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Playing at 4-H camp

first_img18-hour daysDerrill is the DARE officer with the Heard County Sheriff’s Department. June Jackson, another volunteer leader, and Ellen Nowicki, my co-worker, were in the girls’ cabin. Chris Nowicki, a 4-H teen leader, helped us all out.We had 18-hour days last week, from about 6:30 in the morning until we got them to go to sleep, which was usually about 12:30 a.m. That makes for especially long days at a camp like Rock Eagle because it’s so big.The camp itself is spread out over 110 acres. From cabin 54, the one farthest away from everything, to the 4-H office, is about a quarter-mile. And if you travel by the road around the camp, you’re going to travel about 2 miles.1,000 4-H’ers at campThe thousand 4-H’ers at camp, mostly 5th- and 6th-graders, were assigned to groups of about 15 or so. They changed to a different class or activity, led by one of about 65 counselors, every hour or two. So we spent our days going to the different classes and activities along with the 4-H’ers.I was with a group of Blue Strings, or the ones who have been to camp before. We sailed on the 110-acre lake, climbed 45 feet up into the trees to ride the zip-line at the high ropes course, worked together to conquer the low ropes course, built a homemade raft and floated it to “Gilligan’s Island,” went canoeing, climbed to the top of the climbing wall and caught all kinds of little critters in the Lake Ecology class.Two huge swimming poolsAnd for fun we went swimming in one of two huge swimming pools, one of which has a water slide.Derrill was with a group of Red Strings all week. They’re the younger, first-year campers. Another group is known as the White Strings. They’re first-year campers, too, but may be a little older than the Red Strings. Both groups had their own agenda for the week.One of the favorite classes of the Red and White Strings was herpetology, better known as the “Snake Class.” It was a favorite for the boys because it was taught by a beautiful, blonde counselor named Devon.A long, long wayAll of these classes and activities took place from one end of Rock Eagle Camp to the other. And that’s a long, long way, especially when you have to walk everywhere.But I learned a long time ago to carry my bike, and I told Derrill to bring one, too. We rode between 4 and 5 miles every day keeping up with the campers and counselors, and in our other duties.But every day, about 5 o’clock in the evening, when all the campers were in the cabins meeting with their counselors, Derrill and I would park our bikes and set out in front of our cabins. Derrill would get out his guitar, and I’d get out my banjo, and for the next hour we’d play.The quarter-flippingDerrill is a better guitarist than I am a banjo player, so we mostly played the songs that I could play.This is where all the quarter-flipping started.You see, the kids on their way to supper (or if you prefer, dinner) had to pass by us. And many of them would stop, take a picture of us and flip mostly quarters into my open banjo case.We made all of $3.15 and had a great time.last_img

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