When I was younger (way way younger) I spent a week or two at a summer camp out in the middle of nowhere (it was actually Clarendon, but the place looked barren and deserted almost). It was there that I developed my weird sleeping habits: covering my face with a sheet (because they powdered me the first night), sleeping light and still (since the first night, so as to not be caught again), and to this day I still have difficulty falling asleep in a new place.
It sounds like a terrible experience doesn’t it?
The truth is, it wasn’t that bad for me. There wasn’t a point where I wanted to cry or leave or anything like that. They had bonfires, and horses we could ride, and games, and all sorts of other things we could do. But what I do remember most was the house. It was a giant of a house, a mansion really, with hardwood floors and white walls, a massive stairway to the upper floor, and many rooms in which to do various things. I was in awe of the house because even though I didn’t know many people there, it felt like one big family in that big ole’ house.
That is what I thought of when I got today’s daily prompt: What would I do if I inherited a grand mansion in the countryside regardless of its dilapidated state?
The answer was clear. I would restore what could be restored, and rebuild where necessary and open one of two things (or both): A children’s home for the nations unfortunate souls who are parent-less and homeless, or I would have an annual summer camp for children of all ages.
If I had a mansion with the same amount of rooms as my former summer camp home, I would create a safe haven for our girls and boys, a place where they feel comfortable, a place with people they can consider family, whether they know each other or not. I would definitely home school the children, and teach them certain skills they’d only be privy to during college. I would prepare them to step out into the world on a footing better than what they had before. I would ensure each of them is equipped to either find a job, or create a business for themselves, so their dependency would end with me (or the home).
If I could transform the mansion into a summer camp, it would be a camp in the true sense of the word: out in the wild, without the luxuries we are accustomed to. The children would be forced . . . yes forced, to go outside and have fun. Climb trees, ride horses, build bonfires, tell horror stories, make straw baskets and other trinkets, bake, and stuff like that. Stuff that today’s children have no idea what to do without the internet or the television.
What do you say? Would you send your children to my summer camp?