When I was fifteen, I went to Bible camp. I was mostly excited about a week at the lake with Don. I was thinking about walks along the shore, sharing a table at lunch, and maybe holding hands at the camp fire. We were a close group from a small church, with a small camp, so we knew almost everyone.
My bubble burst the first day. Giggles and screams filled the air, butterflies filled my stomach—and hope carried me all the way through registration. When I saw Don, my smile could not have been any bigger, without hurting something. I called and waved to him.
To my shock, Don did not smile. His eyes skittered away, as if he didn’t see me. He turned and kept walking with the other guys—left me standing with my hand raised. Kyle glanced back, with sympathy and surprise, but Don ignored me.
This was the guy who had been flirting with me at church and youth meetings for weeks. We talked about going to camp the day before. . . .
Don stole a kiss in the garage when his family visited mine, and he teased me into sitting with him all the time. He was the one who talked about the fact that I would have permission to date in a few months. I thought he was my boyfriend, that we would have a special week at camp.
I was wrong, and it hurt worse than anything. My friends gathered, supporting, and reminding me that they had all thought he was my guy, too. They helped distract me for two days, shielding me and warning me about Don’s location for every event.
There was a boy’s counselor who began hanging out with our “boys are jerks” club. I might have wondered why he spent so much time with us, rather than the boys he was supposed to be mentoring, but I didn’t think about that until later. When he smiled and teased me, it was a nice change from the snubs I kept receiving from Don.
Scott’s attention helped the awful ache of rejection, but it was also uncomfortable. I was flattered, and he was cute in a grown up sort of way, but not for a second did I think he really liked me. After all, the man had a wife and three small children waiting for him at home!
Finally, one of the girls said Scott was flirting with me. It made me wonder about the small warning I was beginning to feel inside, because he singled me out and asked so many questions. He was Don’s counselor, and I wondered how much he knew about me.
Later the same day, he began to tease me about being his “date” for the banquet dinner on the last day, and Carrie cautioned me. I listened when she pulled me aside in the restroom. She confirmed that I was getting in over my head. I didn’t see it at first, because I was down about the way Don treated me, but I was sensing that something was very wrong with the way counselor Scott pursued my company.
“What should I do?” I asked while we fixed our hair.
“Tell the director.”
“No! That would be too embarrassing.”
“What if I ask my brother to help?” Carrie suggested.
“He’s Don’s friend . . . .” I reminded her, feeling nerves jumping all over the place. Was this what it felt like to be stalked?
Carrie shook her head. “Everyone sees what Don has done to you, and Kyle will want to help. He’s your friend, too.”
At the lake, Carrie’s brother, Kyle, came over to me. He smiled warmly and asking loudly if I would accompany him to the banquet dinner. I grinned back at him and said, “Yes, thank you very much.”
He nodded and went back to the other guys. I didn’t even see where Don was. He had abandoned me, but God provided a rescuer anyway.
With Kyle’s gallantry, I didn’t have to put Scott off or face him again. When I kept out of his way, I guess he got the message that I was not the vulnerable mark he thought I was.
We never told the director or the pastor about Scott’s behavior, but now that I’m older, I know we should have. What if he was a counselor the next year? What if he singled out another hurting girl?
I should have been able to trust a camp counselor.
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