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


13. The Plan

Inside the woods, Mike led his group of four to an empty spot below a large hickory tree. He pulled out a folded-up piece of paper. It was a map of camp.

The staff kept a pile of maps in the office for directing new kids to their cabins on the first day of each new session of camp. Mike’s parents had left theirs with him. Mike pointed to the map.

“If any of us gets separated and can’t find another one of our group, let’s meet at the lean-to.”

“What’s a lean-to?” asked Jeffrey.

“It’s a small shelter built out of branches and sticks, covered with leaves. It looks kind of like a tent.”

“Oh, okay,” said Jeffrey.

Mike looked up. “So, are we in agreement on the plan?” The other boys nodded.

“But what if one of us gets tagged and taken to jail?” Jeffrey asked.

“If that happens, don’t worry. Since this game goes on for two whole hours, you’re pretty likely to be freed by someone on our team,” Mike said. “Even if it’s not one of us. But we’ll each promise to do our best to try and free each other, right?”

“Right,” James and Caleb answered.

“Okay, I agree, then,” Jeffrey said.

“Now, we’ve got to get over to enemy territory and find that flag. Let’s stick together unless someone gets caught. But listen, if anyone does get caught,” Mike said intently, looking at Jeffrey, “don’t give away the rest of our positions. The rest of us will be hiding. Just go to jail. It won’t do us any good if we all get caught.”

“Got it,” Jeffrey said. James and Caleb nodded.

“You sure, Jeffrey? No funny business, right?” Mike said.

Jeffrey nodded. He became very serious. “I’m sure.”

The other boys glanced at each other, deciding to believe him. Jeffrey really seemed to want to play by the rules. He seemed to be telling the truth when he agreed to stick to the plan. Still, they would keep a close eye on him.

“All right, let’s head toward red territory,” James said. “Keep your heads down.”

So the boys quietly moved deeper into the woods, into red territory, far from the grassy field where the red team’s defenders were waiting to tag people.

“Where can that flag be?” James said quietly to Mike. The rules said the flag had to be visible, even if it wasn’t in an obvious place. It had to be around here somewhere.

Carefully, the boys edged forward, searching the bases of trees and moss-covered rocks.

“Keep your heads down,” James whispered. “We can get tagged here.” Mike, James, Caleb, and Jeffrey, working together, were still unnoticed by any members of the red team. They spread out and were stepping quietly on the underbrush as they searched for the flag.

Suddenly, the sound of cracking twigs and crunching leaves came from close behind Caleb. Fast footsteps followed.

“Get them!” a boy called, approaching rapidly. Two more boys from the red team jumped out from behind trees and bushes. They raced at the blue team.

“Run!” Mike screamed. But quickly, Mike and James were overtaken. Their captors grabbed each of them by an elbow and took them out onto the trail. Still free, Caleb ran in the other direction but tripped over a log and fell to his knees. The third boy ran up and tagged him.

“What about that other kid? The taller one with the brown hair,” one of the red team said. “There were four of them.”

“Oh, he won’t get far by himself in the woods. Let’s take these ones to jail first. Then we’ll come back and get him.”

But Jeffrey had gotten away. He’d run as fast as his legs would take him. He’d found a hiding place behind a cluster of large rocks. He would stay hidden until the boys were gone, just like Mike had told them to do.

Jeffrey was proud of himself. He was the only one fast enough to get away! He could go free his friends from jail and put them back in the game.

But wait, what about the flag? It had to be out here somewhere. They’d already searched so much red territory. If he went to free the guys from jail, someone else might come along and find it, and take all the glory, after all of their hard work.

Jeffrey wanted that glory. But he also wanted to do this for James and the guys. They were treating him like a friend, despite the tricks he had played on them all.

More than that, he was sure he could do this on his own. He’d be fine out here in the woods by himself. He thought, surely, that with some luck, he could find the flag before anyone else and manage to get away from any red team defenders that might come along. He was older than Caleb, James, and Mike anyway. He was bigger and stronger.

He could become the hero of the blue team if he could capture that flag. Then all the kids on his team would like him. Yes, he would do it. Someone else would have to free the guys from jail.

Quietly, Jeffrey moved forward, inspecting every possible hiding place for the flag.

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