7:12pm I was walking away from the radio shack to go and have a sleepy in my bunk earlier and I saw Ben sat on the grass outside my bunk. He was obviously waiting for me so I jumped him. It was then I realised he was crying. His Nan has died. He said he could feel something had happened at breakfast time so he rang home and his sister said his nan had passed away in the night.
Ben: “I know she was old, but she was like a mum and a dad to me. I can’t believe I won’t be there for her.”
He’s absolutely devastated. It’s horrible to see him so upset; his beautiful face was scrunched up and his cheeks were stained with tears. He wasn’t embarrassed to let it all out in front of me and we just sat there with me trying to comfort him with a hug. I didn’t really know what to say and I could see the campers were starting to come back to the bunks ready for lunch. I hope he can use his spirituality to get through it somehow. I don’t know, I hope he’s ok. I don’t actually know how much more sadness I can take here. We all need some more fun in our lives.
8:16pm Camper: “Lucy, how far have you gone with a boy?”
Me: “Errrrm, errrrrrm, none of your business.”
Then one of the 13-year-olds told me she’d slept with her boyfriend.
Camper: “Well, we have been going out for three years.”
I was asking them about what they do for fun – they don’t seem to be into alcohol at all. If I’d come to camp with all my mates at 13 I’d have definitely sneaked a bottle or two in. These kids have never mentioned anything about booze – they’ve talked about drugs quite a bit though. Apparently they’re much easier to get hold of because of the 21 drinking age. I guess getting pissed is a bigger thing in England; they’re all stoners here instead.
9:36pm It amazes me how close the girls are here. They’re so open with each other, talking about their feelings and sharing their experiences of growing up. I remember when I was their age and everything was so secret in my group of friends. We wouldn’t talk about the pressures or weirdness of growing up at all; we’d just fall out when we were upset or stressed and not talk to each other. It seems so bizarre now. I remember at 15, one of my friends’ parents split up, she’d only ever talk about it when we were drunk. I genuinely feel our inability and reluctance to talk to each other has stunted my emotional growth.
In our free lessons together Ben tries to get me to talk about my feelings, but it feels weird. All through school and university I’d always like guys way out of my league for one reason or another – too old, too fit, attached – then I’d build them into something they weren’t and think about how great we’d be together if only they’d give me a chance. If a guy ever did like me I’d find some reason why I didn’t like them. To actually like a boy and have them feel the same about me feels pretty amazing, but I don’t actually know how to deal with it.
9:49pm Earlier we were sat on my bed and the kids were talking about their bikini lines, and how wide they were growing and whether to shave them or not. Obviously I stayed out of that one – bit weird – but then they lifted up their little shorts to show each other! What the fuck?
These girls have even started taking showers together, and those cubicles are small. They argue about who’s going to go in with who. There was definitely no need to worry that I’d make them feel self-conscious or worried about me seeing them half naked in the bunk, they let it all hang out.
11:07pm I’ve got this camper who really reminds me of myself at that age. I don’t think any of the counselors would describe her as nice or kind, but I’m sure her friends would. She’s pretty horrible to me as well, but I can see that she really cares about her friends. She’s cheeky, funny and lazy – just like me at 13. She’s always asking why she has to do things and being really shitty, and then trying another approach and is really sweet and nice to me to try and get out of doing stuff. She just wants to hang out with her friends and have fun up at canteen. I do like her but she gives me
a lot of aggro. God, I’m feeling horrifically sorry for my ex-teachers right now.