doing camp as a youth minister was almost always a hugely fun thing. a week of craziness, fun, fellowship, music, teaching, games, sloppy olympics, teams, competitions, points, one-upping, late nights, and fun relationships.
lise and i did senior high camp at west river in maryland every summer for 5 or 6 years. as camps go, this place was awesome. our fellow leaders were great. the camp leadership was great. the kids who showed up every summer were great. and we always had competitions. kids were broken into teams and points were given in an archaic manner for all sorts of things: winning games, singing songs, random acts of kindness, answering questions, being creative, bringing blow pops for the camp director, asking nicely, etc. the amount of points given were generally arbitrary making the system of awarding them all the more difficult to comprehend.
but at the end of the week, a trophy was given to the team with the most points, so to say there was fierce competition for them is an understatement.
but vomit – no, the first vomit – that was like, the holy grail of points.
we always said that if someone didn’t puke at camp, we weren’t doing our jobs very well.
the year was 2002. it was the third day of camp and we had yet to have any confirmed reports of hurling. tensions were running high as we put our heads together to come up with some gross sort of game that would surely produce the puke we so desired.
but it all proved unnecessary.
as the camp pastor and photographer, i was a popular guy. kids always want their pics taken, right? this particular morning, one young man, whose name is long forgotten, came up to me and said, “scott – you need to stay close by! i’m going to puke for you and i want you to get it on film!” “how are you planning on doing this?” i asked. “i’m drinking a dozen pints of white milk in about 15 minutes. that’s SURE to make me hurl good!” and who was i to argue? every camp-goer knows the rule about humans being unable to drink a gallon of milk in such a short amount of time without the body going into upheaval.
15 minutes later, this kid is looking green. the milk is having its effect and he’s about ready to blow. literally.
he jumps out of his seat, runs out of the dining hall in the middle of games and announcements, positions himself outside at a ninety degree angle, hands on knees, and checks to make sure i’m ready.
and as he puked his guts out, i snapped what must be the greatest camp picture of all time.
it was picture perfect: the solid stream, the intertwining tendrils, the light splatter and eventual pooling of regurgitated milk – of the hundreds of photos i’ve shot in the many years of senior high camp, i kid you not: this is the transcendent picture. pulitzer-worthy? you decide.
he got TONS of points for this, as well he should’ve. that level of dedication to pukedom and senior high camp is rarely found in today’s youth.