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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)

TITLE: Summer Camp
By Robyn Burke


Allie shifted on her bunk, trying to get comfortable. The cabin was warm and the air thick. Above her, Rebecca was fiddling with her bedding.

“Hey Becca?’’ Allie purposely kept her voice low, mindful of the other campers in the cabin. A sheet of blond hair appeared; Rebecca hanging upside down to peek into Allie’s space. A flashlight was in her mouth, the sight so comical, Allie couldn’t help but giggle.

“Girls.” The warning, gentle but firm, came from across the room where their counselor Beth was settled.

Becca removed the flashlight long enough to make a face, then swung back upright to her bunk.

Allie sighed. What she wanted to ask Becca would have to keep until morning.

Her week at camp was almost over and Allie had yet to work up the nerve to talk to Trevor. Becca seemed to know everything about boys, how to talk and flirt in ways that kept them coming back for more. But every time Allie got near a boy, her brain froze and words would not come.

All week long Trevor had been right on the fringes of Allie’s world. They both arrived at the bathhouse almost the same time every morning--a sight that never failed to give her tummy somersaults. And then, tonight at campfire, Trevor was sitting right behind her. She wanted with all her heart to turn around and gaze into those cool blue eyes of his. Instead, what did she do? Nothing! She was scared to sing, in case she sang off-key; embarrassed to do the motions to the songs even though he was doing them. Becca had nudged her several times to get her participating which was even more embarrassing. She was relieved when campfire ended and she could escape to the cabin.

All week long she had been hearing from the speaker about being God’s Masterpiece, created to do good works, but she felt like a huge loser. Now, she turned on her stomach, burying her face in her pillow, hot tears threatening to spill. In two days she would be back home, where her parent’s fighting and her brothers teasing would quickly erase any feelings of peace and joy this experience at camp had brought her.

"Allie? Are you okay?” the whispered voice followed by a gentle touch on her back, caused Allie to quickly rise up and met the concerned face of her counselor.

“I’m fine.” Allie mumbled. She swiped her eyes.

“You sure?” When no answer was forth coming, Beth wiggled a red licorice rope at her, grinning when Allie accepted it.

“How about you and I take a walk outside.” Beth invited. Allie slipped out of the bunk, following Beth out the door, down the cedar lined trail out into the open meadow. Here the moon was casting a light bright enough to see each others faces clearly. They perched on a giant log and munched licorice.

“I still remember my first time at camp. In fact it wasn’t that many years ago.” Beth was gazing up into the night sky as she spoke. “I had so much fun- met some amazing people—some of my best friends came from camp. I’ll never forget this one guy…” Beth glanced over at Allie, “You know… a real hottie? Played guitar, had a ga-zillion friends, just the nicest guy ever. Oh! My! Gosh! All of us of girls were crazy for him.”

“And?” Allie wondered if Beth had ever had trouble talking to a guy.

“Oh,” Beth shook her head laughing. “I was just one of many other fourteen year old girls, following him around camp hoping he would notice me.” She sighed. “I’m afraid I went home without a word ever passing between us. But!” She sat up straight. “Two years later, I was back at camp and who do you think was there but him! And let me tell you what a difference two years can make Allie. Suddenly, HE was the one wanting to talk to me, following me! And I wasn’t afraid to talk to him. We ended up becoming really good friends.”

“Wow” Allie was impressed. “Do you think that’ll happen for me?”

“Allie, you know how the speaker has been talking this week about how we are all God’s Masterpieces? Well, when I look at you I see a work of art in the making. God’s not through with you. In fact,” Beth jumped off the log, pulling her with. “He’s just getting started!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 07/23/09
An enjoyable, realistic story. Good work in this piece.
Anita van der Elst07/27/09
Brought a lump to my throat, even the second time around reading it. You set the scene expertly and let us see into Allie's teenage soul. I liked how you had Beth entice with a red licorice rope. Cute! Also the sheet of blonde hair was very picturesque. Good advice from Beth at the end. Lovely writing!
Anita van der Elst07/30/09
Woohoo! Congratulations for the 2nd week in a row! Are you a writer or what? I am so proud of you, sister!
c clemons07/30/09
Nice story, a couple of repetitive places, "All week long" ..for example. But overall well written and on topic.
Catrina Bradley 07/30/09
I was back at camp, in the throes of a camp crush. Superb writing, excellent story. My only issue is the end - I wish the counselor would have SANG the line a la Stephen Curtis Chapman. :) Very good job - congrats on your placement!
Robyn Burke07/30/09
Thanks everyone for the feedback. It felt very challenging this time, to get the whole message in, using only 750 words. I wanted Beth to say more! And in MY head, she was singing the song. :)
Lisa Keck08/05/09
Congrats. This was a good piece. I could relate somewhat. I was somewhere between the 2 girls, not a flirt but not afraid to talk to boys.