During my first session as an ASIT, which was two weeks long, the Juniors from Tennessee fell in love with me. Or rather, with my tail.
They were aged six to seven and were very, very tiny. I’m rather small myself, so it’s always a strange experience being in close proximity with people smaller and shorter than me.
The first few days were chaotic, as both species (the children and my ASIT buddy and I) had to adapt to each other. Once the children discovered that I had a furry, gray wolf tail, they went crazy chasing me around the cabin while the other ASIT’s sat and chatted with the counselors.
There were 16 little girls and 4 counselors in the cabin, but there was maybe four or five of them that really got attached to me. One in particular, Lucy, that always insisted on holding my hand or hugging me whenever we saw each other during the day.
In all my 17 years, I’ve never had such an experience with children before. The strange innocence they have, the unintended ignorance, and the pure annoyingness they have from time to time. In the weeks I was an ASIT, I’m pretty sure I erased dozens of children’s fears of snakes and arachnids. I had to make sure kids didn’t run on the pothole-ridden field, teach them the safe way to hold a snake, and to make sure nobody turns a turtle upside down.
While my group of Tennessee girls left and new girls came, my job as an ASIT stayed the same. Watch the children, watch the children.