I just got back from Camp Costanoan, a retreat for students with disabilities. Because many of my classmates have been there, my parents decided to sign me up so that I could experience it as well. This was my first time being away from the rest of my family for an extended period of time, so it was a pretty big challenge for me.
Mom and Dad dropped me off at the camp in the afternoon. I was a little nervous at first, so my parents did their best to convince me that everything would be all right. They went home after making sure I could check in, and so began my adventure.
I was introduced to my counselor Andy after signing in. He was very nice and made me feel more comfortable. I soon met the other kids and their counselors in our group, and we spent the rest of the afternoon getting acquainted with each other. One of the students in the group was a guy named Brian who sounded a bit like a girl and acted a lot like one. He seemed rather friendly at first, although he definitely gave me the creeps.
There was a dance in the evening, and I got to swing dance with my friend Chelsea. While I absolutely suck at dancing, this was by far the best part of camp. I'm usually shy around girls, but it wasn't much of a problem as Chelsea and I are in the same class and know each other pretty well.
It was rather late when the dance ended, so we went to bed shortly afterwards. I had trouble sleeping at first because I wasn't used to being in an unfamiliar place away from my parents. The fact that I was sharing the cabin with all those strange people didn't help the issue. After what seemed like hours, I was finally able to doze off with the reassurance from a counselor.
Saturday was long and tedious. There wasn't much to do aside from the group activities, so I spent most of my free time hanging out with Andy and the other counselors. Brian later joined us for a few games of cops and robbers some time after lunch, which was was a great way to kill time.
I wish I could say that all was well, but this unfortunately not the case. Things went downhill in the afternoon, when one of the counselors started picking on me. I don't quite remember his name, but I think it was Derek or something similar. In any case, that guy was a complete asshole. He made me so upset that I was about to bash his head in with a rock when another counselor talked me out of it. I'm rather glad I didn't follow through as I would probably have gotten into huge trouble otherwise.
I later bumped into Brian again in the cabin. This encounter was less than pleasant: he accused me of peeking at him while he got dressed, and then threatened to do something bad to me. I don't understand why anyone on Earth would want to peek at creepy naked guys. Let's just say my positive impression of him just went out the window.
The evening ended with an art workshop of sorts. It wasn't that interesting, but I nevertheless took the time to appreciate other people's talents. The good news is that I was also able to reconcile with Derek. All I had to do was tell him that I didn't like what he was doing, and he apologized for his actions. That worked like a charm; I guess violence really isn't the answer after all.
It was then time for bed again. Having gotten more used to the environment, I was able to sleep much better.
This was the last day of camp. The program ended well before noon, so it wasn't long before parents started picking their kids up. The staff put on Disney's Hercules in the meantime, and we were about halfway through the movie when Mom and Dad showed up. I was extremely glad to see them again, and they were obviously very eager to see me as well. Mom went as far as counting how many hours she had to wait before she could pick me up, and she even considered sneaking to the camp to make sure I was safe. Too hilarious.
Camp Costanoan certainly had its ups and downs. The highlight of the program was last Friday's dance, which was loads of fun. It was also nice to get to know the other campers and their counselors. Speaking of which, I'll have to admit that some of the kids really creeped me out. I was actually afraid to use the shower out of fear that someone would steal my clothes, and ended up being a stinkin' pile of sweat by the time camp was over. Come to think of it, I was probably a little paranoid.
However, the worst part of camp was when Derek kept making fun of me, which really pissed me off. You'd think a counselor would know better than that. I cannot fathom why Camp Costanoan would hire a jerk like him. Perhaps it's karma, considering that I've done my fair share of picking on Andy too. :\
On the bright side, Derek was an anomaly that did not represent the other counselors, most of whom were decent people. I guess I'm very lucky I wasn't assigned to him.
To be honest, the negative experiences have somewhat put me off. This isn't to say that Camp Costanoan is bad; it's actually a great place to meet new people, not to mention that most of the staff are extremely nice. That having been said, I may be interested in going there again when I'm older. But for the time being, I prefer family vacations. :-)
Currently watching: Hercules
Release date: June 27, 1997