What Happens At Summer Camp When Things Don’t Go As Planned
If you’ve ever been to a closing campfire at our Ontario summer camp, you know that we try our best to make it a memorable event. Campers are led down a candle-lit path to the canoeing area, where we all sit and watch the canoes come in with torches. As they make their way towards the shore, one of the canoeists takes their torch and lights the floating campfire.
This year, everything was going as it should. The fire was lit and burning bright. The canoeists had gotten out and where standing to one side. About 7 minutes into the event, something unexpected happened. The sound was unmistakable. I had heard it a thousand times before. It was the sound of water being poured onto a campfire. Only this time it was the sound of a campfire being poured into water. All that was left where three canoeists, holding their torches together, uncertain of what they should do next.
There was some wood left over from building the floating fire. We gathered it and began to build a fire over the torches without interrupting the show. As the fire began, we added to it until it rivaled the size of the floating fire.
Although it was hardly smooth or polished, the result of the disaster was a more intimate experience with a fire that was closer. The whole thing didn’t seem to have the devastating effect on the festivities that we had feared it might.
Things don’t always go exactly as planned, and our closing campfire is a perfect example of imperfection. I think it’s important for kids to see their leaders struggle at times. It offers a chance to model how to cope and react when things don’t go as we’d thought they might. Hopefully, everyone who attended took away the memories of a great summer – and the lesson that it can be okay when plans go off script a bit.