Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Participants on the Run!

That's what I heard every night for three weeks, during my time directing a summer camp. We were using a local high school for our camp, and had plenty of space. This is excellent for activities, but a big huge worry after lights out. Smitten fourteen year olds sneaking off to make out? Not on my watch! (If you think I'm overreacting, you haven't met anyone who gave it up at summer camp.) Luckily, we had some motion detectors in storage! My staff and I pulled them out and strategically placed them in hallways and stairwells. Each one was set to announce a different message, alerting us to the whereabouts of our escapees. A home base, in the staff room, went off anytime someone passed by a detector.
One of my staff members was almost excited at the prospect of catching a camper sneaking out. The first few times the detectors went off, he took off in glee, running towards the scene of the crime. We were not messing around.
Until one day when a leader heard some of the kids talking about moving the detectors. That night, after lights out, we had an impromptu meeting in the hallway. Could they move the detectors without us knowing? That would be disastrous, should the kids figure it out before us! THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES.
Time for action. We moved one farther down the hall, deciding to run some tests. Picture 13 adults in pajamas, well past midnight, crowding around a motion detector like it held the secrets of the universe. It was quite a brainstorming session.

Alright, what if you tried to crawl past it?

Participants on the run!

Ok, good. What about slithering on the floor like a snake? Could it sense you then?

Oh no. She's getting there. She's very nearly past--Participants on the run!--oh good.

What about jumping? Could you vault over it?

Participants on the run!

Check. What about slowly? Can you inch your way up to it, all sloth-like?

Ok, so far so she's making it...but you'd have to really commit to a sloooow pace and let's be serious, they're 14 and there is no way they'd have this much patience--Participants on the run!

Excellent. What if you plaster yourself against the wall and sneak by that way?

Participants on the run!

Sweet, that doesn't work either. What about...

This continued for the better part of an hour. The good news? NOBODY WAS GETTING PAST US. Anyone wanting to get by our security would have to be so sneaky that in the end, we figured they deserved it.

It was a busy month.