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We stood in the pouring rain, Natalie and I, our clothes covered in mud and sticking to our bodies. We knew from the start the camping trip was a bad idea.
We weren't teams players. We always stood on the sidelines and watched the other girls play their games, and make their arts and crafts. We didn't like the other girls and they just thought we were weird.
If there were a badges for Short Attention Span, Inconsistent Performance, and Lack of Motivation we would have earned them all and sewed them onto our little green vests with pride. Exactly how we would sew them on would be a mystery to us, considering we slept through the activity to earn our Handy Homemakers badge. The very few badges we did have (the necessary ones that showed our troop number, our rank, and of course, the American Flag) were being held in place by several safety pins.
Simply put, we were the worst Girl Scouts in the history of Girl Scouts.
We had been part of troop 3336 for nearly two years, and it was one of the few things keeping us together since we graduated to seperate middle schools. We had both moved to Syosset in the fourth grade; Natalie from Ohio and myself from Queens. Like neighboring trees, as we grew older our roots tangled and twisted within each other, causing a loyal and unavoidable friendship. We were both uprooted young, placed in some strange new environment, and expected to cope.
Which explained why were stuck at the Girl Scout camp for an entire weekend. It was against our will and better judgement, but as usual, we didn't have a choice in the matter.
The camp grounds were just a few miles and a hundred car ride song away from the parking lot where our mothers waved us goodbye and ordered us to have a good time. After three hundred and twenty seven bottles of beer on the wall, we finally parked in the wide barren campsite.
It was the size of a large parking lot, with half a dozen tents and a large pit where a bonfire was destined to take place. As the other girls hurried off to find their assigned tents, we stood by the bus. One of the Troop Mothers walked over to us and asked why we weren't looking for our tents and bunkmates.
"We can't find our tent," Natalie explained.
"What do you mean you can't find your tent?" The Mother asked and pointed to the circle of tents behind her. "Those are the tents. Go find your number!"
"We know, but those tents are all numbered one through six," I explained and handed her the piece of paper we were given earlier on the bus. "But ours is number seven."
The Troop Mother snatched the paper from my hand and read over it quickly. After realizing that we were correct and that our tent was no where in sight, she quickly made her way toward the Head Troop Mother and showed her our paper.
"You think they'll let us sleep in the bus?" I asked.
"I hope so, " Natalie yawned, as she adjusted her red backpack on her back. "At least it has air conditioning."
Moments later, the Head Troop Mother made her way towards us and ordered us to follow her. She led us behind the happy circle of tents, to an ostracized tent in the back corner of the campgrounds. The tent was old, battered, and by the looks of the various slits and holes, it looked as if it had gotten in a fight with a machete and lost. The Head Troop Mother reminded us that it was only for one night and assured that it wasn't as bad as it seemed and that the various slits would be great for ventilation.
When we tried to enter the tent by unzippering the front flap, it stopped halfway down, forcing us to have to resort to climbing through the tiny opening if we wanted to enter the tent. The inside of the tent reeked of the rotting wood floors. There were two soggy cots on both sides of the tent, the mattress was so bloated with rainwater that it sagged over the edges. However, The Head Troop Mother was right about one thing; the slits in the tent caused a nice, airy breeze to pass through.
After unpacking and making ourselves as comfortable as we could in our home for the night, one of the Troop Mothers stuck her head through our front opening and told us about the actives we would be rushing through that day due to the unexpected thunderstorm quickly approaching.
We spent the entire day hiking through the rain and mud. Most of the activities required jumping and climbing over things, but we knew better than to even attempt those. The downpour continued to the point where the Troop Mothers decided it was raining just a little too hard to finish off their Girl Scout Boot Camp. We were told to go back to our tents and get a good nights sleep, since we were going to be getting up early to make up for lost time.
That night, Natalie and I pushed our soggy beds to the far, driest corner of the now nearly flooding tent. Being as tired as I was, I was unconscious before my head hit my soggy pillow. It could've been five minutes later or five hours later, but suddenly I was awoken by Natalie hissing my name in the dark.
"What?" I answered, annoyed that she had woken me up.
"Caroline," she said, her voice drenched in panic. "Don't look under your bed."
"My backpack is gone, and I think an animal took it."
"Don't be stupid, there's nothing in the tent."
The moment the words left my lips, a loud scratching noise was heard from underneath my cot. We both looked at each other from across the tent, Natalie eyes then widen in horror as she looked at the head of my bed. I quickly looked over my shoulder to see a dark, black, racoon paw clawing the head of my cot. With a terrified scream, we bolted for the opening of the tent. Using both our strength combined, we managed to rip open the jammed zipper and run out of the tent from hell into the wet, dark night.
We stood in the pouring rain, Natalie and I, our clothes covered in mud and sticking to our bodies. We knew from the start the camping trip was a bad idea, however we still needed somewhere to stay. We couldn't just stand in the rain all night. Natalie decided the best thing to do would be to tell the Head Troop Mother what happened to have her figure it out, and we made our way to her tent.
"What was in your bag anyway that attracted that racoon?" I asked as we neared the tent.
"I dunno," she answered. "All I had in there were a couple of water bottles, a pack of gum, a small bag of Cracker Jacks."
"You brought Cracker Jacks in the middle of the woods?" I asked, completely dumbfounded. "No wonder the racoon came to our tent, it smelt the food!"
"Whatever, at least it got us out of that disgusting tent." Natalie quickly began to unzip the Head Troop Mother's tent opening, "All I know is, we better be awarded some sort of Girl Scout honor for this since I doubt they have a badge called, 'Racoon Tent Invasion Survival'."