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Summer Camp by Alan Dwight

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I also loved this story. I too read it twice.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say that when we were that age, the fear of being outed at summer camp was terrifying, and there would have been no reprieve either. Something like that happened to me when I was sixteen, four weeks into a six-week session at a summer science program at a Midwestern university. Of course I denied it, even to myself, but the last two weeks there were hell. I fear that a lot of summer camps in the U.S. and around the world would still be that way - especially those with certain church affiliations. It's fortunate for Wayne and Kyle in Alan's story that the camp in their story was in the Northeast. Times have changed, and I'd like to think that most are like the one in the story when it comes to the treatment of gay kids.

The kids in Wayne's dorm cabin were mostly eleven, which means that most just finished the fifth grade and will start middle school in the fall. I feel for them. Wayne would like to become a late elementary school teacher, which brings up my own memories of my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Genders, who was the first male teacher I ever had. He was the only male teacher in all seven grades, K-6, in our elementary school and none of my classmates in junior high had had a male teacher in the other elementary schools. How lonely it must be for a guy who likes teaching at that grade level. I remember Mr. Genders fondly as he was one of my favorite teachers in elementary school. In fact, he and my third-grade teachers were the only ones I remember fondly at all from that time in my life. Mr. Genders made learning fun, and I think he had a lot to do with my lifelong love of learning. Kids need male role models in their younger years - not that my father wasn't a great role model, but a good male elementary school teacher can do wonders for a boy's esteem. Here's to you, Mr. Genders. Here's to you, Wayne and Kyle. Here's to you, Alan.

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Thank you all for writing. Actually, there was a lot in the story which was quite real. Alitmexis, you might be interested to know that I began my teaching career as the only male teacher in the elementary school. It was a bit lonely at first. Later I moved to a school that was pre-K through 9th grade so there were several male teachers. 

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Hey, what happened to the story link on the AD home page? It disappeared with this week's update. I hope that wasn't intentional, as it's a wonderful story. It can't be reached from Alan's home page either, as that hasn't been updated in some time.

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