Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CLUMSY (04/11/19)
TITLE: Camp Clumsy
By Joanney Uthe
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“We’ve been over this already. Every child here has some kind of challenge. This is the camp where you'll fit in. Make friends who understand you.” Mom sounded just like the doctor’s sales pitch for the camp. “Just promise me you will give it a try?”
“And what challenge does that kid have? He runs just fine. He’s even carrying his own suitcase. Why is he here if everyone here has challenges like mine?” His mom’s deep breath before answering told Jeremy that his angry dart had hit the mark.
“Maybe you can get to know him and find out.”
As Jeremy reluctantly got out of the car, a teen walked towards them, using forearm crutches just like his.
“Welcome to Camp Klumtapah, or as we like to call it, Camp Clumsy. I’m Kyle,” he extended a hand to Jeremy. “You’re in my cabin. I’d help with your bags, but as you can see, my hands are a little busy.” Kyle held up one of his crutches as he smiled at Jeremy. “I’ll send two of the others over to get them. In the meantime, let me show you around.”
As the two crutched towards the main building of the camp, Jeremy noticed a younger girl trying to balance a bag in the basket of her walker. As she turned her head to talk to the adult with her, her bag fell on the ground. The boy he had seen earlier ran over and picked it up for her. He smiled as he helped her secure it in her basket, but he never said a word. If this boy was at this camp, he had some reason. Some kind of challenge, as Jeremy’s mom kept saying. Jeremy wanted to ask Kyle about him, but didn’t want to be rude. He hated it when people asked others about him or his crutches.
Kyle showed Jeremy their cabin, which was really a large room of the main building. As Jeremy claimed a lower bunk, a hand reached down from the bunk above him. “I’m Al. You?”
“Jeremy.” He looked up at the smile of the boy he had seen running across the yard. “I saw you outside. You run fast. So, why are you at Camp Klump-tata, um, Klum-whatever?”
“C-c-camp C-c-clumsy? I h-h-had a b-b-brain t-tumor th-that m-m-made m-my w-w-words c-c-clumsy.” Al pulled out an electronic tablet and typed a few words. The tablet then read to Jeremy. “It took me a long time to learn to talk again at all.”
“It took me months to learn to walk again after they removed a tumor from my hip. Now my legs aren’t the same length. And the nerve damage means I get to live with these for the rest of my life.” Jeremy raised one of the dreadful crutches.
Al pulled the tablet back to type some more. “So, do they have a name? I call my tablet Aedon -- Al’s Electronic Device of Noise.” The tablet made a serious of sounds: animal, traffic, and sirens. “I like to play the sirens when my dad drives fast.”
“I never thought of naming them. That would make them seem, um friendly. I hate these things.” Jeremy threw them on the bed and sank into a chair.
Kyle joined the conversation. “I did at first too. I had to learn that they will always be part of my life. Or some type of walking aid will be, anyway. I can either be bitter about it, or I can make the most of it. That is what Camp Clumsy is about.”
“Camp Clumsy has been the highlight of my summer the last two years.” Aedon said for Al. “I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. But watch out for Kyle. He likes to play tricks on you.” Al smiled and winked at the teen who gave the two boys an innocent, “I don’t know what you mean” look.
Jeremy smiled back. Maybe camp wouldn’t be all that bad. At least no one was going to bully him for not being able to do normal camp activities. And maybe by the end of the week, he would name his crutches.
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