“Good Morning Everyone! Time to rise out of those beds ‘cause we got a big day ahead of us!”, shouted a tall, skinny man to us as he entered into our cabin to wake us up from our sleep. I could hardly sit up without instantly wanting to fall back down on to my bed. As I looked towards the voice that had woken us up, I saw the silhouette of a slim, male figure with shorts and thick boots on. His curly hair looked as if it was glowing orange from the sunlight hitting it. He walked away and everyone else inside the cabin quickly jumped out of their beds and made their way outside to go to the showers to get changed. “What had I done to end up here?”, I asked myself, and who came up with the idea of putting the showers and bathrooms so far away from our cabin? I finally stepped out from my cabin and walked into the showers to wash myself. As soon as I opened my cabin door the fresh smell of grass hit me, and the sound of the birds chirping away from tree to tree was all I could hear. As I looked towards the flag pole near the center of everything, I noticed the lake in the background, gleaming as the sunlight hit its surface. The trees were swaying back and forth around it as the wind blew gently. It seemed like nature at its purest. This camp looked very pretty, I had to admit that. When I came out of the showers dressed in my Boy Scouts khaki shorts and T shirt, I saw everyone had already gathered around the tall man I’d seen from the morning. “Alright guys, welcome to Cubs Boy Scouts Camp! I’m your leader, Paul. From here on out, I'm gonna put you into groups of three that you’ll be with until the end of this week! I hope you like the people you meet in these groups or at least get to know each other's names because you’re going to be working together for each activity too!”
I got put into a group with Mark and Chris, who luckily I knew from school. We didn't have to introduce each other since we had already known each other after being put in the same class last year in school. Suddenly, I heard a laugh coming from behind me, and a voice followed after saying, “Look, who put the three musketeers into a group?” I turned around and surely enough, there was Joey behind me, standing there with his arrogant smirk and that annoying buzz cut of his as he pointed at me, Chris, and Mark. “Did they really have to send Joey here? Really?”, said Mark angrily.
“Why couldn't his parents just taken him to a zoo? That'd seem like a better camp much more suited for him.”, followed Chris.
I wasn't fond of the idea of having to spend a week with the most annoying person in the whole world, Joey. We’d known him from school too, when he wasn't pushing us around, trying to act cool in front of his friends. I was surprised they weren't in camp with him on their bikes, as they always would be whenever I'd see them around my neighborhood. That day, while Paul was teaching us how to do make rope knots, I could hear from behind me how Joey would mock me and Chris for messing up on our knots. Paul left to get some more ropes for us, and suddenly from behind I felt my neck get tighter, and my head felt a sharp pain on the back of it moving back and forth across my scalp. “You keep messing up you idiot! Now you're going to make us start all over again! Thanks!”, said Joey sarcastically as he let me go from giving me that painful noogie.
Paul came back and said, “Alright guys! Did I miss anything? No? Okay then! Let's keep making some knots!”
I didn't say anything back to Joey or our leader even though I really wanted to. That night, I went to sleep wondering to myself just how in the world was I going to make it through the end of this week. The next day, after doing a few activities we got a 2 hour break by our leader. I went to the pond. As I was throwing rocks into the small lake, trying to make them bounce, I was surprised by a push. “‘Sup wimp? Haha”, followed a voice after.
I got up from the water to see just who I thought it was, Joey. “What are you going to do? Tell on me? Go ahead, but you better be ready for this knuckle sandwich that I got for ya’”, he threatened.
My pants and bottom shirt were soaked. I wanted to just grab him by head and throw him into the pond with me, but instead I just whispered back, “oh don’t worry, you think you got away with it this time, but sooner or later everyone is going to know how big of a bully you really are.”
He laughed and just pushed me once more. I went to my cabin to change and came across Chris and Mark on my way out. “Hey Billy, have you seen Joey? ‘Cause we haven’t and were sure glad of that! He’s been getting on our nerves so much! We gotta do something to show everyone just who he really is” said Mark.
“Yeah dude, me and Mark might have an idea”, said Chris.
“That's good guys, what’s the plan?” I asked in wonder.
“The plan was that tomorrow we’re gonna make him get himself in trouble with leader Paul and in front of everybody in camp. Oh yeah, we’re gonna show the leader just how mean he really is and that’ll get him kicked out surely”, said Chris.
I loved the idea and told them to count me in. I wondered though, just how we could possibly do this? The only plan I could come up with was to lead him to the leader, so he could see for himself. That night I went to sleep happier than I ever had in camp before. The next morning, I woke up more eager than ever to start the day. We went out into our meeting area where I met up with Chris and Mark. We tried to brainstorm ideas but we figured that neither of us wanted to be the bait for Joey, so we gave up on the idea. We walked into the lunchroom. Just as we were about to get in line, I see Joey out of the corner of my eye. He was holding a small boy by the shirt and nobody was doing anything to help him. “I said give me your lunch!” shouted Joey.
The boy shook in fear as he dangled from Joey’s arm. On any other day, I would've normally passed by, but that day I'd had enough. It was bad enough having someone scare me, but I did not want to let Joey think he could get away with it any longer. “it’s time to make things right. Not just for me but everyone here”, I said confidently to myself. I came up to him and said, “hey, stop Joey, why don’t you stop picking on everyone here?” to which he turned around and said,”what are you gonna do, huh? Think you're tough billyboy?”
He grabbed me by the arm and I pushed him back. At that moment, I felt invincible. That quickly ended though as soon as he pushed me to the floor. He lifted his fist to punch me, but suddenly, a voice from far away shouted, “hey! Stop!” We both looked at the direction where the voice came from and saw our leader Paul, standing there. “Joey! I'd never expect this from you! This is unbelievable!”
Paul walked over and grabbed Joey and took him to the main office. After they left, suddenly out of the slight, eerie silence, the whole cafeteria erupted in loud applause and cheers. Everywhere I looked I saw a big smile on everyone’s faces. Chris and Mark walked up to me and helped me up to my feet. More kids ran up to us and lifted me into the air. I felt good for once, I felt like I was a hero. We never saw Joey come back to camp and all was good for the rest of the week. For once, I liked camp a lot actually. The last morning of Camp, me, Chris, and Mark put away all of our things back into our suitcases and backpacks, and we headed out to the benches near the lake one last time. “I can't believe Camp was so much fun this year. I'm really going to miss this. But the good thing is we got the rest of the summer and we’ll get to see eachother in school too”, said Chris as he threw a tiny pebble into the lake.
“Yeah guys, I'm really glad I got to be in the same group together as you Billy. We so have to hang out as soon as we get back home!” shouted Mark.
I just sat back and smiled, thinking about how good this week had been, I realized that maybe this was more than just a step to become Boy Scouts next year, I felt like I learned a valuable lesson that week, and that was to stand up for what you thought was right. As we headed back to meet everyone up at the bus, other kids from our school came up to me and Chris and thanked us for being such great examples of being leaders. I felt good for coming to Camp that summer. I'll never forget that week of camp.