Smiles crept across the faces of all whose eyes fell upon the sign—“There will be no orchestra or choir today. That means no volleyball, no hanging out in the halls; everyone to the dorms. It’s time to pack.” What had seemed to be coming up ever so slowly was now only one night’s sleep away: Junior-Senior Campout.
Packing was lighter this time: there were no tents, no air mattresses, and there was no need to pack an extra bag with food like we usually do for campouts. How was this a campout, you ask? It wasn’t. This was a retreat. You see, normally Junior-Senior Campout is a legitimate campout that consists of hard dirt floors, tents, fires for warmth, and a lake for a shower at Seton. But this campout was different. Because of an unexpected dilemma with camping at Seton, it wasn’t available for us eager campers this year. We were about to break tradition because we were on our way to Camp Hope. That’s right—there would be cabins, beds WITH MATRESSES, a lodge with couches and a fireplace, a kitchen, a dining room, and best of all…showers with HOT WATER!
Volleyball and soccer were the first of many activities that unfolded after we arrived at Camp Hope, followed by a game of telephone charades, skits, and various activities planned by the mighty fantastic Senior Class Officers. You see, the officers planned the entire trip for the luxury of the Juniors. We were never required to help cook food in the kitchen (which, by the way, was the best food ever thanks to Beth and Agnes), nor were we required to help clean up or wash dishes after meals. Even the seniors only had to help make breakfast and clean up one time during the entire weekend, so the whole experience was very restful for everyone.
The retreat reached its climax on Saturday night. All of us campers were in the lodge singing hymns after the close of Sabbath when shrieks of terror erupted from the room. “Bandits” (actually the officers and staff who were running this activity) burst into the room, kidnapping different victims. A bag was thrown over their heads and the poor souls were dragged from their seats and out the various exits. Some tried to kick their way free while others gave up the fight—all, however, were gone. Noises of confusion were murmured from the lips of us who witnessed this terrible scene. It was now our job to go rescue the captives. Given a map of the campus and a glow-stick for light, we were sent on the hunt. Into bushes, through dimly lit trails, under rocks, over hills, and up the side of walls, we frantically navigated to find the next clue. Not only that, but we had to beware of the water balloons that were thrown at us along the way. Time after time we were assaulted with balloons from the dark, and many moments were spent in confusion, trying to decide where to go next. Where were our captives!? What were “they” doing to them? Finally the last clue was found: “I am fed, but don’t touch me or your hand will turn red.” That could only mean one place: the fire pits. When we arrived, we found all the captives warm and laughing by the fire. We joined the happy throng as we all reflected on the amazing hunt. Some people never made it through every clue, but when the game was over they were brought to the fire for delicious s’mores, hot chocolate, and hot apple cider. That night was the most memorable night of the year.