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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18. Second Chance

Finally, when everyone’s patience had just about run out, the rain slowed to a light drizzle and then stopped. The shy evening sun shone behind the last remaining clouds.

“It stopped!” the campers cheered. Several ran out onto the grass to see for themselves. “The rain finally stopped!”

A few minutes later, Tony pulled out his megaphone. “Sorry, campers, but capture the flag will be postponed until tomorrow afternoon. Everyone should return to their cabins now to dry off and settle in for the night.”

The sun would be setting soon, and they all knew it was getting too late to go back out into the woods again, anyway. James was satisfied that their team would get a second chance tomorrow.

Friday afternoon arrived. Campers and counselors lined up to tie their bandanas on again. The flags were hidden—in new places this time—and the whistle was blown. The game began as it did the night before—same teams, same boundaries, same rules.

But this time, Mandy and her friends headed straight toward the lake trail and into the woods. “Come on, I know how we can sneak into red territory and look for the flag!” Mandy told them.

“Okay! And let’s stay out of jail this time!” Margaret added.

Rosco followed. He would keep close by Mandy and the girls this afternoon.

 

*  *  *

 

Over in another part of the woods, James and his friends ran through their new plan.

“Okay,” said Mike. “James, you and Caleb will go on defense in blue territory like we all decided. Catch as many red players as you can.”

James and Caleb nodded, excited to chase down other players this time.

“Jeffrey and I will go on offense. We’ll head to the red team’s woods and search for the flag. When the horn sounds to let everyone know that the game is halfway over, we should all head to the lean-to. If any of us doesn’t show up, we’ll know that person’s in jail and we need to go free them.”

Caleb added, “But if you hear someone on the megaphone, that means that one of the teams won and the game is over. So head back to the field where the game started if you hear it.”

“Right. Has everyone got it?” Mike asked.

“Got it,” they answered. Then they split in pairs and parted ways.

It didn’t take long for two boys looking for the blue flag to appear, sneaking along the path.

“Let’s get em when they get close!” Caleb whispered to James from where they hid behind a rock. Caleb waited a few seconds, then jumped out and quickly tagged one red team boy. James tagged the other. “Off to jail, guys!”

Soon, Mandy’s group, following the lake trail quietly through red territory, noticed a tall hickory tree with a small pile of rocks at the bottom of its trunk, about twenty feet from the trail. “Let’s go check out that pile of rocks, guys,” Mandy said. “That looks kind of strange.”

“Keep your heads down,” Margaret warned. “The red defenders will be waiting out here for blue players like us to come by.”

“Hey, look! Footprints!” Kimberly said. Everyone stopped. “They go all the way from the trail to those rocks over there.”

Yesterday’s rain had left the ground still muddy today, so these footprints were easy to spot, especially since they went off the trail.

The girls and Rosco left the trail to inspect the footprints and the rocks, with Rosco close behind. But nothing seemed unusual about the rocks.

Mandy circled to the other side of the tree trunk as the others bent down to study the prints. All of a sudden she opened her mouth in surprise. “Guys! Look!” she said in a loud whisper. They hurried over. She pointed, placing one finger to her mouth. “Shhh.”

There, on the other side of the tree, planted firmly in the dirt, stood a small red flag on a short, thin stick. It wasn’t visible from the trail. It wasn’t exactly hidden, but it didn’t stand out either. The red team had done a good job of placing their important little treasure in a hiding spot, while strictly following the rule about keeping it visible.

“The flag! Oh, my gosh! It’s the flag!”

 

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