The Optimist

LOTS Senior survival guide

Tommy Beggs, Staff Writer

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Everyone who went to Bradford Woods as a fifth grader remembers their camp experience. These memories, whether they be positive or negative, often include the LOTS Seniors, hiking, cabin antics and the ever present mosquitoes. When you are one of those LOTS Seniors, the experience is remarkably similar, though riddled with responsibilities and problems throughout. In order to help this year’s LOTS Seniors have the best possible experience, the list below contains some critical aspects of existing somewhere in between the fifth graders, teachers and counselors for a couple days in the woods.

First, remember that you are there to make sure that the kids are where they need to be, when they need to be there and doing what they need to do. It is easy to get sidetracked by the conversations, activities and environment. This will inevitably lead to a lapse in responsibility, which is a major problem as you are one of the primary authority figures for the kids. Stay focused LOTS Seniors!

Second, there are items that are essential for survival at camp. Without bug spray, your life will be miserable. Bring it and long sleeve clothing for the day. The water there is also quite undesirable, so consider packing a 12 pack of plastic water bottles. A thermos for coffee is a lifesaver for those who need a boost to deal with the constant activity. Candy is a powerful motivator, and thus critical to convincing a horde of elementary schoolers to pack, clean and otherwise. Small Halloween style candies will help with this problem. Another vital item would be a watch, which will help you stay on schedule throughout the day. Finally, do not neglect to assume that it will rain often. Without old shoes, a rain jacket or poncho and garbage bags, the camp experience can be brutal.

Next, understand that there is either no cell phone service or no opportunity to use it. Plan to maintain your streaks accordingly. This also means that schoolwork at nights will be limited heavily. The absence of a phone for about 15 hours a day can be a shock that needs to be considered before heading out to camp.

Furthermore, don’t hesitate to give a strike for poor behavior. It sounds almost Machiavellian, but the kids need to know that you are not necessarily one of them, so a strike or two on the first night will help to establish the precedent of good behavior. Don’t give it without cause, but there will almost certainly be one. This is also a strategic action because the time you spend at Bradford Woods is not usually long enough for anyone but the truly wild children to earn three strikes. The first strike does not have any major repercussions, so it won’t result in anything major. Earning their friendship is far easier than their respect for your authority, so start with the harder one.

Finally, don’t forget to hang on to the fun moments. If a Bradford Woods staff member asks if you want to participate in an activity, do it. Without a bit of engagement in the activities, you will be too focused on your responsibilities which will weigh heavily on the trip. Though staying focused on what you are there to do is essential, you cannot connect with the kids or teachers without a bit of interaction that does not involve a direction or request.

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About the Writer
Tommy Beggs, Staff Writer

Tommy is a first year writer on the Optimist staff. He is a swimmer for Bloomington South and enjoys the Star Wars Prequels and playing a spirited game...

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LOTS Senior survival guide