I know. It's long. I'm sorry. But it's a good one.
I went to Outdoor Ed on Monday, came back today. It was a lot of fun, because I was up there with 10 other High School Leaders, and we were all really close. Or more accurately, we became really close, compared to Outdoor Ed Training, where I didn't feel particularly welcome with most of the cliques that had formed. But this was different, all the Leaders were really cool and nice. I enjoyed be around any of them (except for one, but he wasn't someone I hated, or even particularly disliked, being around, so it was still cool).
Also, the Staff and Teachers were really cool. They treated us like peers and totally respected what we said and they were just really great, compared, again, to Outdoor Ed Training, which is more like Outdoor Ed for high schoolers, and random interjections of "When the 6th graders are here..." or "When you do this with the 6th graders..." They were really the leaders, just showing us what we'd be doing later as leaders ourselves. Which isn't bad, I thought training was fun, but I liked being a peer to the teachers and staff.
And there were, of course, 6th graders! They can be split off into 3 groups. There were the good kids, who never really acted out and followed directions. There were the bad kids who did some really stupid stuff that I had to call them out on, and they probably got in trouble for it. And there were the annoying kids who didn't do anything wrong, necessarily, but got on my nerves. A lot.
So at Outdoor Ed, the 6th graders get split up into 3-4 difficulty levels, based on the hike. We had the Alpine group, who take an 8 hour hike on the 2nd day. We had the Alpine-Light/ Montane-Heavy/ Montane Plus/ Montane 1 (which is the official name)/ Pategonia, who take the short Alpine hike. This is not a real group, but one that this particular group had to make up because they had so many kids who wanted to be in Alpine. The Pategonia group took the hike that usually the Alpine group takes when there's really really bad weather out. It's not as long as the regular hike, but it's steeper. We also had the Montane 2 group, who took a regular 2 hourish hike, and the Foothill group who took a hike that was 15 minutes shorter than Montane.
Usually the HSL's get split up, too, to watch over those kids the whole time they're up there. But while I was up there, I got to balay on the highropes the whole time :D It was more than a little awesome. The kids were really good (mostly. We'll get to the one who wasn't in a minute) and they all tried the high ropes. Most of them went all the way across, and only a few didn't make it past the ladder.
Yesterday, after all the 6th graders went, some of the HSL's wanted to go again, since the last time any of them went was during training. We had Leticia, Val and Nate go, and G balayed for Val and Nate, because they would've had me rise off the ground a little. But I got to balay Leticia, which was cool. She went all the way across, and then when she started going down, we gave her the chance to do a Spiderman, where you flip your legs upside down. She tried a little, and I had breaked her line so she could get it, but it was hard and she decided she didn't want to, so I start letting her come down again.
But, I'm actually going to back track about an hour to one group where there was this one particular kid. Let's call him Donovan. I never really liked that name, anyway. G had told all the kids not to stand on the platform unless you were the rope holder, because that's where the balayers walk and it's kinda annoying to dodge around other kids or to run into them all the time or to have them dodging out of your way. Now Donovan, he kept standing on the platform by where I was, obsessed with being the rope holder, which he had already been once, like all the other kids. "Can you get off please?" "Can you get off?" "Can you stay off?" "Get off." And there was one point where I was joking around a little with my rope holder, telling him I was going to fire him if he didn't pick up the slack (both idiomatically and literally haha). Donovan jumps up right away with "You're fired! Give me the rope!" me- "No. He's fine. Get off my platform."
Now. Back to Leticia. I was letting her down since she didn't want to do the Spiderman. Apparently, though, Donovan was pretty sure that she would have to do it, so he says "No. She has to" and he grabs my rope. Yep. Grabs. My. Rope. I turn to him. "That is not ok ever. I hope you do not think I won't tell your teacher about this." He lets go with an "ok" or a "sorry," I'm not really sure which, and a kinda shocked "oh crap" look on his face. I'm thinking he said "ok," though.
Ooh. That was bad. I told his teacher, and she had me go with him when they talked to him about it. They asked him why I might be upset with him. He knew the answer, as I had told him earlier that I would be telling his teachers, and he owned up to it, at least. "Because I grabbed the rope." They went on about Yeah, and he should know better, especially since he's a boy scout. That's right. A boy scout grabbed my rope while I was balaying. They told him that since that was his 2nd warning that day (he had been throwing pine needles at a girl earlier), he would have to call his parents and if anything else happened, he would be sent home.
Which actually leads me to a short story about one of the good kids, who thought he was in trouble. At night, there are 6 sections that the kids rotate around in. They were set in groups of about 20 and given a name and cycled through 3 stations a night. One of the staff would teach a station-- the Star Lab-- and 5 of the HSL's lead/supervised the rest-- cat eye hike, "Lost in Space," puzzle making, campfire, and group games. Then the remaining 6 HSL's had a specific group they stuck with the whole night to make sure they didn't get lost or anything.
One of the kids in my group, (I cycled with the wolves,) was hanging out with the kids who didn't really want to be participating and so they were sorta messing around, so that's what I figured this kid would do. But no, actually he surprised me and he was really participative (if that's a word) and really enthusiastic about it. He was very good. So I told one of his teachers the next day, that there was this kid named Brandon, but I didn't know his last name, so I just described him, and he was really good and he surprised me. There were other good kids, too, but he didn't look like he'd be good, and he was. She didn't know who I was talking about, so she asked me to point him out. I hadn't seen him all day, though, until we got in line for dinner, and then I saw him standing in line, wearing his name tag, and I was wrong. His name is not Brandon.
So as they all left, the teacher stayed behind until the last 6ish kids were walking off, and so I tagged behind, too, to let her know that his name was actually Dominic. Psh. Brandon, Dominic. They're practically the same.
She knew exactly who I was talking about. "Oh, yeah yeah yeah, Little Dominic! Long, brown hair! I know who you mean! Ok, thanks for letting me know." And then when we had our night groups again, we're walking to the puzzles (which were our first rotation for that night) and Dominic comes up to me "Hey, Bridget. Listen, I'm sorry that I was kinda a jerk last night." Oh yeah, no proble-- wait. He wasn't a jerk. What did the teacher say to him?
So here's what I'm thinking. I think one of the 6ish kids who was behind when I told the teacher that his name was Dominic, not Brandon, was one of his friends, and told him I just got him in trouble. Oops, haha. It was nice, in a sad way though, how he came back to apologize for something he didn't do.