My Run-in with the Nasty Camp Director and Why You Should Not Flip People Off

A little background here… Masha is signed up for 6 weeks of summer camp at the town. Starting this week (#2) she is also going to her ESY program at one of our district schools after camp. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the kids from her school program come to the town pool after lunch to swim. Last year on those days Masha went to the school and had no one to really be with her and it didn’t go so well. So this year I asked the leader of her program if there was a way that they could keep Masha there, and let her eat lunch while she waited for her classmates to arrive. Terri explained to me that there is no paid staff after 11:30 that can stay with Masha. So I arranged for a babysitter to meet Masha at the pool and watch her during the 45 minute wait.

Yesterday was the first day this was going to happen, and our babysitter was unable to go, therefore I went instead. That means that I would be unable to meet the boys on their bus returning them home from the same camp. So I got there a little early, parked at the pool area, poked my head in to let Terri know I was there and would be right back to watch Masha and then walked down to pick up my sons directly from their counselors where they were waiting to load the buses. We started the long walk across the lawns, the playground, and the pavilion to the road that leads back up to where the pool is. About 1/3 of the way up the road past the pavilion, a young guy on a golf cart drives up to us and asks me if I signed the boys out. No, I told him, I did not know that I had to.

He tells me that I have to go back down to the pavilion and sign them out. I explain that I was supposed to be at the pool by 11:30 because there is no one to watch my daughter with special needs who is waiting there for her school class to arrive. I ask him if we can continue on and I will come back after I get Masha straightened out and then sign my boys out. No, he says, I cannot take them without signing them out first. I ask him if he can drive the sheet up while we are walking and I will sign it on the way. He says no he can’t do that. I ask him if he can give us a ride down and then back up to the pool so that Terri does not have to wait, unpaid, for me to get back there. He says no he cannot do that either. So I tell him that he can keep my boys until I can get back. I tell my boys to go with him and that I will be up at the pool with Masha until I come back for them.

I speed walk up the rest of the way up the hill and find Masha and her counselor. After explaining to Terri that I need to go back and get my sons signed out, I load Masha into the van and drive back down to the pavilion. I set her up with her lunch, leave all the windows down and go out to locate my sons. About 20 feet from the van I see them and they see me and come running. Suddenly a tall man steps directly in my path and almost chest bumps me.

He is in my space and in a loud voice says, “Is there a problem?”

“No,” I answer, “I am here to sign out my sons.” Who are now standing right next to me looking worried.

“My group leader tells me that you have a problem with that.” He is staring me down.

“Oh,” I begin, “I have a daughter that…”

“I know who your kids are.” He cuts me off.

“I was here yesterday and talked to Terri and she said I had to pick Masha up by 11:30 because there is no paid staff that can watch her after that and…”

He cuts me off again, “That’s not true. They are up there until 11:45 waiting to load the buses.”

“I am only telling you what I was told, and I needed to go get…”

“I don’t want to hear you talking,” he shouts. “If you have a problem with signing your kids out then maybe you should REMOVE them from camp.”

This was the what-the-fuck moment for me, my friends. Some guy I never met before is in my face, aggressively speaking to me in front of my sons, refuses to let me speak, and then tells me that I should take my kids out of camp for good? Yeah, no.

I push my sunglasses up onto my head so he can see me look him right in the eyes, and I ask to speak to his supervisor. At which point he tells me that HE IS THE SUPERVISOR and that this is HIS CAMP.

“And this is my town which pays for your   camp. Now where do I sign my kids out?” I say as I side-step my way around him and start walking toward the pavilion. My poor sons stood frozen with fear.

He followed me, yelling that the sign out sheet was in the office building. So I entered the little wooden camp building and looked around. It was filled with counselors. He comes in behind me and continues YELLING at me that it is to the right, TO THE RIGHT.

“You would know this,” he goes on, “if you bothered to follow the rules.”

I finally yell back at him, “But I DON”T know this, because I have NEVER had to pick up my kids from camp before!”

The camp secretary also happens to be the secretary at our local elementary school. She is standing there looking shocked and nervous. With a shaky hand, I sign my boys out and turn to leave. As I pass him, he starts in again.

“Tomorrow when you see me…”

I cut him off, “Why would I see you tomorrow. Where are you going to be that I would see you?”

“Right here.” He bellows.

“Well, I won’t be here.” I answer.

“Well if you are…” the guy just cannot quit.

I finally lose my composure and flip him off as I herd my terrified sons to the van and load them in.

While back at the pool area waiting for Masha’s class to arrive, I mention to someone what happened and ask about that guy. I am told that although he is a “nice guy” he does have a streak in him. A streak that I found very unacceptable, so on my way out of the park, I stopped in at the town park & rec office to let them know what happened.

The woman in the office first confirmed that she is the person who would hear a complaint about the camp director, and then she sat through my story looking a little bored. At the end she told me that he had already called her, that there are two sides to every story and that perhaps I should not have flipped off the group leader.

“Is that what he told you? Then he is not just rude and aggressive, but he is also a liar because it was him, in the end, that I flipped off.”

Then she starts telling me that Terri was wrong and that she is going to talk to her about Masha and I am thinking “Hellloooooo” this is not about Terri. I told her that I get the feeling this is going nowhere, and that someone needs to talk to the director about his inappropriate behavior. It is not okay for him to talk to someone like he did, not okay to scare my kids, and not okay to say that I should remove my kids from camp.

“You do understand the importance of signing your children out of camp, don’t you? If everybody just came and took their kids it would be mayhem.”

“Yes, I understand that which is why I left my sons with the group leader until I could return to SIGN THEM OUT.”

It is here that I started remembering the crazy time I had with the tax department four years ago when we needed a notarized letter on town letterhead that described our home as part of our adoption dossier. The guy who ran that department flat-out refused to provide it for no reason other than that he “does not answer to foreign government requests.” I took that one all the way to the town supervisor who told me that Mr. So & So runs his department the way he sees fit, and that if I went to the press about it, they would definitely have a close look at my house vis-a-vis town code regulations.

I thanked the town parks & recreation lady for hearing me out and we went on our way. I am still really upset about the whole thing, but obviously since I lost it at the end there and flipped him off, I effectively ended any chance of him having to take responsibility for his actions. Lesson learned mom, lesson finally learned.


  1. Anna Theuer says

    Wow! I have a few choice words for the camp director. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t hear you out and why he was yelling at you. I really don’t. He was rude and condescending and completely unprofessional. I am not sure who you should go to next. What do your boys think of all of this?

  2. Sara Beasley says

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now after googling blogs on adoption and ended up here. I love you ability to express yourself and the way you have opened my eyes to the world of down syndrome. I wasn’t coming here looking for down syndrome info, just adoption related words of advice from one adoptive Mama to another but I gained so much more reading about your experiences with your children and it is inspiring how you are able to advocate and fight for what you know is right for your children, who are just that, children. Thanks for sharing. I have a lot to learn in the advocation department and you are a wonderful teacher on how to hold your ground in knowing what’s right for your kids and fighting for it.

    I would have totally blown my top on that ass. The finger probably would have been the nicest thing I could have done to him that day. He definitely deserved it!

  3. L.L. Barkat says

    Hmmm. I hope you are going to bake him some brownies or something. I suppose if you put a narcotic in it, that might be illegal? 😉

    So sorry about this. I cannot believe it. Obviously someone needs a career change (and I wasn’t thinking it’s you.)

  4. kdedie says

    You kept your composure a lot longer then I would have , and at least your kids are still in camp. I on the other hand would have told him he was not my husband, father, or jailer and had NO right to talk to me in such an abusive manner. And that I felt sorry for anyone who had to spend any time around him… and .of course he would have booted my kids out. But damn I was getting ill reading this post and right now I am still angry. Too bad you couldn’t somehow get this published, talk about a war on women. but of course he would retaliate in some way or another and who needs that. So you did the better thing than I would have,long ago I vowed I would never again take any man’s shit. That is just me. Try to stay out of that guys way and hope your boys learned a valuable lesson on how not to treat other people…m

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