Grade 7 camp at Camp Elphinstone in Gibsons.

COLUMN: Retain the magic long past grade school

Peace Arch News editor Lance Peverley reflects on a few days spent at his son's Grade 7 camp.

It was the final night of Grade 7 camp, earlier this month, as children took turns braving the stage.

One of the other chaperones turned to me and noted that the students we’d watched closely over the previous two days – and who were performing in brief, comedic sketches that they had devised ‘by committee’ – had by this point in their young lives already developed the personalities they would retain as adults.

True, I nodded, as I watched many of them shed their inhibitions to the delight of their peers, teachers, counsellors and a handful of us moms and dads who went along for the ride of their young lives.

I had felt that much more time had passed since the day before when we’d loaded into the South Surrey school buses bound for Horseshoe Bay, and on to the Sunshine Coast.

Throughout two jam-packed days, I’d overseen and listened to the boys and girls of my son’s elementary school – in all their various cliques and social interactions – and I developed an inkling of what they might be like when grown up.

There on the stage, performing their hearts out, were our future CEOs and our professionals, our worker bees and – statistically – our underemployed. No doubt, like some of their already-matured members of the audience, our future teachers, ferry-boat captains, entrepreneurs and photographers were among them.

I imagined I saw before us our professional athletes, our performers, our politicians. Some will go on to great success and others will no doubt settle for a little less, both professionally and personally.

And I found myself wondering why so many adults seem to lose the magic that we’d been privileged to witness.

By Grade 7, right on schedule, the students were showing signs of maturity, the good, the less-good and the sometimes ugly. They were speaking with more authority, yet there were small hints of cliquishness and self-awareness that risks becoming so much more pronounced as they age.

More blatant, however, was the zest for life that I hope to continue long past my sell-by date.

Surrounded by high-energy children – and surprisingly even higher-energy counsellors from New Zealand and Australia – we parents were invited to watch and take part in numerous activities that tested our own physical stamina and resolve.

I was blessed to be able to watch my son and his many friends explore the ocean on kayaks and canoes, build shelters and fires, shoot arrows, climb walls and capture each others’ flags.

I watched as they took turns collecting and serving food at mealtimes, and gathering dishes and cleaning up soon after.

They danced, clapped and sang, and I saw them pitch in to offer a hand to one another – and even to one parent who foolishly tore a calf muscle in the aforementioned game of capture the flag (likely related to approaching old age – but perhaps that’s another column).

Most of all, though, over the shortest of time, I watched them evolve. In that small slice in an otherwise typical school year, many of them transformed. The meek became more confident, the disinterested more involved and the self-assured more giving – all helpful qualities as they transition into high school and beyond.

Grade 7 camp. Perhaps it shouldn’t be just for our youth.

Lance Peverley is the editor of Peace Arch News.

Just Posted

Surrey policing plan sent to provincial government for review

‘I urge our residents to come out and help us shape their Surrey Police Department,’ Surrey mayor says

RCMP target speeders in White Rock, Surrey

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Surrey councillors say they’ve now seen policing transition plan

Locke and Hundial decline to share details of the plan, repeat calls for its release to residents

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Cloverdale high school raising money for first-ever grad dinner

Bottle and clothing drive will fundraise for Cloverdale Learning Centre’s first graduation dinner

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

Four rescued from Golden Ears mountain

Hikers from Surrey started out for Evans Peak at 6 p.m.

Most Read

l -->