Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James's week is threatened by a prank-playing bunk mate's antics. But during an unexpected thunderstorm in a game of capture-the-flag, the prankster finds himself lost and alone deep inside the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy but not before he teaches him a hard-earned lesson about friendship. Wholesome, adventurous, outdoor fun, this Rosco the Rascal tale brings the magic of summer camp to life.
*136 pages
*Recommended for ages 6-10

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17. No More Class Clown

Jeffrey thought about the last hour as they walked. He’d better not push his luck. He’d head back to camp. His counselors had probably noticed he was missing by now. Even if that flag were still out here, he’d better forget about it.

Maybe he could still help his team find the flag and win the game after the rain stopped. That was better than sneaking around and trying to do it by himself, especially when he was supposed to be back at camp by now.

Thankfully, the rain had slowed down. Soon, Jeffrey and the dogs crossed the grassy field and arrived at the dining hall’s covered porch. James, Caleb, and Mike hurried over to greet him.

“Jeffrey, where have you been? We were starting to worry!” James said. “Matt’s been asking where you were. And Rosco and Sheriff, you’re back, too! Hi, boys!” He patted the dogs on the back.

Jeffrey told them his story about the rocks and his shoe and Rosco. The boys listened closely, amazed.

“Guys,” Jeffrey said. “Look, I know I should’ve come back when the rain started. But I wanted to find that flag so I could win the game for our team.”

“We understand, Jeffrey,” James said.

Jeffrey continued. “And I know if I had come to free you guys from jail, I never would’ve been out there alone and gotten stuck. I guess I deserved what happened. I let you down.”

“Nah, it’s okay,” Mike said. “It’s no big deal. The rain started anyway. We weren’t in jail for very long.”

“But I didn’t come to free you like we agreed,” Jeffrey went on. “And I guess I got very, very lucky that Rosco came along when he did. He really helped me out of a tight spot.”

The boys smiled.

“But guys, I’m not stupid. I know that you’ve all been hanging out with me lately just because you wanted to keep an eye on me, so I wouldn’t play any more pranks on you. But, as it turned out, I liked hanging out with you guys, and I liked being treated like I was your friend. So I wanted to win this game for all of us. I wanted you guys and everyone else to like me, finally.”

The three boys listened in surprise.

“I wanted to do the right thing,” Jeffrey went on. “I guess I was just going about it the wrong way. I should’ve played by the rules.”

“That is true,” Caleb answered. “Because it wouldn’t have counted if you had captured the flag but broken the rule about returning in bad weather. The counselors would have said it was a forfeit, and we would’ve lost anyway.”

“So I guess it all worked out for the best, then?” James said brightly. “The rain saved us from having to forfeit the game.”

“I guess so,” Jeffrey agreed. “But wait. I only played jokes on you because I wanted you to like me.” He looked at the ground and shuffled his feet nervously. “Although it didn’t really work.”

“Well, Jeffrey, your jokes are sometimes mean, not funny,” Mike replied.

“I know. I’m sorry about that,” Jeffrey said. “But can you give me another chance? Can I still be a part of your group? I’ll stop playing jokes, and I’ll try really hard not to be rude or aim things at your face when you’re holding tall bowls of ice cream.” He smiled apologetically at Caleb.

“Of course, you can still be a part of our group,” James said.

Caleb nodded. “See, camp is a place where people are nice to each other, where you don’t have to play jokes on people to make them like you. We’re all friends here. You don’t have to be a class clown just to fit in. I hope that you know that now.”

A few other boys from their cabin had gathered around by this time and were listening.

Just no more hiding that rubber snake in my bed,” Tim said.

“Okay,” Jeffrey answered.

“And you’d better swear you won’t sneak the candy bars from my care packages anymore,” said a boy named Jeremiah.

“I swear.”

“And you’d better not throw me in the pool again!” said Josh.

“Me neither!” said Tim.

“Aw, come on. I can’t even throw anyone in the pool?” Jeffrey grinned. “What fun can I have here?”

“All right, all right! You can still throw us in the pool!” Mike said. “But we’re going to get you back if you do! Let’s show him, guys!”

Mike reached over and wrapped both arms around Jeffrey’s waist. With a lively smirk, he picked him up and carried him out into the rain, dropping him in a large puddle.

“This is what you’re going to get if you throw anyone in the pool!” Mike said, jumping on him like it was a game of tackle football. The rest of the boys piled on.

Eventually, they all stood up again, laughing, muddy, and soaking wet.

Jeffrey wasn’t angry. “I guess I deserved that!” he said. “But all right, I get it! I’ll only throw you in the pool if I want to get thrown in too!”

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