Kendra Destine

Girl Scouts Camp

I anxiously waited at the bus stop with seven other eight and nine year old little girls for the big yellow bus that would liberate me from my boring summer vacation and bring me to Girl Scouts Camp. I was filled with complete excitement when I saw my yellow-orange chariot approaching. We became restless when the bus had to stop at the red light, so as soon as it pulled up in front of us, we all stampeded into our seats. The bus ride started off quietly, but with more people hopping on it soon became impossible to hear yourself thinking. All the eager voices got me energized. I could tell my first day at Girl Scouts Camp would be fantastic.

The ride there went by before I knew it, and soon there I was, standing in front of the biggest wooden cabin I had ever seen. I had heard stories from friends about how much fun Girl Scouts Camp would be, so I just couldn’t wait for the next activities to begin. I observed the campgrounds, taking in every aspect of the place where I would be spending my next two months. I looked over at a little girl who was walking in my direction.

She stopped right in front of me and demanded, “What are you doing here?”

I looked around expecting to see someone standing behind me, but there was no one to be seen. I looked back at the light-skinned, brunette little girl who was glaring at me with the most hateful look in her eyes.

“Did you not hear me? What? Are you black people deaf too?”

Her remarks hit me so hard, I was speechless. I stood there with a stupefied look on my face.

She rolled her eyes, sucked her teeth, and walked over to her friends who were standing a couple of feet behind her, smiling. Slowly, I turned on my heels and walked into the cabin, as we had been told to do when we got off the bus. Shaking and on the verge of tears, I stood in the back of all the congregated girls and tried to listen to what the camp counselors were saying. No matter how hard I tried though, I couldn’t get my mind off what, at that point, was the most traumatic incident in my life.

I had an unbearable first day of camp. The little girl, whose name I later found out was Amy, was constantly making fun of my skin color; calling me “burnt toast”, “gorilla” and the most hurtful, “negro.” I had yet to know what the word meant, but I knew by the tone of her voice, that she meant it to be degrading. That was my first and last day at Girl Scouts Camp.

Every time I come across an unfamiliar white person now, I always have a voice in the back of my mind telling me that they will make fun of me or they are thinking something negative about who I am. I try to silence the voice and occasionally I succeed, but sometimes, I give up trying.

I always wonder why I didn’t stand up to Amy. I have always thought that by not saying anything, I let Amy win. Now, I feel as though by telling this story, I am confronting the situation again and I am also confronting Amy. For the first time, I don’t feel so bad anymore. I finally feel as if I have won.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.