It was Tuesday morning, the week of my birthday. I arrived at school expecting to go to work, as my normal routine called for on that day. When I stepped into the room, however, I was shocked to find that there was massive hustle and bustle going about the environment. I, being autistic approached this with caution and stage fright. What I soon found out is that I had forgotten that on this day, we were going on the student retreat! I then drew out of my shell, and hopped into the van…
When I had first made it to my destination, which was in fact the Bunker Hills Activity Center. This was a new, unfamiliar place to me, but Mrs. Jackson, understanding the extremity of my nervousness, comforted me with her words. We finally made it! I had felt like I was ready for anything. Mrs. Jackson parked her car close enough so that my legs could handle the walking. She and I made it into the building where I saw many a familiar and friendly faces. We were called by school to assemble in a large meeting room that looked like a room in a theater, with its nicely arranged chairs and a space in front with a podium.
The function started out with the St. Croix Camp counselors introducing themselves to us. Then we went into a circle where we practiced three different types of handshakes. These handshakes where as follows: Fisherman’s, Lumberjack and Farmer Style. We had it placed upon us that we had to first learn all three types of handshakes, and then remember who we shook hands with IN THAT particular handshake style. I found it fun and challenging. After that, is my most favorite part that I will not forget as long as I live: Don, one of the instructors from St. Croix Camp taught us the sequences to a song “Boom chicka chicka” and it gradually built up to “Boom chicka chicka Boom” and finally to “Boom chicka chicka bouncy ball, chicka boom.” He then had us individually come up with our on variation on the mouth-rhythm. This rhythm to me was as mouthing a drum line for practice, so after a brief amount of stage fright I got into it.
Here is my variation: “Boom chicka chicka bouncy ball bouncy ball chicka chicka boom!”
After that was over, we were instructed that we would be playing a four way game of tug-of-war with a large rope that went off in four directions. The first team to pull it further on their side wins, but, this was by no means an easy task! We pulled and pulled, I even came very near to falling over. In the end, our team came out the victor. Our teams broke off and went in separate directions to work on some team building skills. The team I was in headed for a completely green (minus the walls) room, it is there that our instructor gave us our activity instructions. First, we were supposed to put together a giant puzzle, and rely on the help of our teammates to figure out what goes where. This activity didn’t take us very long. So then, the instructor challenged us: We were supposed to tie ourselves to a partner using wristband-style handcuffs. This one, I admit was a little more challenging, but that’s all the fun! We did a few similar things with a hula hoop and a little ball that we had to pass around without letting it touch the ground. The last game before lunch consisted of a wall made of a tarp and five players on each side, the object of the game being to guess who the other person was, without seeing them. I always was guessed and only once did I guess right. In the end, however, our team won.
After that, to my relief was lunch! We gathered in a cafeteria setting that had a table with pizza on it that we were supposed to go to buffet style and by our delegation (Spring Lake Park, Fridley, Blaine Etc.) and had to go up in a straight line. There were many types of pizza, cheese, pepperoni, meat, supreme, deep dish, and last but not least, cheese-less. The students sat by their friends and teachers, I on the other hand sat by my new friend from Blaine, Julia, and we chatted, and ate. Within the luncheon, there were prize drawings for the students. I ended up winning and picked out a Wal-Mart gift certificate.
Sadly, the time did come for this wonderful day to end. We were called back one last time to the meeting room and with the people of St. Croix Camp, we sang one last rendition of “Boom chicka chicka” the we all bade good bye to one and other. Thus ended this life changing day for me, and I thank with every bit of my heart, all the people who put this together. Forever will I remember this day!