So one night while I was working as a Summer RA for a youth camp comprised of about 300 middle-school aged girls and boys, I get this knock on my door. I open it to find my friend Ben with an exasperated look on his face. “Some kids are having sex. All the campers are talking about it. We gotta find them!” My mouth is about to drop when he sprints away, hellbent on catching the offenders in the act.
I throw on some shoes and rush after him. We spend a good 30 minutes wandering outside and in, ears to every suspect dorm room door. Nothing. I wander into one of the corner lounges and overhear a couple of the campers talking about the incident: “Man, it was beautiful. I mean they were really going at it. I think I know who she is too.” I surprised them and proceeded to put the kibosh on their hormone-addled revelry by sending them to their rooms.
By then Ben had gone off on his own investigation, and I wandered the hallways for a bit longer with my imaginary sherlock hat and pipe in tow, trying to pick up on the slightest perceived sounds of pre-pubescent snogging. Finding nothing, I returned to the main desk of the dorm, where the other RAs had gathered to make sense of the rumor. Or so I thought. As I approached they all looked up at me, including my friend Ben who took a few steps forward. I stopped dead in my tracks as he looked at me with a profound gravity. “Nick. You couldn’t have shut the curtains?”
The words just hung in the air for a minute somewhere between the two of us, until my eyes caught the sight of my then girlfriend through the window, walking back to her dorm after a short visit with me, moments before Ben knocked on my door. It was then I realized my room’s over-sized window looks out onto a sweeping vista of beautiful Bellingham Bay and more importantly, the entire basketball court only 20 feet below where at least a third of the youth campers had gathered to be witness to the splendor of adult intimacy.
To this day I have no idea how many kids saw us. I was incredibly lucky in that apparently none of the kids connected the dots that it was one of their counselors. In fact several of the silverback male-grubs claimed the act as their own doing (which I did not discourage) and I made it the rest of the summer with only myself and the other RAs knowing the real identities of the phantom fornicators.
I’m only telling the story now as a cautionary tale to you young RAs out there. So be safe. Be smart. Close your curtains if you live on the 2nd floor of Nash Hall. You could be disrupting the otherwise natural process of kids discovering their sexuality at their own pace and accelerating them into feelings they do not have the capacities to deal with as a developing juvenile. Still. I bet a lot of kids had good dreams that night.