Saturday, June 8, 2019

A Rustic Night

Tonight is a weird night on the job- one of our sites is hosting a campout for the counselors of another educational non-profit. I just arrived, and the recent college grads are out having dinner. I had worked an afternoon shift at another site before relieving my coworker who had been here.

The ‘kids’ are all vetted- they wouldn’t be working with high school students if they hadn’t been. My coworker told me that there were about twenty of them, so it should be a lively night. They will be setting up a campfire in a designated firepit when they get back.

My job is to act as keyholder, to make sure that our guests can get where they need to get and to use my local knowledge if there’s an emergency (which I don’t expect). I anticipate that it will be a fun night, but a busy one... and it’ll also be a busy night for the mosquitoes.

UPDATE: It’s dawn now, and the guests are still sleeping. When they came back from dinner, they built a campfire and made s’mores, making sure that I got one. One of the old-timers, who was here on the overnight last year, told a funny story about cooling off in our one air-conditioned building (for the record, last night was a lovely 60 degrees) and hearing a bang-and-clatter overhead... he didn’t want to stay inside, and he didn’t want to leave the building to face whatever made the noise. He was in the classic horror movie dilemma. I joked that I’d be the guy to go outside and investigate, to my doom!!! That’s why I’m the night guy. Even though I only live a few miles from this crew, I came across as some sort of eccentric Druid type.

The highlight (literally) of the night was when these young adults, who are mainly from the Bronx, looked up and saw the (truth be told not-many) stars of the northern suburban sky. One young man, making out the constellation, joyfully exclaimed, “The Big Dipper!” It was just the sort of moment that camping is made for.

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