Welcome to Camp Korncrow
I stared at the scenery passing by as we drove down the highway; my mom and I. The tall buildings and busy streets had long since passed us by as well as the isolated cottages, barns and fields. We were driving on a mostly isolated and hilly road surrounded by nothing but trees. The sky was a vivid blue and the scarce clouds were small, fluffy, and extremely white. I couldn’t have asked for better weather today . After all, today was the beginning of the best summer vacation of my life.
Let me explain. I’m Reese Benjamin. I’m seventeen years old; going to be eighteen next month and I’m heading to my first ever full-time summer camp. I know you might not think this is something to be so excited about but I am anyway. I’ve always wanted to go to one of these things and now’s my chance. Plus this isn’t any ordinary summer camp. This is Camp Korncrow!
It’s known for being one of the top camps in the country. It costs a fortune to get in for the six week program so I was really shocked when my mom said I could go after only bringing it up once. The camp is situated around Korncrow Lake and offers everything from Water sports to Martial Arts lessons! I’ve also heard that people from all over the world come to this place. I can’t wait to meet so many new people.
I was supposed to be coming here with my best friend Jacob but he ended up having to go to Australia for his older sister’s wedding. I guess there’s an upside to going alone. Maybe I can finally get a girlfriend. Yes I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve never even been kissed, pathetic right? But that’s why this summer is my big chance; after all summer is the best time for love right? Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
I shook my iPod to shuffle the music though I wasn’t really listening to anything; it was just to drown out the awful country music filtering out of the radio. I have no idea why my mom doesn’t change the station. She actually seems to be enjoying it! Her tastes in music were always questionable.
I kinda feel guilty about leaving my mom alone for the entire summer. She’s a lawyer so she’s usually busy but it’s always been just she and I in the apartment since my dad ditched us when I was a baby and now since I’m gone she’s probably going to be a bit lonely. I hope she finds someone this summer too. Maybe me giving her some space will give her the chance to socialize a little more.
I wonder what I’ll do when I get there. The brochure said that we’d be sleeping in cabins with one or two other roommates. I bet there are a bunch of rules that separate guys and girls and stuff. But the food is cooked by a gourmet cooking crew so that’s good. There’s also a huge pool, an arcade, a gym, the girls oh I can’t wait-
“Huh…what?” I yanked my headphones out of my ears and turned to my mom who was staring at me with a slightly irritated, concerned and amused expression. That’s when I noticed that the vehicle stopped.
“I said we’re here. What are you daydreaming about?”
“We’re…” I turned back out the window and noticed that we were indeed in the parking lot of the Campsite. A few kids and their families could be seen here and there; some saying their goodbyes, others being lectured on good behaviors and some trying to get their moms to let go and stop crying. I turned to the front and that’s when I noticed the huge wooden gates and walls. The camp seemed to stretch on for miles! And that’s just the outside! I knew this place was a couple hundred acres wide but this is ridiculous….but i'm lovin' it! I actually like exercising and taking walks. I’ve always been the outdoorsy type; not my mom though. Maybe I get it from my Dad, whoever he is.
I got out of the Jeep and took in a deep breath. The sun shone down brightly and a sweet breeze was gently blowing through the air; dancing through my hair. I was supposed to have it cut but I’m letting it grow out a little since its summer.
“Is it exciting?” My mom asked as she stood next to me and observed the Open gates that held two security guards and some camp directors who were welcoming in new kids.
“Duh!” I replied with a grin then rushed to get my bags out of the back.
“It looks just as good as the brochure said it would…are you sure this is a camp or a woodland resort?” We laughed together as I got my things.
“Don’t you mean better than the brochure?” We took the walk to the gate slowly as if we were both stalling what we knew was coming. When I got to the gate I turned to my mom who stared up at me with green eyes full of determination. Her Blond hair was also being tossed about in the breeze. It’s a good thing I got my looks from her because my mom looked beautiful no matter what. She’s pretty short though so I guess my height comes from my dad.
“Listen honey.” She placed a hand on my cheek like she always does when she wants to tell me something sappy like ‘I love you’ “I want you to have as much fun as you can out here ok? I know that things have really been stressful for you since we moved into the city last year. This is your element so I’m sure you’ll feel very relaxed.”
“Thanks mom” I placed my had over hers, “But you know…If you’re gonna feel lonely then I could always-”
“Reece Carlisle Benjamin you’re gonna say stuff like this now after I drove you all the way out here for six hours?!”
I chuckled a bit, “Nah I’d never pass this up, I was just trying to play the part of the caring son or whatever.” She slapped my arm.
“I don’t need a caring son I just need mine.” She pulled me into a hug. “I love you Reece”
“I love you too mom.” I gave her a kiss on the cheek “It’s only six weeks right? I’ll see you in no time.” I picked my bag up once more.
“If you need anything and I mean anything at all don’t hesitate to call me. And even if you don’t need anything call me once a week ok?”
“Yea yea, I know how much you can’t live without my voice.” I joked and her eyes started to water.
“Oh, my baby!” She pulled me into another much stronger hug.
“Moooom come on! Let’s not do this type of thing here! The guards are watching!” She let me go with a sigh and took a step back. “Besides maybe you should use this time alone to work on your love life or something…” I mumbled.
“Excuse me Mister I’ve-Never-Been-Kissed I do not need that kind of advice from you!” She pointed accusingly and a few girls nearby giggled.
“Mom, shut up! What are you trying to do! Look what you did, they heard you!” I started pushing her to the jeep. “I think you should go home now.”
“Ok ok… I’m sorry; have fun honey”
“You know I will…even if you did ruin all my chances with the ladies”
“Oh stop being so dramatic”
“I get it from you though...”
“Yea…” She nodded.
I waved her off as she drove away until I couldn’t see her anymore. When I turned back to those tall intimidating gates I finally felt all alone in a strange and new place. It’s amazing how the absence of a mom can do that to a guy.
Mustering up my courage I walked over to the Gates where there was a short line of people already.
“Hello My name is Ciara. Are you a new or returning camper?” A girl said to me when I got to the front. She was really cute. She had bright red hair which was most likely dyed in a low ponytail under a cap that said ‘Camp Korncrow’ a her brown eyes blinked up at me patiently and that’s when I realized I’d just been standing there.
“Oh uhm.. S-sorry yea I’m new” Great! I blew it already… Great work Reece.
“Name?” she asked as she picked up a clipboard.
“Benjamin, Reece Benjamin.”
“Ben…Oh there you are! Here you go!” She handed me a purple box. “This is your Camp Korncrow starter kit. There’s a Map, Booklet of Camp rules, Activity schedule, your Cabin key and a complimentary Flashlight.” But first, she took back the box and pinned a red rubber bracelet onto my wrist that said ‘Welcome to Camp Korncrow’ on it. “Please head into the building on your right and someone will assist you in finding your Cabin.”
“Oh, uh, thank you very much.” Wow this place is so classy.
“No problem. I’ll see you around Reece” Ciara winked at me. The service here isn’t half bad either. I walked into the building she told me to. From what I could see all the buildings were wooden and the paths were made of gravel. It looked like the buildings near the front were offices and orientation areas. The paths leading away from the front were edged by trees and bushes and I couldn’t see where they lead too…but I would soon. This place is just begging to be explored.
The building I was in now had two sofas, a ceiling fan, a large rug in the middle and a long counter on the opposite side from the front door. There was also a backdoor behind the counter but no one was in here.
“Hello…?” I called out to make sure. When I got no response I slung my bags onto the sofas and starting taking a look around. The wall behind the counter was decorated with different group photos... I guess from the different years the camp has been running for or something? Each person either had on a Purple, red, or white Polo/T-shirt with the Camp logo on it. It’s only natural since these were the camp colors. The backdoor suddenly slammed open and I jumped a little.
“I’m sorry were you waiting long? I really had to use the washroom.”
“Nah it’s ok I was only here for a moment.”
“Thank goodness there’s only one...” The Guy who just came running in let out a sigh. He stood up tall and stretched a little. He wasn’t as tall as me; a couple inches shorter I think. But he had a good body build and a healthy tan; I guess he exercised a lot. He had brown eyes like that Ciara girl but his hair was short and Brown. He also had on a fitted purple Tee like that Ciara. He was an overall good-looking guy I’d say... Not that I swing that way or anything. “Oh I’m Diego Ramirez by the way.” He held out his hand. “Don’t worry I washed them”
“I’m Reece Benjamin” I shook his hand with a smile. He seemed like a fun guy and he had a slight accent as well. “Excuse me, are you Spanish?”
He responded in Spanish so I just stared.
He laughed. “I said yes I’m surprised you noticed so quickly”
“Hardly…You roll your r’s when you talk and the accents not strong but it’s still there…plus your last name dude…”
He just smiled. “You’re very observant Reece Benjamin. I like you already. Well let’s get going then.” He took one of my bags and I took the other. “What number did your Cabin Key have?”
“Uh…I dunno. I never checked.” He led me through the backdoor and outside where a red golf kart was parked.
“Well check now” He loaded my bags onto the back of the Kart and I opened the box; pulling out a silver skeleton key with a large Key-chain.
“It says… B25” I stared at him then the key then back at him when I noticed the weird look he was giving me. “…What?”
“That’s my room number! We’re Cabin buddies!” He hopped into the driver’s seat and patted the spot next him.
“Oh ok...That’s cool I guess.” I really didn’t have a problem with it. Diego seemed like a really fun guy and all but there was just something about him that made me feel kinda weird. I didn’t get it at all.
It was my first ride on a golf kart and I had to say I was enjoying it immensely. The wind felt so good against my face. The scenery was pretty awesome too. To get to the lodging area we apparently had to drive through the Site but I only got to see what was in my immediate view. It looked like there was a clear area with a bunch or spread out benches where some kids were already chilling and getting to know each other. I spotted the lounge and a glimpse of the pool as well. But most importantly the lake was even more beautiful than I imagined. It was huge as well. We drove on a path alongside it for a bit until we stopped at a fork in the road. Each path had a sign posted next to it. ‘Male Lodging’ ‘Female Lodging’
“So I probably don’t need to tell you that boys aren’t allowed onto the girl’s side at night but no one takes that rule seriously so if you do go over there I won’t penalize you; even though I am an assistant Coordinator here. It’s ok during the day though…” We started driving down the male side.
“Thanks…But doesn’t that mean you could get penalized if I told someone you were doing this?” The Kart jerked a bit a Diego stared at me worried brown eyes. I laughed. “Don’t worry I’m not that kinda guy.”
“Don’t say stuff like that amigo; seriously…” The rest of the ride to our Cabin was relatively quiet. Except for the boys who already arrived and were running and playing about the compound. I could see many people who were just getting acquainted and introducing themselves for the first time…that could be me soon. My pulse was starting to beat faster as the thoughts of many new experiences started surging through my mind.
“We’re here” Diego announced as he parked the Kart.
“I’ve been meaning to ask…is this Kart yours?”
“Not exactly” He helped me with my bag. “I have authority to drive one because of my position but I don’t have a specific one that I drive. Just which ever free one I see really… All the Karts use the same key so I can just hop on to anyone I want.”
“Does that mean that another assistant coordinator in the area could just swipe this one if he felt like it?”
“I guess…But we don’t really do that…We usually ask unless it’s an emergency, then we return them.” I nodded at the information as we walked into the room.
“Whoa…” The room was really spacious. There were three single beds, one at each wall, a mini fridge, two closets and a door leading to what I guessed was the bathroom. “This is sweet.”
“Isn’t it? I already took this bed so you can take whichever really…I don’t think we’ll be having a third buddy.”
He shrugged, “The person who would’ve been here cancelled their registration.” Jacob…? I shrugged as well.
“Well cool. I don’t mind it being just us.”
“Yea me neither...”
For a while we said nothing to each other. I was busy putting away my stuff and getting settled in while Diego seemed to be texting away on his phone. Granted he did ask to help me but I turned him down.
“Hey…There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.” I said when I was done.
“How’d you become an assistant coordinator anyway?”
He sat up. “Oh that… I’ve been coming here for three years now so I know the people. I asked if they needed any help last year, they gave me this job and I’m doing it again this year as well.
“Wait, Three years? How old are you?!”
“Nine- You’re two years older than me? How’s that even possible.” I stood up and walked over to him and he stood up as well, “Look at our height differences!”
“Hey! I come from a family of short people ok?”
“You’re not just short you’re face is way too cute to be older than me. I thought you were at least my age if not younger.”
“Cu- I am not Cute! I am smokin' hot to say the least!” He glared on with a pout that kind of made the glare less effective. I ended up giving him a once over. He was attractive but he was still cute no matter what- wait…what kind of thoughts am I even having? I took a step back because we were way too close.
“Yea, sure…” I turned and walked back to my bed. When did we get so close? “You look young for your age, I get it. we don’t need to continue this.” He looked really flustered and embarrassed but he just fell back on to his bed with his phone in his face again; mumbling something or another in Spanish.
The Cabin got really silent and awkward after that, or maybe it was just me. Soon after music started flowing in from the window so I curiously went outside to see what was going on. Someone in the Cabin two down from ours set up a speaker which was blasting pop music while a group of guys were break dancing on the gravel.
“Oh looks like Collin is back this year.” Diego said which surprised the hell out of me. When did he get behind me like that?
“You know these guys?”
“Kinda. There’s a friend of mine over here who does this kinda stuff. He’s also an AC this year he’s helping out with Dance instruction. See the one with the Purple uniform? That’s him”
“Do all assistants where that?”
“Yea and Coordinators wear red. Normal guys like you have whites; yours should be in the closet or something.” Suddenly I was being pulled down the steps and towards the group. “Come I’ll introduce you.”
The boy named Collin turned to face us. He was toned with Dark hair, skin and eyes. He also had a deep dimple on one cheek. “Dee? I thought you guys weren’t gonna make it this time.”
“Change of plans” Diego said simply. They shared a bro hug and then the introductions started. “So this is Reece. My new Cabin buddy”
“Sup Reece” We bumped fists. “Do you dance?”
“But you can?” He asked this time; I just shrugged. I wasn’t a horrible dancer but it wasn’t really my thing either. I don’t think I had a ‘thing’.
“What about you Dee? I know you can dance but are you up for a little Dance off right now? Just me and you?”
“Oh no maybe some other time…”
“Come on Dee~ just something entertaining to start off the summer!” The other guys started encouraging him too. But he turned to me.
“Do you think I should do it?” Why was he asking me though? It’s his life.
“Uh…sure why not?”
That seemed to satisfy him though. “Ok let’s go.”
Someone started a pop song mix and Collin went first. His moves were superb. You could tell that he really loved to dance. Then it was Diego’s turn and he was…He was Amazing. His Dancing was beautiful and fun. He even threw in some handstand move. But what shocked everyone was when they both joined to do a coordinated and synchronized dance on the spot. How they heck? How do they know what to do?
When they were done everyone clapped including me. It was actually more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
“How’d you guys do that at the end?” I asked Diego.
“It’s a secret” he said with a wink.
“No it isn’t” Collin shoved him aside. We made that routine together last year. When I noticed he started doing it I just joined in.
Diego Glared. “Couldn’t you just let me look cool?”
“Nothing’s cool about relying on previous routines Dee…”
“I only did that because I wanted you to join me and you did.”
“Yea ri-” BEEP BEEP BEEP.
Diego pulled out a pager from his pocket and so did Collin. They exchanged a brief look.
“Ok everyone! The Opening ceremony will begin shortly please find your way into the auditorium. It’s the large building highlighted green on your maps for those who are new here though you could just follow the crowd…”
“Come on, vamonos!” Diego Ordered.
“Everybody let’s go~!” Collin chimed in.
“Come on let’s get to it!” I have no idea why I added that part
“Would you guys stop with the fucking Dora!” Some dude nearby yelled. And we just about exploded in laughter. I really was starting to enjoy it here and it’s only been about an hour. Maybe I’m being so spontaneous because of my surroundings. I would have never done this back home. The city is too depressing most of the time. But here…I felt like I was a trapped bird being let out of a cage. And this summer I was going to fly wherever my heart took me.
Did I proof read this? No. Should I? Most definitely. But later..
When I see Diego, I see.. A young Francisco Lachowski