Making A Push For The Tush

| Canada | Children

(I work at a camp and am in charge of four-year-olds. Every morning we take the kids to go swimming at the nearby pool, where lifeguards teach them simple swimming skills. Because the kids are very young, we go into the change room with them and sometimes help the kids change if they can’t themselves. There is one shared change room for boys and girls because they’re four. A small girl starts running around the change room, stark naked, while I’m occupied.)

Me: “[Girl], please go put clothes on. Come on. We’re gonna be late!”

Girl: *at the top of her lungs, sticking out her bum* “WHO WANTS TO GRAB MY TUSHIE?”

(Everyone stares. I’m for a moment caught off guard.)

Boy: “I DO!”

(At this point I regain common sense.)

Me: “Okay, no. NO.” *restraining the boy* “Let’s all get dressed and go swimming.”

Girl: *announces loudly* “It’s okay. My daddy grabs my mummy’s tushie ALL the time.”

We’re Going To Need A Bigger Attitude Adjustment

| USA | Field Trip, Health & Body

(I sign up for a kayak trip with a camp this year. The participants are all teenagers. The leaders are a guy in his 20s and a woman in her 50s. The guy looks super fit, the woman, not so much. We do some team building activities the first day and a couple of the teens are kind of jerks. The second day, we have to carry our kayaks down to the lake. There are nine of us total so we have to carry nine boats. It takes two people to carry a kayak — at least I thought it did. The woman leader pairs us up and we carry the first four boats to a good stopping point and then go back for four more. Then she assigns the last boat to two kids who’d caused some trouble during the team building exercises. She follows the last boat to the midway point where the rest of us are waiting. We are already tired but the boats have to be moved the rest of the way. The two who had to carry the extra boat, Teen #1 and Teen #2, are grumbling.)

Woman: “Okay, let’s move these the rest of the way.”

Teen #1: “Easy for you to say.”

(The woman picks up one of the kayaks by herself and puts it right behind another one. She then tells one girl to grab the front of one and another girl to grab the back of the other. She picks up the back of one and the front of the other and walks the rest of the way carrying both boats without stopping unless one of the girls assisting her had to. At the lake, she picks up one of the boats alone and sets it at the water’s edge.)

Woman: “Okay. Now you see that I CAN move a kayak. The difference is I don’t HAVE to move a kayak. When I ask you to do something, there is a reason behind the request. This trip will only work if we work together and respect each other.”

Teen #2: “Point taken.”

All Manner Of Bad People Out There

| Wales, UK | Family & Kids

(I am a leader of a Brownie (like British Girl Scouts) group. As part of a challenge day, they are learning about personal safety, including stranger danger.)

Leader: “So, if a man comes up to you and tells you all about his puppies, and how cute they are but they’re too young to leave the house, and he asks you if you want to go back to his house to see them, what do you say?”

Brownies: *feebly* “No.”

Leader: “Come on, what are you going to say?”

A Couple of Brownies: “No, thank you!”

(I was quite proud of my girls’ manners!)

You’ve Been ‘Cast’ As The Fall-Guy

| Ottawa, ON, Canada | Family & Kids, Sports, Staff

(I’m a full-time volunteer at an art school that runs children’s camps in the summer. Each “class” is kept pretty separate, and I’m placed with one at a time. At the end of the week the entire school goes to a local swimming pool, which has a park and outdoor wading pool. Important note: I am a minor and NOT legally able to supervise children.)

Me: “Okay, [Teacher #1], I’m taking these two kids outside. They want to go to the park, so we’ll meet you there later.”

Teacher #1: “Sure. [Teacher #2] is outside so if you’d like you can leave them with her. Just make sure to talk with her.”

(Outside:)

Teacher #2: “You’re a volunteer! These are your kids?”

Me: “Yes—”

Teacher #2: “These ones want to go the wading pool. Make sure [Kid #1] doesn’t get her cast wet.”

Me: “Uh, okay. I’m actually [Teacher #1]’s volunteer. Can I leave his students here?”

Teacher #2: “Yes, yes, I have my own volunteer. She can look after them. It’ll just be for a little bit. Don’t let them get too excited or they’ll fall in the water!”

(One hour later:)

Teacher #2: “Hey! It’s time to go!”

Me: “Sounds good!” *calling kids to come out of the pool*

Teacher #2: *conversationally* “She looks excited. You have to make sure she doesn’t get too excited or she will fall in the water.”

Me: “She looks fine.”

Teacher #2: “No, no.” *shouts* “[Kid #1]! Come out of there!”

Me: “Well, I’ll go get my bag—”

Teacher #2: “No, stay with them. Make sure [Kid #1] doesn’t get too excited.”

Me: “…”

Teacher #2: “If she gets the cast wet we’ll be in big trouble.”

Me: “Well, I think it only got a bit damp—”

Teacher #2: “The school will get in trouble. Her parents said no swimming; they said it was very important she stayed dry.” *meaning, both I and the school would be very easy to sue*

Me: *realizing she asked me to supervise so that I’d take the fall if anything happened* “…what?”

Teacher #2: “But she does what she wants, you know. She doesn’t listen. If she gets too excited she will fall in the water.”

Me: “I… have to go back to [Teacher #1]’s group.”

Teacher #2: “Yeah. You should have told them to stay out of the water more, okay? Just for next time. Otherwise she’ll get excited and fall. If her cast gets wet it would be really bad.”

He’s Cat-atonic

| NSW, Australia | Pets & Animals

(I am one of the youth leaders of a group of 11 teens at a church youth camp that has about 150 teens total. I am attempting to get to know the teens a little better as I haven’t had much time to get to know them. I found out some of the girls have cats like I do and I jump on it as a chance to bond. While sharing stories about our cats antics and this is the weird conversation that happened because of that.)

Head Youth Leader: “Yeah, [My Name], it was odd because I have never had an allergic reaction to anything until I met your new cat. I was itchy and hay feverish after I left your house the other day.”

Me: *confused* “Oh, that strange… She is half Russian Blue… and they are known to have hypoallergenic qualities. My sister-in-law, who is allergic to cats, isn’t allergic to her.”

(The head youth leader shrugs, then the youngest teen in our group — a male, 13-year-old who is a farm kid — joins in rather loudly.)

Teen: “What on earth is a Russian Blue?!”

Me: “Oh, it’s a breed of cat. It’s one of my favourites behind Maine Coon.”

Teen: “There isn’t any such thing as cat breeds… Cats are cats.”

Me: *confused again* “Yes, there is… Just like dogs, German Shepherds and Beagles… Horses Arabs and thoroughbred… Cattle, Angus and poll Herefords.”

Teen: *getting annoyed* “No, there ISN’T!”

Me & Another Teen: “Yes, there is.”

(This leads to a 20-minute conversation where I ask him for a breed of cattle and I would answer with a breed of cat. At the end of it he still is not convinced.)

Me: “Okay, why do you think that there isn’t? I’m not going to keep going like this; I’m obviously not changing your mind.”

Teen: *condescendingly*  “Well, there isn’t a society for cats. There is no need for them to have breeds.”

Me: “Um. Yes, there is? My friend who gave me my youngest kitten has pure bred Russian Blues… She shows them for a living. It’s a rather lucrative business.”

Teen: “What do you mean? What’s the point of that?!”

Me: “What’s the point of showing horses and cattle?”

Teen: “BECAUSE!”

Me: *frustrated and amused at the same time* “Well… You let me know when you have a proper answer to that question and you will understand. But I assure you… There is more to cats than just… cats…”

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