Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Camp Capers

The Amaz!ng Meeting is like a summer camp for adults (with booze, gambling and strippers…and science).

Ah, I remember the school camps I used to attend… The smuggled alcohol (among other contraband!); sneaking into the boys’ rooms after dark; writing rude words on Mr Tate’s car with toothpaste, then realizing that it was corrosive…

What mischief did you get up to at school/band/summer/girl guides/church camp (or TAM)?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. I never liked doing things to others, but I certainly enjoy the stories or pictures floating on net!

    The closest thing was when I was in a group at the beach and a rancher walked by (Yes, that’s the Sonora desert) so we invited him to have some beers with us. A bit later, our guy with a lamp, watching care of the BBQ, started wooing us with the light in our faces, When the rancher asked what this was about I told him that maybe he was watching the beer, and hee took it as an insult, like he was stealing us or something. A shouting war quickly developed and as the rancher walked away he said that, ultimately, if we had a gun we’d do well using it now at the time he put his hand under the shirt.

    Everyboy was so busy shouting that noone heard my warnings that this gun might be real. I made a quick and long trip around the sand dunes and placed myself in the bushes behind the guy, who was walking slowly backwards (facing the group as he walked away) and waited with a solid object in my hand.

    Then… Out of nowhere I heard voices. A rancher friend was around and talking the guy out of his drunkedness. I felt I was in deep sh*t, so I stood still until they left away.

    When I came back to the beach, nobody had noticed I wasn’t there in the first place. But I was a hero! :)

  2. My worst offense was stealing stuff from other Kiwanis family clubs when I was in Key Club.

    There’s a tradition within Kiwanis that is there are four members from one club visiting another, then they can steal something like a gavel or bell that belongs to the club they’re visiting. Then that club has to bring four members to get their stuff back. It’s supposed to encourage inter-club meetings and community. But get a bunch of high schoolers in Key Club doing it, and things get crazy.

    I had the clicker for my car to unlock and could see my car from the window of the Golden Corral we were meeting at. The plan was that all four of use would go up front to where the artifacts we had in mind were placed and gave our little talk about what we’ve been doing over the last month. I did the talking, and there was a code word that would signal us all to turn around and take as much as we could. I opened my trunk remotely and the other three Key Clubbers ran outside the back exit and stashed it all in there. At our Key Club meeting that night, I believe half of the whole Riverton Kiwanis Club, had come over to get it all back. There were even members I’d never seen before. We took everything in sight, including a table top podium.

    The aftermath was that I had to write a contract saying that we wouldn’t steal things from the Kiwanians and vice verse for the rest of the calendar year.

    It’s all pretty sober compared to the responses that I’m sure will come.

  3. I went to camp one time for one night. I was a church camp. Back then, I guess this was around 1984, we went to the Church of Christ. They had a big camp up in Oklahoma. I went all excited and looking forward to swiming, hiking, camp fires, etc. I got there got checked in and was promptly ignored. No counselor helped me find anything. They didn’t tell me where anything was or what activities were available. I was 12 years old. When I did see counselors they were threatening to beat us up. I was in a cabin with a several jerks. There were fights, one guy got pissed on in his bunk. It was a violent and cruel and terrifying. The next day I found a payphone and made a collect call home and begged my mother to come and get me as soon as they could. My dad took off of work early and they came and got me. I told them what had happened while we were dricing home. He turned around found a counselor and gripped him out. I thought he was going to beat the guy up. I had rarely been as happy or felt as loved as when I saw my parents car roll up that day.

  4. This one time, at band camp…

    No, seriously. I went to Jazz Camp in 1996 (still in my Catholic days) to learn all about mixolydian modes and Charlie Parker improvisation on the saxomaphone, and little did I (and my parents who were footing the bill) know, that it was a Christian Jazz camp.

    Part of the mandatory classes were voice-training, ear training, improvisation, rhythm, mode-theory, New Testament, Old Testament, apologetics, and a class for just Saxophone players.

    I went to one class of the Jesus-material, then skipped the rest of them for the remainder of the getaway. I brought my copy of the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I snuck out onto the docks and hidden trails and read amidst the beautiful scenery. Then one day, I was on my way to one of the normal (read: the reason I was there in the first place) classes, and the chief of the camp pulled me aside. Returning campers from previous years called him “Dad”. I called him “Ummm…..what did you just say to me?” He told me all about accepting God, Jesus, and some kind of other ghost….maybe Slimer. I told him that I was there to learn Jazz, and that my parents, though Catholic, would be furious to learn that they’re stuffing Jesus down our throats instead of our instruments. We argued a bit, before he suggested I get to class. I told them that I’m going to call my parents and leave. He said “Campers only get one call per day”. I said, “But it’s 10 am, and I haven’t called anyone today, or yesterday”. He said “You can’t call anyone until 8:00 pm. I said “Unless I find one of the phones before you realize it” (remember, 1996 = no teenager owned a cell phone). I stormed off to my cabin to pack my things and contemplate my attack as I could hear “Dad” yell things about Jesus or something in my wake.

    The 2nd-in-command of the camp, who the campers called “Mom”, overheard the entire exchange, and followed me to the cabin. She intimated to me that she shares my love of music, and would like to see the camp go more in a musical direction. She sympathized with me greatly and I was in such a state that I almost started to cry (stress, loneliness, isolation, lack of good food, being utterly controlled and being utterly a teenager was taking its toll). She took me to her office and I called my real parents, who arrived 3 hours later. “Dad” never knew of this until it was too late, and I suspect that “Mom” got an earful that evening. That’s when I learned that adults weren’t a uniform-collection of “adults”, and some of them, holy crap, could be pretty damn cool and helpful.

    Then, I married Sid Rodriguez.

  5. Being a genuine certified nerd, I pretty much never got into any trouble at school, and I never went to camp or was in band or did any of that stuff. I’m not what you might call a “joiner.” Oh, and I hate people. I read a lot. So the only mischief I cause is when I try to talk to people about stuff that interests me and I wind up boring or insulting them. I am soooooo wild and crazy, no?

  6. I was always stuck in christian camps, I loved the canoeing, hiking, and camping, but wasn’t to fond of the bible stuff. So I decided one day that I would just skip that part. When the “chapel hour” rolled around me and a buddy snuck off. It was great, everyone was in the church so we had free reign of the entire facility. We found our way into the kitchen, grabbed a bunch of cookies and stuff and then found a little spot in the woods. We had a great time just hanging out, gorging on cookies and feeling like bad asses. Unfortunately, we were ratted out. Shortly after we’d snuck our way back into the group as they exited the church building we got pulled into the camp director’s office. We spent most of the next day literally digging a ditch in the hot sun. Which seemed a bit harsh for just skipping out on a couple hours of indoctrination, but whatd’ ya expect. Surprisingly this gave us a reputation as being the “bad boys” of the camp, in the best possible way, and we enjoyed our popularity for the rest of the week.

  7. Ok, this isn’t funny at all… (Trigger warning?)

    I went to camp every year at East Iowa Bible Camp. When I turned 16, I got a job there as the life guard. The life guard stand, instead of being a big commercial one, was some piece of crap a farmer had donated and was made of 2X4’s and plywood. It was about 4 feet wide, so there was more than enough room for 2 people, and it had the only shade at the pool. The pool was tiny, dangerously filled with kids, and I was brand new life guard so I was terrerified, and watching the pool like a hawk.

    Remember that I said I went there since I was little kid? (They had a family camp twice a year, which my mom and dad had been taking me to since I was 2) Well, I grew up with all the kids there.

    Like my third day, this girl I’d known for years asks if she can sit on stand with me. I say sure, but I have to watch the pool, and I can’t really talk. She says thats OK. For 6 hours, we sit in total silence. Next day same thing. Third day she talks a little bit. As she’s leaving she says “You’re a really great listener.”

    Fourth day she tells me how her dad often comes home drunk and beats the hell out of her and emotionally abuses her and her sister and her mom. I just listen, because know I don’t know what the fuck to say.

    She gives me big hug when she leaves and tells me how great I am to talk to. Next week, another girl I’ve known for years plops down on the stand. She says “So-and-so said you were a great listener, and you didn’t tell anyone what she told you.” She then procedes to tell me about all the different times she’s been raped and how she can’t tell anyone at church because they’d blame her.

    Tears, me silent, big hug. Next day, another girl I’ve known for more than a decade. She had an abortion so no one at church would know what a “slut she was”.

    One by one, every broken hearted young woman there sat up on that fucking life guard stand and told me how they had been raped, or beaten, or shamed. It was about 1/3 the girls that worked there. The guilt they had was unreal.

    It seriously fucked me up too. I knew God choose me to be the one that they could talk too, and they all went out of their way to tell me what a great person I was and how they wished there were more guys like me. But everytime they told me that (which was often) I wanted to kill myself, because I knew I was filthy, rotten disgusting sex freak who jerked off to the Sears Catalog. When I think about Bible Camp, I think about shame and suicidal ideation.

  8. Between my junior and senior years of high school I went to a Summer Science Training Program in biology at the University of Texas at Austin. The program consisted of half a day of class and half a day working in actual research labs. Unfortunately, on July 4 they expected us to come to class (I think most of the labs took the day off which gave us the afternoon off, anyway). Several of us, including the boy’s counselor, thought this was unfair, so we went out and bought some balloons, other decorations, and the current month’s Playboy and decorated the class room, putting the centerfold on the projection screen for the edification of the class when the instructor pulled it down. I don’t remember what the consequences of this were as none of us boys got into trouble over it, but I think the counselor got a talking to.

  9. I’ll address TAM. This was my first. It will not be my last. The medical session on Thursday that Steve developed was excellent. Surprisingly so! Then, on Friday and Saturday, the “real sessions begun. I have been wrestling with the fact that I am not an atheist ( I’ve decided to label myself neither an atheist nor an agnostic, but instead an apathetic ) and wondered if I truly belonged in the skeptic movement. Well … I BELONG … more so now, than ever before. Ich bin ein SKEPTIK! Hal Bidlack’s opening statement addressed this heterogeneity of religious beliefs ( or disbeliefs )and he stressed that this is not the emphasis – critical thinking is! I get it. This is who I am. This is my community. I am proud of us. Blogging allows us to connect on a literary and an intellectual level, but I am an intense humanist in every way. Like it or not, I am a touchy, feely people person. These connections, no matter how brief are important to me. I now know better the collective face, mind, and heart of skepticism. What I will remember most, and look foward to again, is not the sessions themselves , but our individual stories. We are diverse group in every way, from looks to our own personal biases and beliefs. Our only common bond is indeed critical thinking. I love that we are not blind droans and look a likes. We argue. We disagree. We THINK. We laugh. We drink! I could summarize us in much the same way that Anthony Michael Hall summarized the Breakfast Club … but I won’t. :) Suffice it to say … I love the people. The skeptchicks are a roudy , gaggle of great gals and wonderful women. The Novellas, Rebecca and Evan are simply damn good people, not to be idolized, but to be befriended. The speakers at TAM were part of us. They ARE us, no matter how big or small their name. EVERY person I sat near or spoke with were interesting to be with. Not only was not a single moment of my time was wasted, but was thoroughly enjoyed. How often can one say that over a 3-4 day period?

    Ok … mischief at TAM?

    What mischief? :)

  10. I’ve always been a goody two-shoes. One time, at Job Corps in Little Rock, I got a talking to by the Center Director for having sex with another student. I personally feel it wasn’t sex, however, this is a Bill Clinton-“Define Sex” moment. It was put in a simple yes/no format, so I decided since it was sexual activity, it would be more accurate to say, yes, it was sex.

    Fortunately, I wasn’t expelled, which is great, since it wasn’t that good.

  11. Also … there were several people who gave me their cards, but I lost them. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am horrific at names, thus I only remember two first names. So, if by chance you are reading this Jessica, the newlywed,firedancing, EMT (that is NOT a typo ) , Dana and their significant others, please e mail me at [email protected] so we can stay in touch.

  12. Yeah anytime I can reference pre-internet porn, I go for it. I wish I had snarky We killed the director with his own Bible, or had an embarrassing sexual moment in the registrars office with the paper shredder. Good stories everybody!

  13. I never went to summer camp (except for TAM last year, stupid economy implosion prevented me from going this year) but my summers growing up in Wyoming were filled with wacky adventures in making things explode. Oddly, I moved to less dangerous stuff as I got older. Genius 13 year old with a friend whose dad has a basement lab, and a couple weeks of friend’s-dad-out-of-town time, and dad’s chemistry books… Well, when most kids were impressed with vinegar and baking soda, we were making black powder. By high school, we had backed off to making dry ice bombs with 2-ltr bottles. My friend Marc has a scar over his left eye that made him kinda wish they had the plastic caps back then.

  14. Yeah I went to loads of church camps growing up, and to be perfectly honest, I dont remember there being too much religious stuff going on – I only remember the fun stuff we did like raiding the girl’s rooms late at night, stealing their underwear and hanging it up in trees, hiding big rubber spiders and snakes in their rooms etc.. of course as we got older, more contraband got smuggled in – booze, err certain plants, firecrackers, air rifles/pistols and all kinds of fun stuff

  15. One specific prank was putting a whole lot of Deep Heat (sports injury cream that burns quite a lot in case you dont know what it is) in one blokes underwear. It made him cry when he put it on which I feel pretty bad about now, but thought it was pretty funny at the time :p

  16. Prank, maybe…University “orientation Week” camps were awesome. I was the guy in charge of one of these camps, run by the “Science Association”.

    This was the early Seventies, and “The Summer of Peace and Love” was uppermost in all our minds back then. One of the new students, long story short, has been my wife for the last 35 years.

  17. The first night we met, we slept together, but it was “only” boobies. On such small beginnings, a lifetime together was founded. Her boobies are still awesome, after all this time!

  18. When I was young and at camp, a bunch of yellow jackets stung the hell out of me. One of the counselors was an “expert” at hypnotism and tried to use it to relieve my pain. All it did was annoy me.

  19. Off topic:

    The Barks Brothers are TV Stars! :-D
    You can hardly see Dink, though…The video was cut a bit…

    Never did any camps or anything. I was too much of a loner and too shy to go to camps.

    I have to admit that Canadian Skeptic’s story is all too common. That’s what I think Bible Camps (and some others I could mention) are really all about – getting kids alone and away from their support networks to peer pressure them into making religious committments that they aren’t ready for and don’t understand. Peer pressure is an immensely effective way to get kids to do things that they ordinarily wouldn’t do. That’s how the fundies got me for awhile. As a loner, I had no defenses against it. I would have followed anyone that paid attention to me and seemed to care. (Typical ACoA behavior, I know now.) It took me about 15 years to break free.

    @truthwalker: Your story is one of the saddest ones I’ve ever heard. It made me a little misty. I’m glad you were able to listen to them, though. That’s the first step in their healing from what was done to them. I hope that they all managed to find therapy or some other way to cope and heal. I especially feel bad for the young woman that had the abortion. She would have been in a living Hell if her church had found out.

    I’ve heard of all too many churches that “blame the victim” for rapes. Some even blame women for beatings, etc by claiming that it’s a wife’s place to “submit” to her husband and that a husband has the “right” to “discipline” their wiveds and kids however they see fit – even if it means beating the shit out of them. Too bad they don’t read the rest of that verse – about respecting one another.

    It’s one of the many reasons I walked out or organized religion and never looked back. It’s too bad that you had no one to talk to at the time. that’s a very heavy load to carry – that all those young women were so badly hurt and had no where to go. I just grieve inside for them. If I were a religious man, I would be praying for them.

    And remember: 95% of people masterbate and the other 5% are liars, too. ;-)

  20. My high school years were so boring. I did nothing fun, and I was a goody goody (or rather, just shy/lacking in friends/not wanting to be there), so there are no interesting stories. The fun didn’t start ’til after I moved away from my home town and suddenly found people I actually enjoyed spending time with.

  21. @marilove: You and I sound much the same that way, except I had moved constantly as a kid. Not military, but might as well have been. Thirteen schools in twelve years.

    And some folks can’t understand why I have trouble with friendships…

  22. Yeah, I good now. Having some life experience makes a big difference. In fact, in all honesty, with hardcore scat porn a click away for most of America’s teens, the Sears Catalog lingerie sections seems almost heartwarming and Rockwellian in comparison.

    I wish I could undo all the home schooled fuckedupery, psychopathy as parenting, manipulation as “God’s hand” and just plain ol’ bitchiness I saw in those days. Still keeps me up at night. (I’m also ACoA btw)

  23. @truthwalker: Sorry to hear it. I hope you’ve managed to cope with it better than my wife and I have.

    Seen so much psychological damage done by the woo that passes as religious belief…makes me sick. As if life isn’t enough of a challenge as it is for most people.

  24. @QuestionAuthority: I went to a pretty small K thru 8th grade school (about 250 students total), and from Kindergarten on I (along with my sisters) was pretty heavily bullied. It was really bad at some points. I handled it much differently than my sisters, though. They went and found friends that weren’t necessarily the greatest influences and went while, while I just kind of kept to myself, read a LOOOOOT (books kept me sane), and daydreamed even more.

    High school was bigger, so I was able to make a few friends, but I never felt like I fit in. I just wasn’t involved in a lot of the “fun” stuff because I was always kind of removed from it all.

  25. @marilove: Sounds way-y-y-y too familiar, except I was that way all the way into college. Never fit in anywhere. I was the stocky kid that sucked at sports…

  26. @QuestionAuthority: I didn’t go to college, hah! Not properly, anyway. Once I got some freedom, I was able to choose my friends, and it helped. I didn’t really start to feel like I “fit in” until maybe 5 or 6 years ago, when I got comfortable in Central Phoenix. I have a very unique circle of friends. I like variety. :)

  27. There haven’t been a whole lot of camps I went to. I went to band camp twice, but both were uneventful. I’ve also been to a couple of camps with the Boy Scouts, but all but one were uneventful.

    That one was at the local camp, Camp Talaha (Talahaw? Something Native American).

    There was a big jamboree for the troops in our state, and my troop went to it. We were staying four days, and three nights. It rained the first day, so everything was muddy and messy, but luckily things dried out quickly. The second morning is when it started. The camp next to us was up at 4am, before first light, cutting firewood with a CHAINSAW.

    The third morning was the same. Now my troop wasn’t slouching, but we still didn’t get up until 6am. And since we usually stayed up late the night before, we weren’t too happy about being woke up two hours early. So that third day, we hatched a plan. We watched where they stored the chainsaw once they were done with it. Later that night, once the camp fires were out, we took pen lights and sneaked over to their camp, found the chain saw, and stole its spark plug.

    There was no wood cutting next door the fourth and last morning.

    Kind of lame, but, it was pretty exhilarating when we did it.

    Not really a camp, and it didn’t happen to me, but when I was in 6th grade we took a class trip to Washington D.C. While there two girls broke the frame of their hotel room window one night so they could open it and sneak over to anotehr room.

    Those same two girls when we were touring the FBI building climbed over a fence into a courtyard that visitors weren’t allowed into. They got escorted from the premises by guys in black suits. You can tell this was in the late 90s, because Homeland Security didn’t incarcerate and question them….

  28. @Vengeful Harridan (Elexina):

    Being a genuine certified nerd, I pretty much never got into any trouble at school, and I never went to camp or was in band or did any of that stuff. I’m not what you might call a “joiner.” Oh, and I hate people. I read a lot. So the only mischief I cause is when I try to talk to people about stuff that interests me and I wind up boring or insulting them. I am soooooo wild and crazy, no?

    Sounds like you just wrote my school experience word for word.


  29. I got kicked out of a Pentecostal summer camp for hooking up with another girl when we were 14. Oddly enough, they thought that sending me to a Christian school, the same one that she went to, would somehow cure me of my gay.

  30. @marilove: When I finished 3rd grade we moved from a small town in California to an non-existent town in Texas. I went from an elementary school with 800 students to a town of 500 people. There were about 120 students in K to 12. A single long building. If you weren’t born in that town you weren’t from that town. I was bullied until I started beating the crap out of the bullies. Then they more or less left me alone. I graduated. Left returned once the following semester because the office staff lacked the competence to forward transcripts to the University I was attending and then once more to watch my sister graduate. My parents moved away in 2005. I will never go back to that hell hole.

  31. I used to drive to my girlfriend’s hyper-Christian summer camp in western NY that she was a counselor at and sneek to her cabin for a BJ, then we’d go skinny-dipping . No one ever knew. It was funny watching her sing Jesus songs the next day around the campfire – know what was going to happen that night too… Good times.

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