My Dude Tony!



I had the luck of interacting with a few of “those” kids this summer, they turned out to be highlights in my summer experience. “Those” kids are the kids that can’t sit through meals, that can’t keep their hands to themselves, and when you ask them to do anything it takes a little longer than you thought it could, and man are you in trouble if you TELL them to do anything. I think I look for, and in the end tend to like these guys better because they are often a little harder to get to join your team but once they are committed they are some of the most loyal and become the most attached when it comes time to say goodbye at the end of the week. Jack is great at winning these tough guys over, but often does it in strange ways.

My dude Tony stretched the limits of camp this summer and he and Jack became the best of friends. Tony was struggling to fit in to his cabin and was targeted by his counselors at the beginning of the week as being an instigator, a trouble maker. Maybe even a “bad kid” if no one was around to hear. One of the biggest mistakes that I made this summer was not bothering to interact and get to know Tony and his motives before I gave his mother/ grandmother a call to try and front load to her as well as gain some tactics for working with Tony. Turns out Tony was looking to belong just like every other kid in the cabin, but was but he had a louder and more scattered way of seeking that attention. At one point Jack and I were both up at the Arts and Crafts Pavillion. I was walking Tony up to rejoin his morning activity and Jack met us outside, he knew a bit about Tony at this point and knew that he really didn’t want to go sit quietly and make nature crafts, which to be honest is boring even if you have the rare focus gene. Jack called Tony over and picked up a rock; he then proceeded to throw it in to the woods. Tony’s jaw dropped. Not only had a rule just been broken but it had been broken by the headmaster of rules himself. Jack smirked and then gave the go ahead nod to Tony who picked up his own rock and threw it gingerly, still a little confused, into the woods. This simple gesture gave Tony a reason to stay at camp and Jack quickly became his favorite. It was the fact that Jack was willing to let Tony in on a secret, an inside joke. I’m not sure if Jack actually thought out his brilliant move or if like Tony he just struggles to follow rules himself.

After, we realized that the double standards and the rules to stay with in the lines had been suffocating Tony but now that he knew that he had someone on his side he went right along with his cabin and participated in the activities, sat through skits and listened to his counselors instructions.   That day during nature crafts Tony made Jack a warm fuzzy, it said “You Rock” and had a small rock glued to the piece of construction paper.