Views and Reviews

Wednesday, June 26th, 2024

LAKE VERONICA circa 3:00pm—The road to Lake Veronica begins near the Camp office, cuts across a cow pasture, and winds up the hill past downtown Hogville (see: Hog Farm Commune). Rounding a corner the lake is suddenly visible through an opening of cattails. My ultimate destination lies on the opposite side where I can faintly make out a throng of other lake-goers. I continue along the gravely easement, taking note of the blackberry progress. Still a few more weeks.

The path terminates triumphantly on a hillside overlooking the lakefront shoreline. A picnic table and a large shade structure serve as the dry land focal point. Waterlogged campers scurry around it with awkward strides; the tough grass demands careful footsteps. I commit my belongings to a wooden cubby and descend the stairs into the chilly water. I duck under the buoyed rope which marks the edge of the shallow end and push out into the sparkling void.

A corridor of lily pads ushers me towards the lake’s center where floats a small wooden raft. Campers clamber on to the raft and jump off in a continuous stream of activity while Lifeguard Shakon stoically looks on, his whistle and buoy ready to be deployed at any moment. The raft canters each time a someone jumps off, causing Shakon and the others standing on the raft to sway in unison. I veer to the right out of the way of swimmer traffic to float on my pool noodle and admire the scenery. The sun is uninhibited from its high angle, causing the shoreline flora to shimmer blazing green.

After a few tranquil minutes I paddle back to land and dry off at the aforementioned picnic table. An afternoon snack of graham crackers and fruit has since been dropped off during my dip, and campers now line up to get their paper cupfuls. I crack open my journal to review my blog notes. Earlier today I spent some time gathering camper reviews of last night’s program, Teacher Talent Night, wherein counselors vie for popularity by performing dazzling feats of circus skill. The campers this session responded very positively to the event, as evidenced by the 4.9 out of 5 star average.

“It’s hard for aerials to not be my favorite,” said Hana, 13, of Ultra Violet Tipi. “The routines are so impressive and they have so much skill.”

“I’ve never respected clowning before; I thought it was just people running around being stupid,” continued Hana. “But the clowns were so skilled! When they were pretending to sing while slowly letting air out of balloons, I was laughing out loud—a newfound appreciation. 4.9 out of 5 stars.”

“I think improv is really impressive,” said Cali, 13, also from Ultra Violet. “The ability to think of something, it’s investing. There was this one part where someone received a ‘Tickle-Me-My-Little-Pony’ toy as a present, and when they tickled it, it whimpered ‘Help me’ like it was a trapped soul.”

“I think the dance act was really cool,” continued Cali. “The choreography fit the music perfectly. I don’t know the song, something about emotions. Very vivid and upbeat. 5 out of 5 stars.”

“I really liked the acrobatics act,” said Maya, 11, of the Gold Tipi. “First there was ‘acro-rats’, then ‘acro-cats’ and finally acro-bats! They all made a human tower and I thought they might fall over a little bit but I wasn’t scared. 5 out of 5 stars. Very spectacular. Would recommend.”

“I really liked the juggling,” said Cora, 9, of the Yellow Tipi. “There was glow-in-the-dark juggling pins for the finale and I think they even were throwing under-the-leg throws. Two of them were throwing pins to each other with another guy standing in the middle and they didn’t hit him! They were perfectly in sync with each other. They probably had to practice a long time. 5.5 stars out of 5. Super cool!”

“The tightrope act, they were really good,” said Viva, 9, of the Orange Tipi. “They did all these tricks on that tiny string! They did it on one leg, they did it backwards, and if they fell, they just tried again. The costumes were colorful and fun. I think I will definitely try it today. 5 out of 5 stars.”

“Stilts was funny and well planned-out,” said Poppy, 12, of the Blue Tipi. “They did a fashion show and it was so goofy that it was suave. They were very confident in their stilt walking. I’ve tried it before so I can appreciate the skill that goes in to it. 5 out of 5 stars.”

“Unicycles was really cool,” said Danika, 9, of the Sky Blue Tipi. “It seems pretty hard. I liked when they all held on to a juggling ring and went around in a circle. Also when they rode at each other in opposite directions, it looked like they were gonna crash but they didn’t. 5 out of 5 stars.

“The puppets were very silly,” said Natalina, 8, of the Lime Tipi. “They were lip-syncing a song and the main puppet had a long tongue hanging out. Some of the puppets were wagging their heads. It reminded me of when I was a little kid, like when I was 4. I was silly back then, but I’m even sillier now. That’s why I like puppets.”

“The songwriting act sounded like a real song!” said Emma, 8, also from Lime. “It sounded like a song that was made a long time ago. I’m gonna say it sounded like ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry’. It was happy and sad. Made me feel warm inside.”

“I enjoyed the chaos that was controlled yet hectic,” said Sebastian, 13, of the Flame Tipi. “It’s a metaphor for Camp in general.”

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor