Amazing Kids! Magazine

My 3-Day School Camp

By Aazan Ahmad, age 15, Seoul, South Korea

 

I’m going to be honest here; I had mixed feelings about the school camp. I was standing inside a subway station with my mom and sister, anticipating the arrival of my two teachers. I kept on pleading with my mom that I wanted to go home. I even promised her that I would go on a school camp next year. My mom said that I’m in 9th grade and going to a 3-day school camp would be a great experience. When my two teachers arrived, my sister and I said our goodbyes to Mom and off we went to camp. During the whole subway ride, I was perturbed about the camp; I thought it was going to be extremely boring. However, when I got there, I realized how wrong I was.

Not-exactly-rearing-to-go: I waved goodbye to mom, trying to be happy about going to camp

Not-exactly-rearing-to-go: I waved goodbye to mom, trying to be happy about going to camp

When we arrived at our last subway stop, we had to walk all the way up the hill to where our campsite was. By the time we were inside the entrance, I was exhausted. My teacher said that the church was not where we would be staying; so to my dismay, we had to keep on walking. Finally, we arrived at our campsite; it was almost 2:00 P.M. I saw my friend we both went inside the boys’ cabin.

Before I continue my story, let me explain how our school camping arrangements in South Korea are different from the school camping arrangements in America. In America school campers would most likely be sleeping either inside their tents or on their beds. However, in South Korea, school campers (our American school students), were sleeping on a mattress on the floor. The pillows were hard and uncomfortable, so I brought my own pillow.

Now, let me get back to the story. Once I rested and talked with my buddy, I climbed up the tiny stairs and claimed a spot on the top floor. Since I get cold easily, my friend had advised me to sleep on the top floor. The air conditioner’s air blew on the bottom floor first before it spread to the entire room. On the top floor, I figured that I could sleep close to the stairs, because not only would it be easier for me to get down the stairs, but also because it would take a while for the air conditioner’s air to cool my side of the floor. I got a mattress and quilt to fill my spot. Then after putting my backpack next to my pillow, I decided to go out and explore.

While some students from sixth to twelfth grade were arriving, I walked around and talked with some other friends. I told my teachers that I was enjoying myself and didn’t have a bad attitude anymore about the camp. They all were glad and told me to keep having a great time. In a couple of minutes or so, the teachers had us all sit inside a room, which was near the boys’ cabin. One of the teachers told us some basic camp rules and told us to turn in our phones. He encouraged us to have fun and at the same time be safe. Before we were dismissed, he pointed out that the team list and the camp schedule were posted inside the boys’ and girls’ cabins. I ran inside the boys’ cabin, looked at the team list and found out I was placed in Team A.

In a few minutes both teams had assembled. We had a water gun fight; I was splashed only once. Even though I was very wet, I was too happy to mind and getting wet helped me cool off. It was also very hot outside, which would dry my clothes in a few minutes. During the water gun fight, the teacher told the students to stop filling up their water guns because the bathrooms got flooded and muddy. Instead of playing something else, some students found a loophole – they filled their water guns from the water cooler. The teacher was furious when he found out about it. We were out of drinking water. Upon inquiring about the water refill, the teacher said that the water bottle for the cooler would arrive tomorrow because the managers don’t expect to finish a whole water bottle in less than a whole day. He also told me that there’s another water cooler a little bit further from our cabins. So, I excused myself and went over to that location to fill up my water bottle.

Kid’s Play: During free time, I played for a while with my teacher’s son

Kid’s Play: During free time, I played for a while with my teacher’s son

After a few minutes or so, we ate ice-cream. One of my friends had a birthday, so his mom brought ice-cream for everyone. Most of the students, including me, wished him a happy birthday. At 5:30 P.M. we went down to the cafeteria for supper. Fortunately, since my sister and I don’t really eat Korean food, our parents brought us burgers and French fries. No one really made a big deal out of it, because they knew we didn’t eat a whole lot of Korean food. After I was done eating, I went back up to the campsite. After I grabbed my toothbrush and paste from my backpack, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.

Then it was time for devotions. We had devotion time for about thirty minutes. Next on the agenda was the scavenger hunt. We all had to go down to the cafeteria to wait, while some members of the student council started setting up the camp area. Since I was a ninth grade class representative this year, I asked if my assistance was needed, but my teacher, one of the two student council advisers, said there were already an adequate number of organizers. So I chatted and played Uno and other games with my friends to pass the time.

Roll-the-ball: Some boys were playing soccer, while I played football with others

Roll-the-ball: Some boys were playing soccer, while I played football with others

After the scavenger hunt was set up, only eight members of each team could go at a time. Sadly, the scavenger hunt didn’t go as planned – the plan looked so much better on paper than in reality. At school, I did suggest that the scavenger hunt should be in the afternoon, not at night because it would be hard to see, especially because there would not be any lampposts lit. However, the student council officers stated that the point of the scavenger hunt is to scare the hunters, which they later admitted was a little dangerous. Finally, we had two choices: we could either eat Ramen, the instant Korean noodles, or we could go back up to our campsite and get ready for bed. I chose the second option.

Once I arrived, I changed into my pajamas and laid down on my mattress with a quilt over me. After everyone arrived, the teacher turned the lights off at exactly 11:30 P.M. He told us that he and another teacher would be staying with us to make sure we didn’t cause any trouble. In a few minutes or so, I fell asleep, despite the fact that some of the boys were snoring.

The next day, I woke up at about 4:30 A.M., which was my plan, because I wanted to shower in peace. After I got my clothes and my towel, I woke my teacher up to let him know that I was going to the bathroom to shower. When I got there, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who had that bright idea; there were already some boys in there, each taking a shower. I asked if there were less than nine boys in there. One of them replied that there were only seven boys. I smiled and after taking my clothes off, I went in and covered my shower spot with a curtain, like the rest of the boys did, to let others know that the spot was occupied.

After taking a quick ten-minute shower, I dried myself and put on my new clothes. One of the boys generously left his hair dryer for other boys to use, so they didn’t catch a cold. After I dried my hair and my towel, I put my towel and clothes in a plastic bag. Then I went to my cabin to put the plastic bag in my bag pack. Afterwards, I walked around the campsite for some fresh air. At 8:00 A.M, we went down to the cafeteria for breakfast. The school office said that there would be pancakes, but they were wrong, unfortunately. So, I had to eat some Korean rice for breakfast.

Delicacies: My teacher’s breakfast plate, I only chose to eat some rice.

Delicacies: My teacher’s breakfast plate, I only chose to eat some rice.

After everyone was done eating, we had a team contest on Bible knowledge; My team won! After the contest we had a forty-five-minute devotion time. After we had devotion time, we were allowed to have some leisure time. I went back to my cabin to write in my journal and later played football with some friends. Then we had my favorite part-of-the-day activity: magic show. I was in a very exuberant mood, when I heard we were going to watch a magic show because I have enjoyed watching magic shows ever since I was a toddler. To my dismay the teachers told us that we would have lunch first and then we would watch a magic show. So, we all went down to the cafeteria for lunch.

For lunch I ate a salad, which consisted of corn, macaroni, carrots, and cream all over it. It was quite delicious and was the only thing I preferred eating for lunch. After lunch I was very enthusiastic to go back up to the campsite and watch the magic show. The magician did a lot of cool tricks; he made a huge wand appear from his handkerchief, changed the colors of his two handkerchiefs by putting them in his hat, and after he ate a tissue paper, he pulled out a very long piece of confetti from his mouth. We all cheered and clapped at his neat performance!

After the magic show was over, we had time to ourselves to do whatever we like. I wrote a little bit in my journal and read a book in my cabin. Then I went out to help a sixth-grade teacher, who was once my summer school teacher, set up the field for team activities. Then two of the teachers brought bags of peanut-related snacks and Pringles for everyone. Since I’m allergic to peanuts, I chose to eat Pringles for a snack. When the group games began, some students were excited, while other students had a bad attitude. At first my feelings were neutral, but once I started participating, I was laughing and smiling. After the team activities, a teacher led our prayers before dinner and then we went down to the cafeteria to eat.

My parents brought two boxes of pizza for my sister and me; they also gave us each a bag of crisps and three cans of juices. Some of the students made kind of made a big deal out of it, but later got absorbed into their own conversations. After we finished eating we went back to the campsite to begin an indoor activity – a singing competition.

Terrified: I looked a little bit terrified when I realized I would have to sing without the background music

Terrified: I looked a little bit terrified when I realized I would have to sing without the background music

One of the teachers led the contest. He said that singing a solo, duet, trio, or in groups of four and more was allowed; he also stated that each volunteer would win one point for his team. Many students volunteered when some of their friends pushed them. After watching many students get up and sing in front of everyone, I also volunteered to sing a solo; I sang “Daisy Bell,” also known as, “Bicycle Built for Two.” A lot of students clapped and cheered when I was finished. Some cheered while I was singing, which boosted my confidence.

That night I learned that when people get out of their comfort zone, they not only give other people a good time, but they also give themselves a good time too.

When singing time was over, it was time for devotions. Afterwards, we had one last activity – hide and seek. The rules were simple: one boy and one girl would hide somewhere around the campsite. The boys would have to find the hiding boy and the girls would have to find the hiding girl. We played that game two times. The first time, it was easy; but the second time, it got difficult. The hidden boy was very good at hiding. Some of the senior boys got really mad and were shouting his name and ordering him in Korean language to stop hiding (in vain). When I went back to sit with the teachers outside the cabins, they encouraged me to keep looking for him. So, I decided to help the boys look for him.

After we finally found him, the teachers announced that in a few minutes we would eat fried chicken. Then they announced the winning team, who earned the most points during activities: Team A, my team. Our prize for winning was a pizza party right after the fried chicken party. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I don’t eat chicken and I already had pizza, so after I drank two paper cups of coke, I got ready for bed, after I brushed my teeth.

While I waited for the teachers to turn the light off, I read a book and wrote in my journal. When it was time for bed, a teacher asked sixth and seventh graders to move to another cabin, so eighth through twelfth graders would have more room. Since there were boys in two cabins, one teacher slept in a cabin with sixth and seventh-grade boys, while the other one slept in another cabin with eighth through twelve-grade boys. Just before the teacher turned the lights off, he told us that we couldn’t shower or leave our cabin before 6:00 in the morning, because when many students woke up at about four-five in the morning, they fooled around and were very loud. After he made that announcement, he turned the lights off; it took me a while to fall asleep. When I did fall asleep, it was midnight.

When I woke up at about 5:30 A.M., I waited for the teacher’s alarm clock to ring. Finally, when it rang at 6 o’clock, with my new clothes, toothbrush, and my towel, I left the cabin along with others to hit the showers. I think I showered for about fifteen minutes, before realizing that others were waiting for not just me in particular, but also for the other eight students. After I got dressed and dried my hair and my towel with a hair dryer, I brushed my teeth. Then, I returned to my cabin to put my clothes and towel into my backpack.

Afterward, I walked around the campground and played a quick game of football with some friends. In a couple of minutes, the teacher announced that it was time to go down to the cafeteria for some breakfast. For breakfast I ate some tofu and some rice; it wasn’t my ideal breakfast, but I still thanked the chefs for the food they made. When everyone was done with breakfast, we went back to our campsite for our devotion time. After that was done we had team activities for two and half hours!

Almost all of us were very tired and wanted lunch, but the teacher told us to pack our stuff first, so that way when we finished lunch, we could go home. Some students whined while others, including me, quickly went back to their cabins to clean and pack up. I folded my quilt and put it back on a shelf with quilts. Then I took my mattress and as I was about to climb down the stairs to put it inside a shelf, a senior student offered to put it away for me. I thanked him and, with my backpack on my shoulders and my cloth bag with my pillow inside in my hand, I went outside. I placed my backpack and my handbag with other students’ stuff. Then, I helped some teachers to move stuff into the school van. Finally, it was time for lunch!

Waiting: We were waiting for a teacher to start praying so that we could be dismissed for lunch

Waiting: We were waiting for a teacher to start praying so that we could be dismissed for lunch

For lunch I had a piece of fish and I had the same salad I had yesterday. During lunch time, some boys complained that they lost a few things. One of the boys said that he couldn’t find his handbag along with his toothbrush and towel, which he put inside the handbag. He said that he lost it when he was packing up. Another one stated that he couldn’t find his wallet, which contained his subway card. While there were some negative stories going around lunch time, there were also some positive ones too.

Many of us were glad that we had fun and would be going home in a few minutes. Finally, that moment arrived; the teachers announced that we could leave when we finished lunch. After I thanked the chefs for the meal, I went back up to the campsite to collect my stuff and came down to the entrance. There, my dad was waiting in his car. My dad asked me whether or not I had fun; of course, I said that I did have fun and I also said that he and my mom were right all along about the camp. In a few moments my sister came and then we were ready to leave to go home. I was about to ask where my mom was, but then I remembered she went on a school elementary trip to Lotte World with her students.

During the ride home, I was thinking about how wrong I was about the camp. I thought it was going to be the worst experience of my life. As it turned out camp was actually one of the best experiences of my life. Even though I didn’t particularly enjoy breakfast time and few of the activities, I still had fun overall. I enjoyed other activities, including the magic show. I hope my camp experience will encourage all the kids to want to go camping and have fun! If any of you young kids think that camp won’t be fun, I encourage you all to give it a shot.