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The Time I Did Community Service – Summer Camp for the Developmentally Disabled

December 16, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

So there is a camp near my parent’s house for developmentally disabled children and adults. It’s in a beautiful area of Ohio with sprawling fields, well-maintained buildings, and a dedicated staff. They accept volunteers throughout the year, but especially during the busy summer program.

I signed up the summer before 9th grade, and on the first day, we were introduced to our dedicated group of campers. Ages ranged from 6-40 or so, and I was placed with the adult campers. Most everyone wanted the little kids, but I was relieved at first to get the more mature and less rambunctious adults. However, when I was introduced to my two campers, I realized that things would not be so easy after all.

Both had at least 100 pounds and 15 years on me, and one named Peter sadly could not stop drooling. I had to lead him by the hand to each activity since he was frightened of large, open spaces, but his palm was so slick with spit that I could barely hold on. The other man named Mark took a liking to me immediately, and would attempt to kiss me (with tongue) whenever I had my back turned. Neither could really speak, but both had big smiles and seemed very excited about their first day of camp.

Though dwarfed by my charges and possessing zero training, I was still determined to get them both to where they needed to go on time. Peter kept sliding out of my moist grip to run behind trees and cry. Mark kept playing with my long hair, tangling it around his fingers and tying it into knots. Our pace was slow, but we managed to make it to both dance class and arts and crafts without much incident. However, when it was time for swimming, things got dicey.

We volunteers were told to strip the campers ourselves, and slip them into bathing suits. As a 14-year-old girl, I hadn’t yet seen a full naked male body, and was freaked out by this directive. My charges were both upset by my attempts to lift off their clothes, and Peter ran out of the changing area in the yard while Mark began flailing around and screaming. More experienced volunteers glared at me, disappointed in my inability to control my campers. I asked someone to look after Mark while I headed off to go find Peter.

I found him around the back of the building, huddled amongst the trash cans and looking scared. I gripped his slimy fingers and led him back to the changing area, where I saw Mark stark naked and giggling with his arms in the air. He was doing a twisting dance that made his flaccid penis slap rhythmically against his thighs, over and over. Horrified, I dropped Peter’s hand and headed straight to the pool itself, deciding in that moment that someone else could handle their clothing.

Afterwards, I was leading my campers to story time when Mark suddenly lunged for me, grabbed my face, and stuck his tongue down my throat. I tried to shove him away, but he grabbed my hair and ripped a chunk right out of my head. He tried pulling me over to the nearby woods, which were dark and deep, but I broke away and ran. Bleeding and traumatized, other volunteers took over both Peter and Mark, and I stumbled off so I could sit down. My scalp was bleeding copiously and my wrist was aching, but most of my hair appeared to be intact. As I dabbed away the blood, I realized that technically, that had been my first kiss. The thought left me feeling empty.

I did my best to cover the bald spot with the rest of my hair, and then it was time for my mom to pick me up. I told her the story, but as an ER nurse, she seemed less than horrified. She sent me back there two more times before I managed to find a replacement volunteer opportunity. Though it got easier the more I worked, and nobody else tried to attack me, I am clearly not made of the right stuff to work there. I will leave it to people more noble, good, and patient than myself.

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