From junior Morgan T.:
Advanced Composition is a class that is all about writing. Working on memoirs was so much fun for me! It was great to talk about different experiences and incorporate them into memoir pieces. This mini memoir that I wrote was very easy and I tried my best to capture the constant frustration amongst my camp mates. To prepare us for memoir writing, we read James McBride’s The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother and watched the film Almost Famous by William Miller.
Nuclear reactor. A team-building game that tests emotions. It is one of the most stressful activities a Leadership-In-Training candidate could undertake. It requires patience, communication, trust, understanding, respect, teamwork; the list is endless. Last summer, I was accepted into the LIT program at Bearskin Meadow Camp. Originally a camper of the camp for diabetic children located in the Sierra Mountains, I was thrilled to advance to the role of a counselor. On the fifth day of the two-week camp, the seven other candidates and I experienced an unforgettable day. Our three counselors sat us down on the sturdy wooden floors of the art room where there was a ten-foot diameter circle outlined with tape. In the center, sitting on an “x”, was the nuclear reactor—a battery sitting on a CD; which was on top of a bright green cup; all balancing on a white, plastic bowl with a red marble inside.
“Imagine a huge earthquake hit BMC. And the nearest nuclear reactor was this,” Elliot said, gesturing to the model on the ground. Suddenly, two counselors came by and destroyed the reactor, like monsters attacking a town. “You will each have a piece of string, connecting to a rubber band. This will help you move the different objects back to its original spot. Whenever your hand goes over the circle, you automatically lose a limb, and are not allowed to use it unless we say otherwise. You guys can start,” he clapped his hands together and stepped out of the circle.
After strategizing for twenty minutes, we developed what we thought was a brilliant plan. With utmost care and concentration, we shifted our formations to move the cup off its side. Instead, it rolled out of the circle.
“See! I told you that wouldn’t work!” Lainee screamed.
“Okay… Then let’s just try it again!” shouted Jordan defending himself.
“Why should we? It obviously didn’t work,” she yelled with frustration.
“Can we just stop fighting? We were so close! Jordan’s right. Let’s just try it again,” Rachel asserted with confidence.
With our remarkable teamwork, the rubber band wrapped around the cup and was carefully placed on top of the bowl. We all screamed for joy, grateful that only two people had lost a limb.
“Impressive,” another counselor, Paulette said, as she walked into the center of the circle. Her tone of voice frightened us all. “Unfortunately, I have some bad news. Maddie is temporarily blind, so you have to make sure you update her on what to do. Communication is very important, especially as a counselor. Now, it’s the CD. Good luck,” she grinned, as she wrapped a pink handkerchief around Maddie’s baby blue eyes.
I thought to myself, Hey! We are LITs! This should be easy! A smile of relief fell over my face as we dragged the CD into the center of the circle.
My mind buzzed: dark clouds of emotion with a slight chance of attitude. My prediction was inaccurate.
Two hours of constant attack on the CD had worn us out. Suddenly, Matt sat up, “I’ve got it! Why don’t we move the CD over to the ledge and then flip it over so we are able to carry it?”
We all smiled, knowing this plan would work. After three tries, we finally had the rubber band under the CD. Moving it carefully over to the center, it plopped on top of the cup.
Exhausted, and now well into the evening, our counselors were nice enough to let us continue the next day. At six in the morning, we woke up to find the nuclear reactor on the floor of our cabin. The D-sized battery sat at the edge of the circle, and the game had begun once again. Four frustratingly long hours later, we were able to pick up the battery. We found a way to wrap the rubber band around the battery, and now it was hanging for dear life over the CD. There were two options, if we drop it, the battery’s weight could wreck the whole reactor and we would have to painfully repeat all of our hard work; or it would drop onto the CD.
“Okay, so… We just have to make sure the plus side of the battery is in the hole of the disk. So lower it, carefully…. Good…” said Brad with sweat dripping down his forehead. “NO! WHAT ARE YOU—” his harsh words were interrupted by a loud gasp. We stared at the reactor, mouths agape. The battery fell perfectly onto the CD.
“Yes! Oh my God! We did it! Thank the Lord!” shouted shy Camille, as we gathered in for a triumphant hug.
After seven and a half hours of debating, strategizing, and then trusting and working with each other, we had completed the rebuilding of the nuclear reactor. A group of soon-to-be-counselors had put their emotions to the test. Once finished, our relationship as a whole had blossomed, physically and emotionally. Even though the test was finished, the connection and bond developed between each of us is forever strong.