..."There's a hole in the bucket, dear Eliza, dear Eliza!"..."Oh I had a little chickie and it wouldn't lay an egg so I rubbed hot water up and down its legs! Oh, the little chickie hollered and the little chickie begged...and the little Chickie laid a hard-boiled egg!" and the "Just a boy and a girl in a little canoe..." song which ended with a girl paddling a canoe and the boy that she kicked out of the boat swimming all the same misandric vein, the song that started with a girl sitting 'neath the lilacs and playing a guitar and then she meets a guy smoking a cigar and she dies and he becomes a douchebag and then he is killed by her tombstone and the moral of this song, according to the counselors, was "never tell lies", but we always sang "never trust guys!" 

Oh, girl scout camp...
If you're still with me after that last paragraph, then thanks for putting up with my after alternating between silly skits and silly songs we'd calm down and sing some more solemn songs, like "On My Honor" which was full of sappy, heartwarming Girl Scout-y values, "Red Balloon" and "Spider's Web", which was one of my favorites:

My other favorite was "Linger", which IIRC I got up and attempted to sing at my high school's last meeting for worship before graduation and prolly embarrassed myself like whoa...but anyways, there are lots of versions of it, I believe, but ours went:

I want to linger
A little longer
A little longer here with you
it's such a perfect night, 
it doesn't seem quite right
that it should be my last with you
and come September
we'll all remember
and as the years go by
I'll think of you and sigh
this is goodnight and not goodbye

And everyone would get all sappy and sentimental and give big hugs and we'd link hands and sing Taps and there would be a phantom trumpet playing it from the activities lodge (I don't know who the player was, still) And then the next day would be come, and it would be over...until the next year.

The last year I went things sort of fell apart, at least with my group of friends...drama, people getting in trouble for cigarettes and stuff, a giant foodfight, and then I didn't go back because everyone decided not to go back, either...Sad, sad...but at least it was fun for the time being! And it's so aweosme to meet someone else who went to Girl Scout camp and to compare experiences and campfire songs. So...if you're reading this and went to camp...what songs did you sing?

P.S. Go here for lots of great camp songs!

P.P.S. Sorry for the wonky fonts...I don't know what happened.