One of the more enjoyable aspects of setting up the camp is calling “dibs” on which activities I want to do. As always, I take the highest level students, and I also take the “Board Game” class. Of course, the budget of the camp being what it is, there is no money for the school to purchase board games. At best, I can get them to buy some poster board and some felt for presentations, but the rest of the time there is no chance for me to get some store bought games.

I’ve bought my RPG materials in once again. This time I am going with the “Gamma World” system. Partially because I’ve been playing Fall Out New Vegas, but also because the character creation process is random, easy to do, and is perfect for “one shot” style games. I don’t need to worry about a leveling mechanic, and if someone dies, another player can hop in and join the game.

This session is going to be different, as it is extremely condensed. Half the time of normal camps, with the students staying on campus. This eliminates some of the normal camp procedures (waiting for buses), and it also means that some of the old activities aren’t available (flea market swaps). There will also be middle school students at this camp, which is the “X factor” that makes or breaks the camp.

If the parents are shipping off bored middle school students because they want to get their children out of the house, it might suck. If the students signed up and are self motivating, it won’t. Simple as that. No way to know until you see the students, which we won’t be able to do until tomorrow.

People in the office are so afraid of teaching middle school students it is amusing. Any class can be bad, but when middle school students are discussed, it always makes the people in the office very worried. Hormones! Angst! Phones being used in class! No respect!

I’ve had bad middle school classes, and good ones, just like any class at any level. If you go into the class with a pervasive sense of dread and are looking to pick the camp apart for all the negative things that happen, you’ll hate any class you get. If you end up with good students, you won’t remember anything good, but only the bad stuff that happens to you. I don’t find that very productive as a teacher anymore. I love to vent about bad classes, but I don’t go into any class with the expectation that it will be terrible. I’d rather wait until my suspicions are concerned before I judge them.

Anyway, tomorrow is the first day, and with my larger roll in helping plan everything, I hope it goes smoothly for everyone.