Amazing Kids! Magazine


By Ashton Killen, 10th Grade, Ohio


“Do you have a pass?” the worker asks me in a cheerful way. She wears a grey dry-fit polo, with the words Muskingum Watershed Conservatory District embroidered into the top left corner.

“Yes,” I answer, “for Edgell.” My grandparents camp here every summer—they’ve done it since 1982. After I get my pass to enter Tappan Lake Camp, I drive down to my grandparents’ camper. They own a two-story, cream camper (the best in the park). As I drive down, I roll my windows down and breathe in the sweet smell of the water. With every breath I take, my nose fills even more with the irresistible scent. When I glance around, I see faces I recognize. I wave to Donny as he walks slowly with his cane. He gets more and more wrinkles every time I see him, and I’ve noticed. I glance around one more time before I pull into the side yard to park. I greet my grandparents with a warming hug before they feed me and we catch up. I love spending a few weeks out here every summer.

After an hour or so my cousin shows up. We both walk down to the playground. I notice she’s wearing jeans… again. I sigh.

“Lawson, do you not know the temperature out here?” I tease her, nudging her in the side. She laughs and jokes about my long legs.

We walk past the convenience store. It looks a little run down since last year, but still beautiful and inviting. The basketball and volleyball courts look redone. Tonight they will be full of dancers during the annual DJ performance.

Lawson and I get to the playground, and we take off our shoes and step into the gravel. The warmth on my toes feels like a warm heated blanket; I love it. When we walk, we feel the gravel slip between our toes and we laugh. I cannot help but love it; we both do this every year.

We meet up with some friends of ours. We all sit on the old, worn down swings that squeak when they are used. All six of us decide to go to the beach to swim and hang out.

We all meet back up at the picnic tables at the convenience store about a half an hour later, and get ready to embark on our walk to the beach. My grandparents come by on the golf cart. They stop and tell us to hop on, since the beach is nearly a half-mile away. As my grandpa drives down the long stretch of forested road, I soak in the smell again. I let the cool, crisp air play with my hair. The sound of the wind sooths me, almost like a trance. When we finally arrive, we kids all hop off and lay our towels down.  We all run towards the lake, doing our best not to roast our feet in the sweltering hot sand. The cool water hits me, and I shiver for a few seconds as my body adjusts to the temperature. We all play in the lake as if we’re little kids again.

When the beach closes, we make the walk back to the camper. It seems endless at first, but time flies by. Within what feels like minutes, we make our way back to the camper. The dark smell of campfires lingers in my nose as we step onto the porch of the camper. Lawson and I change our clothes for the DJ performance. I re-apply my makeup and give my grandparents each a kiss on the cheek, and then we all leave to go to the basketball courts.

The walk takes only a few minutes. Even before we left, I could hear the music. As we get closer, I can feel the music make its way through my body, spreading like a medicine. When we arrive, we dance. The DJ makes it fun with his energizing music and upbeat attitude. It feels like it’s only been a minute since we arrived, but over an hour has already passed. The DJ ends the night before curfew at eleven. When the music turns off, by body suddenly feels still and lifeless, as if something has been torn away from it.

After talking to a few other kids my age, we make our way back to the camper again. The familiar smell of campfires comes back to me as we approach. My grandparents went to bed already, but left the fire going for us kids. We roast marshmallows and hot dogs. The sweet taste of marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers makes me feel warm inside.

After we’re finished with the fire, we all head to the tent. The temperature suddenly drops as we walk away from the fire’s warmth. We crawl inside the tent, and we all lay together to keep warm. The tent is fairly small, but we all fit. I decide to go outside right before we play Truth or Dare. I look up at the stars; so beautiful and full of life. It seems like they could wake up and start dancing through the sky. I admire them for a few more minutes, mesmerized, almost in a trance. Lawson pops her head out of the tent and breaks the spell. She asks me to come back in. I nod and steal one more look at the stars as they dance. I make my way back into the tent, now warmer from the body heat. I cuddle myself in a blanket, completing the circle our bodies make. The tent smells like mildew, and duct tape covers some holes from years of use.

Before we know it, the sky wakes up and the tent fills with warm light as we unzip the flaps. We laugh that we really stayed up all night. We lay on the sea of blankets and pillows we created. We all listen as the camp wakes up. Golf carts whizz by, and I hear the murmur of people, the sweet and innocent chirping of birds. We all find ourselves asleep, peacefully asleep.

The all-year anticipation of spending my summer out here always lives up to my expectations. The smell of campfires and mildew tents, the sound of golf carts and birds chirping in the mornings, the feeling as sand oozes between your toes as you jump into the cold water of the lake, and watching the stars dance across the clear sky every night. All of these little things make my summers perfect, out here at Tappan.


  1. MrDillon /

    Great read! Go Ashton!

  2. Hastings /

    I love this!! I can’t wait to read the next chapter.

  3. Kcarper /

    Glad I got to read your story. Very enjoyable as well as good writing!

  4. That was really good keep up the good writing

  5. What a great article! Makes me want to visit! i felt like I was there, thank you!