The buddy system – it’s a common thing among younger children, for safety, you know, for safety. With 240 acres of land and forest and potentially dangerous animals at every corner, campers must walk in groups of two or more at all times. Even Seniors and ASITs have to do it. Counselors are the only ones that don’t need to follow the buddy system, though I think they’re the ones that have the most potential to get injured.
The buddy system is fairly complicated. The ground rule is that you must have a same-gender buddy at all times. You know, so nothing happens. Last year, my female friend and I would have a male friend with us, and that was allowed. This year though, it wasn’t allowed, so the only way we could hang out with our guy friend was if he had another male buddy. It wasn’t a huge deal, really. The only complaints we had were “freedom” complaints, but most of us were too tired to really care.
When Juniors have their Free Time, us ASITs have to sit in an area and make sure that they have their buddies, water bottles, and name tags. We also have to make sure that all the animals aren’t too perturbed (a favorite word of one of my counselors) to be handled, nobody leaves their buddies to go to a different Animal Area, they take with them everything that they brought into the room, and above all that, we have to make sure that everyone’s handling their animal correctly.
My (specialty) favourite room is the Reptile Room, and let me tell you, having 10 juniors with 10 different snakes and lizards out can be a little stressful. Not only do we have to make sure that snakes and lizards are on opposite sides of the room, our Kingsnakes have to be five feet away from any other snakes, we have to make sure none of them touches the ground, snakes aren’t allowed around necks or shoulders, and we have to watch each animal for irritation.
For different Animal Areas, different rules apply, and different amounts of stress follows each area. But the same idea remains: keep the animals safe, keep the Juniors safe, and hope that the Seniors are smart and listen to their Counselors – because Counselors are the ones that work during Senior Free Time.