In fourth grade my class at the Washington Waldorf School went on a week-long trip to a river in West Virginia. My Father was asked to be a chaperone and I was delighted to share the trip with him. It was October and unseasonably hot, and I remember that on the drive home we each had sack lunches with three chocolate chip cookies. My Father, not being one for sugar or following social protocols, announced to a van of eleven 4th graders that whomever could tell the dirtiest joke would get my Father’s three cookies. As you can imagine, all ten kids, not including myself, jumped to the occasion, and in a quick 24 hours my dear Father was sadly prohibited from participating in future school events.
To my surprise, 33 years later, I was asked to chaperone my son Wesley’s 6th grade class trip to CIMI and cabin with eight boys. Wesley, like myself, was ”super stoked” that I would experience the camp stories he would return home with. I feel blessed to have witnessed him kayak, snorkel, do science labs, perform skits, and mingle with his eleven-year-old peers.
Apparently, like my Father, I left quite an amusing impression on the kids I chaperoned! In reading their sweet hand-written thank you letters, it was clear I have a reputation of being rather strict and rigid. Many of their letters talked about getting them up too early and being the first group at breakfast, and that I made them do pushups if anyone was late. And one boy I’m particularly partial to, wrote that he felt really connected with me, but that perhaps I needed to loosen up a bit, maybe tell a few funny jokes now and then like Grandpa does.