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Camp For All
When I got the news that I would be going to a week- long summer camp in Texas, I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because the camp would be in Texas and it is a camp for people who have PKU. PKU people have a diet where they have to eat a limited amount of protein. Every day I cannot eat meat, cheese, dairy products, nuts, almonds or anything that has excessive amounts of protein or phenylalanine. Unfortunately, if my protein levels get too high, this can cause me to be irritable and may result in serious and permanent brain damage.
The down side: I am the only kid at my school with a diet that can cause permanent brain damage. I am different from anyone else (foodwise) in the world; I just have to eat a less amount of protein. The upside is that I’m different from everybody else (lifewise).
So two years later, I got the news we would be going to an all week PKU camp in Texas. We had to fly, but that just made the cost of the trip go up even more. We would be leaving on July 10th and returning on July 17th. And my trip begins…
When I first arrived at Camp for All, I felt more than welcome. People were asking me if I had PKU too, and if I took Kuvan (the new medicine designed to help me increase my phenylalanine intake, so I can have more protein per day). I said, “I’m not on it yet, but I’m gonna try it out this coming winter”. I said this to Matt R. (my new friend that I just recently met).
So the first thing we had to do was register, then, we got lead to our cabins where we would be staying for the next seven nights. Our cabins were outstanding! They were decorated to a given theme. The cabins were lined with about eight beds and a bathroom, and three showers and two rooms for our counselors. As soon as we unpacked, we were told to meet the whole camp at the pool for our two hour free swim time. During that time, I got to know my cabin mates, and I got to know a couple of other boys and girls that I was going to camp with. During swim time, I first got into the water, and I looked at the farthest end of the pool, and saw the deep end. I knew that’s where I would be headed first. As soon as I got to the deep end, I jumped in and the lifeguard pulled me right back out. He said to me “where’s your band?” I replied “what band? Are we supposed to pass a swimming test or something to go in the deep end?” He replied back “uh yeah, sorry kid, you have to get out now and take the swimmers test to go in the deep end”. So I walked over to the first half of the pool and he told me to swim one lap, I thought, how hard could it be? So after I swam a lap, he gave me my band and the evil eye, like the one where when you’re eating at a restaurant and the first thing they give you is a basket of bread and you take three pieces, that evil eye. So after those festivities, I went over to the shallow end and played some b-ball with my friends. And that pretty much wrapped up the whole free time for Camp for All, day 1.
When I woke to the screaming blare of the alarm, I jumped out of bed thinking it was a fire drill, and headed outside. I finally realized that it was just an alarm to get out of bed. So I went back inside, got fully dressed, and woke up my counselors because they were still in college, and they liked to sleep in. About five minutes later our entire cabin was fully dressed and ready to head down to the mess hall. By the time we were down there, ten minutes early, we were the first ones to get our breakfast on the first full day of camp. I had some milk and cereal for breakfast. When we were done with breakfast, we headed back to our cabin for cabin-time. During cabin time, me and my two, very irresponsible, counselors, played a game of catch, inside our cabin. Soon, it was time for free swim. This time I was able to go in the deep end with no worries about getting yelled at by a crazy lifeguard. So I jumped in the deep end and played basketball for the rest of the time. Next was lunch, at lunch, I combined, grape juice, strawberry juice, and blueberry juice, and cotton candy juice (I know, “cotton candy juice?” well, it was actually good). And it made something tasty. After lunch, we went back to our cabin, and headed down to the basketball pavilion for some wheel chair basketball, I think I won, and that was pretty much that. After basketball, it was time for dinner; I had the same, delicious concoction of juices. And then we headed back to out cabin, for some more football, then that pretty much wrapped up day two at Camp for All…to be continued…
Day three- I woke up to another screaming blare of the alarm, but this time I was aware of the fact that it was just a wake up call. So I just lie there, trying to block out the sound of the annoying tone. After the five minutes in terror ended, I lay in bed for another ten minutes, awaking to my counselors pulling the sheets off of my bed, leaving me there, freezing cold. This, had to get me up, but it didn’t. Well, yes, eventually it did. So about five minutes later I was up and ready to go, because our cabin pick it was high ropes, like zip lines, aerial obstacle courses, and a giant swing. But first we had to make it through the day. So it came time to eat food, same basic chiz. After that boring, tiring 45 minutes, we went back to our cabins for cabin time, we just basically went back to sleep because we were still tired. Then we ended up missing about twenty minutes of free swim because we were sleeping, until, one of my cabin mates, Ryan, woke up instantly, and sat on everybody he saw for about five seconds, then, peacefully waking up the counselors, trying to cover up his tracks. Well, it was free swim time and we had to get ready, so I slipped on my swimsuit and got my towel and headed out the door, (did you notice I forgot something, yeah, my sandals) it wasn’t halfway to the pool until I realized I forgot my sandals at the cabin, I found out by the extreme, and intense burning of my feet. Well now my feet were starting to shrivel like an over dried raisin sitting in the sun. By the time my feet were gone (ha-ha just kidding, they just hurt, a-l-o-t, a lot) so I jumped in the pool, and that pretty much did it. Pool time was boring today; I just did the norm, basketball, hot tub, shallow end, water gun fight, and more. After pool time it was lunch, yep, boring! Next was our cabin pick it, yep, it was that time already, HIGH ROPES!!!!!!! I was so excited! I was in the lead of the pack, well, this was my first year, so I was the most ecstatic. Once we got there, I had my second thoughts about all this (trust me, it’s a lot higher when you’re actually up on top). So first, I had to pass a test and complete the lowest obstacle course to prove that I had my natural god given power, my skills that kill. When I completed my five minutes journey across the ropes, I finally made it to the ZIPLINE!!!!!! At first I was so excited, but, again, I had my second thoughts, it was about fifty feet high, times two, which equals, about, well, 100 feet. Well he let me slip off, actually, he pushed me. I closed my eyes for the first second of flight, then I opened them and I was having so much fun! But soon, it was all over… when the zipline came to a stop, I had to climb down a ladder to the cement below me. I didn’t have time to do the swing because it took so long to get our whole cabin through the high ropes. So we headed back to our cabin to get unpacked and head too dinner. The night light dance was tonight and I got asked to the dance by girl named Jessie. So I ate, then we headed back to our cabin to make our glow-in-the-dark t-shirts for the dance, I put a picture of Squidward on my t-shirt, but it glowed in yellow, so, that kinda backfired a little bit. When it was time to head out to the dance, I met my date, headed to the dance, and, well, danced. So that was that. I was worn out at the end of dance so I hit the sack. That was day three and camp for all…to be continued…
Day four- I woke up to the sound of the blaring alarm of “taps” the nice, yet, extremely annoying camp song. I groaned, and finally got out of bed unwillingly. I got dressed, showered, and headed out the door to breakfast. I ate breakfast and waited for my cabin mates to show up. Then they ate, and then we headed back to the cabin for cabin time. This time we just sat around being bored and drinking soda and playing pass with the football. Then we headed to the pool for pool time and I played some water basketball then that sucked up the whole swim time. Then we had our cabin pick it. Which was archery, we headed to the archery range for some free shooting then we had a real class, that was the boring part considering that it was 90? outside. But our cabin when we got back was about 75? so that was perfect for me. Then we headed to lunch and we ate, and came back. Then we had more cabin time. We did the same exact thing. Then we just went back to the pool because we were really bored and water makes everything better, ha-ha. We played some water basketball, then we played in the hot tub for like ten minutes then we headed back to the cabin to get ready for supper. So then we went to supper then we came back for another game of football to suck up the time before we went to bed. Then I said “Why can’t we just head to the pavilion to play basketball”. Well, we did, past our curfew of 10:00 we got back around 1:00 in the morning and I was practically dead. I only got six hours of sleep………. That was day four at camp for all….. To be continued…
Day five- Again, I woke to the sound of the screaming blare of “taps” on the megaphone. I got up, got dressed, showered, (you’re starting to see a pattern here, aren’t you?) so then we headed to breakfast in the mess hall, oh god. It was morning aerobics Thursday……… ohhh god!! So I thought of that as we were walking on the burning cement layers of camp for all. So I went to breakfast and at the end people started randomly dancing to NO! Music they just got up and danced. OH………GOD! I was embarrassed, I fled the room as quick as possible incase of the chance of further embarrassment. I got to the cabin and jumped on my bed. And I lie their until the rest of the group got there. Next was the usual swim time, cabin time, lunch (luckily NO aerobics there!) so then we headed back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. And I decided to hit the sack a little early. That was day five at camp for all… to be continued…
Day six- Well, I woke and continued my daily schedule of wake up, brush teeth, shower, dress, and walk to the mess hall. I ate and then (THANK GOD!) they didn’t have anymore morning “aerobics” to “get our day started” so your day would be more “exciting”. So I walked back to the cabin with my friends and then jumped into our air conditioned cabin that was for me… perfect. I thought about my time here at camp for all and remembered it was Saturday, the last full day of camp for all. I sat there, took a nap and then it was time to go to our last swim time at the pool for a full year. I tried to make this swim time my most memorable time at their pool. I arrived there, jumped in the deep end and started playing some competitive b-ball. Then I jumped over to the other side of the pool, started playing with the spray toys and went in the hot tub for 10 minutes, and then I played basketball for the rest of the time, that was the best day ever. I got back to my cabin to decide what me and my cabin mates were going to do next, we decided on another round of high ropes. I agreed with that, because I only had one more thing to do… the swing… It was the highest, most giant swing I have ever seen, standing easily over 100 feet. I got hooked up to two cords (one extra cord for safety) they pulled me up to the top… there was no “you’ll be fine, just close your eyes, and it’ll be over” it was “3,2, GO!” well, I practically had a heart attack when I felt the cord drop me but after that second, I opened my eyes and I was flying… soon it was over, I begged to go again, finally they gave in and let me go. It all seemed so familiar the time when I was getting pulled up, getting dropped again was like I died and I came to life again instantaneously. I was flying… again… though, the feeling never died. It was over… all of a sudden… I was there…the ground. That was half of my day… to be continued…
Day six, night time- I didn’t start off with wake up this time, it started with the D.J starting a new album of Weezer on the stereo. We danced a lot and soon we had a raging dance off I was at the late night, last day, final, dance. We danced to some hip, pop, rock, and others. Soon, it was over. We had a finale, fireworks. Jessie and I walked to the hill, we were beat. We were really tired from all the dancing we had just done. Jessie brought her friends Kenzie and Megan. So we sat down, exhausted. And we lie down on the dewed grass, watching the blasts above us, the blazing stars of the fireworks above us. You could say that was one of the best days of my life…
Day seven- I was only here for the morning before my parents picked me up in their rental car, though I disagreed to save money, my dad got a black convertible Mustang (it was an extra $9 of course). It was extremely small. I got up and headed to the front of the camp and said goodbye to all my friends, picked up my sister at her cabin and we headed to the front… again… our parents were the first to come, as if they actually missed us. We packed our bags and basically said goodbye to summer. And that was my week at camp for all.