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By: Tricia Schuster, SJA Parent

Focus was the vibe yesterday at Camp Tinker. The kids all arrived early, skipped pleasantries, and got right to work—they were on a mission. We nonetheless gathered them together for a quick morning meeting to set goals for the day: (1) each team should have a flag raised by noon or risk being dissolved into the other teams; and (2) each team should have a vehicle-in-progress that rolls by end-of-day. After morning meeting, the boys had only one question—can we go back to work NOW! Apparently, nothing motivates middle school boys like the idea that they might have to work with middle school girls for the rest of the week—and vice versa. All flags happily flapping in the wind by 10:30 am—an hour and 1/2 ahead of schedule.

tc7The morning focus persisted. By the end of the day, three out of four teams not only had flags raised but also vehicles rolling—and we had our first trip down the steep field hill. So many successes today, but highlights include Team Swedish Batman Hello Kitties coming from behind to end the day crashing about a little wildly and a lot happily in their cart with the most rad paint job ever; watching Team Gear/Hammer/Saw painstakingly create a sophisticated steering column worthy of a DeLorean; watching the Orange Chopsaws engineer rickshaws to pull two team members behind their bicycle-built-for-three. And, as mentioned, the excitement of the entire group as we gathered at the top to help launch Henry Adler and his “Rolling Lightning” down the steep field hill.

Other great moments: hearing kids say to each other “We’ve got this.”; being a grown-up with nothing to do but stand on the hill and watch, because, actually, they really do; kids holding meetings on the swings and then dashing back to work after a sudden burst of inspiration; grown-ups wondering aloud “how is it they get along so well all day?”; hearing raucous laughter from the Mist Tent and turning to see them all soaked to the bone; high-fives under flapping flags; Henry’s smile & fist-pump at the bottom of his successful hill run. And my favorite, after we’re all cleaned up, and after a long, hot day of being on task, every child on the playground at play.