Lessons in Anxiety
This weekend, before going on my own vacation, my nephew had STEM camp for the Cub Scouts. In the days leading up to the camp, we were given some very detailed information…for the overnight camp. Nowhere in the information packet did it tell us where to go when we got to camp, what time to arrive, to whom to speak…nothing.
I tried calling, but of course it's a camp so there's no one in the office. Literally at the 11th hour, I get an email with a vague description of a Dutch Hex Sign to look for and a moderately condescending "relax" from the camp director.
Cool. Cool. Coolcoolcool.
We arrive on the first day and the place we turned was NOT the place to go. Great. We figure out that we're supposed to be further down the road. Pull up and ask the first person we see where we need to go…met with a lot of blank stares and shrugs because THERE'S NOT AN ADULT IN SIGHT. In this situation, I have at least 20 years on everyone that is within a visual radius. Random teenager tells me he thinks we need to be up the hill. Awesome. They send us walking up the hill with very little direction and we come up to a camp with tents and…you guessed it. More teenagers.
Listen. The Boy Scouts are not going to let a bunch of teenagers be in charge of little children in the woods if they don't know how to take care of them. I get it. Every camp ever has teenagers doing the heavy lifting. The problem I do have, is when I can't find an adult and none of the teenagers seem to know what the heck is going on.
So. We walk up and ask if we're in the right place for STEM day camp. Uh…they guess so? They were just told to check kid in. Because I'm perpetually early we're the only people there and I'm sure as hell not leaving Nephew with four teenagers in the woods.
Side bar: I realized that I spent too much time in a big city AND that I read too many murder mysteries. I understand that this colors my narrative of the world. That being said, it really just goes against my nature to leave my nephew alone in the woods with no other kids and people he's never met. Even if it's already clear in about ten minutes of conversation that he's MUCH smarter than any of them.
Finally others start to arrive and I stick around until another parent asks if there's anything we need to do or if we're OK to go. I make sure Nephew is OK and I take off. But wait, what time should I pick him up? When I asked, it was 4 and to pick him up back at camp. When the other parent asked…it was 5pm at the pavilion. Super.
Showed up around 430 and the kids were at the pavilion doing since experiments. In getting ready to leave, I asked what time we should be back and where should we go. I get a moderate answer of "I think here at 9". Sigh. OK
Show up Sunday morning and there are just people milling about. WHERE ARE THE G-D ADULTS? I recognized one of the parents from the day before who I knew had stayed overnight. I asked one of the random people in maroon who are supposed to know what's happening…and he says he'll keep an eye on Nephew. Doesn't occur to me until I'm in my car that he failed to ask what nephew's name is. No sooner am I driving away than I see Nephew literally wandering off with one of the other kids and sans adult.
I pulled over and reminded them to stay together. I mean, they had a destination and they were hollering for another group to wait up. He's not going to get lost, but he might get left behind. And Nephew…sometimes he's really brave. Other times he's shy and timid and incredibly nervous.
All of things these together messed with my anxiety in a bad kind of way. I came very close to having a panic attack leaving him without adults present. I understand that this might just be how they do things around here but I kept imagining him sitting in the pavilion sad and scared because he got separate from the group or left behind when he went to the restroom or something. It's frustrating that the adults that I did come across eventually were so lackadaisical about everything. Maybe it's just me. I don't get it.
You tell me, am I over anxious on this? Or is this legitimately ridiculous?
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