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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7. Take the Leap

Mandy was enjoying camp. She had spent part of Monday morning in the arts and crafts room, painting a pet rock as a present for Dad. She painted hers to look like an owl, then glued on googly eyes when the paint was dry. It would be a paperweight for his desk.

She hadn’t been missing home too much. But as she painted that rock, she began to wonder what her parents were doing at that very moment. Suddenly, she’d felt a little twinge of sadness.

So, today during rest hour, she had taken out the notepaper that Mom had packed for her, and written her parents a short letter. She had given it to her counselor to mail.

Somehow, it felt as though her good mood had been magically restored. Writing that letter reminded her just how much fun she was having and how quickly time was passing here.

After rest hour, Mandy’s cabin group went swimming. It was hot out, the perfect day for a dip in the pool.

The camp pool had a diving board that was six feet off the ground and a deep end that was twelve feet deep.

It had only been five minutes since they’d arrived at the pool, and some of the girls were already dancing about in the wide shallow end, showing off their best underwater flips and handstands. Others took a deep breath and held their noses as they ducked down under the surface, then jumped back up, straight out of the water as high as they could go. Still other girls lined up for the diving board.

“James!” Mandy cried, waving from the middle of the shallow end. She was excited to see her brother’s cabin group now entering the pool gate, too. She had only seen him at the dining hall and at the all-camp activities, like the campfire last night.

James waved sweetly to his younger sister as he walked in with his friends. He held up one thumb to her with a questioning look. Then he turned it thumbs-down with a look of concern. She answered this sign language of theirs with her own thumbs-up, as if to say, “Yep, everything’s fine!”

James smiled, satisfied with her answer, and followed the other boys to a wooden bench. They set down their towels and began to apply their sunscreen.

The older boys wasted no time as they cannon balled or jumped into the cool, blue water, making giant splashes that sprayed the younger girls.

Rosco was at the pool, too. He lounged in the shade of a large maple tree that stood beside the gated swimming area, enjoying the lively atmosphere in between naps. Every now and then, tiny drops of cool water splashed his warm fur. Sheriff slept at the far end of the pool yard, as far away from Rosco as he could get.

A lifeguard blew her whistle. “No running on the pavement!” she called to a boy.

Three young girls from Mandy’s cabin, Izzy, Natasha, and Madison, stood at the back of the diving board line, waiting their turns to climb the ladder and use the diving board. Jeffrey walked over, stepping into place behind them.

“It’s almost your turn, Izzy. Are you sure you’re ready to jump from that high?” Natasha asked.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Izzy said. “At least I think so.” But she looked worried.

Jeffrey listened, rolling his eyes.

All of them continued to wait in line while watching the kids ahead of them take their turns.

Some of the kids seemed to be experts at using the diving board. One boy walked to the edge of the board, hopped up and down to get the board moving, and sprang up into the air. He did a somersault and landed in the pool with a giant splash.

“Oooo!” cried a group of kids who had been watching.

Soon, the three girls reached the front of the line. Natasha climbed the ladder, walked confidently to the end of the board, bounced up and down as hard as she could, jumped off the board, and grabbed her knees in the air. She landed in the water with an enormous splash.

Madison climbed the ladder, walked a bit more slowly to the end of the board, then cautiously looked to the left and to the right. She squeezed her nose between her finger and thumb, and simply stepped off the board. She hit the water with hardly a splash.

Then, seven-year-old Izzy timidly climbed the ladder and began to walk stiffly across the diving board. Reaching the end, she stopped and peered over the edge.

The water looked so far down and so deep! She wasn’t ready to take the leap.

But Jeffrey was still waiting at the bottom of the ladder for his turn. “Come on, kid! Just jump!” he hollered impatiently.

By this time, Natasha and Madison had climbed out of the pool and were standing beside it below, anxiously waiting for their friend. “Come on, Izzy. You can do it,” Natasha chanted.

But she just couldn’t jump. Izzy was scared. In fact, she was panicking. Her legs wouldn’t move—not forward, not backward, not to jump, not to walk back and climb down the ladder. She began to cry.

“Come on, kid! You’re holding up the line!” Jeffrey called roughly. Then he climbed a few steps up the ladder, hunching down so the counselors wouldn’t notice him. “Hurry up!” But Izzy didn’t move.

“Come on!” he said again. Losing his patience, he climbed to the top of the ladder and bounced up and down a couple of times. This made the board vibrate in little waves of motion. He didn’t care who saw him now.

Just get it over with, kid. Just get off the board. There are people waiting, Jeffrey thought with irritation.

Izzy turned to see who had been yelling at her. The older boy at the other end of the diving board sneered at her, bouncing up and down again on the board. She heard a nearby lifeguard blow his whistle.

The next thing she knew, she lost her balance and was falling, falling down into the water.

Splash!

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