The Golden Dustpan

This Shutter Sisters post is all about giving a camera to a child.  This is SO much more doable in this age of digital photography.  I didn’t have my own camera until I was 12, and even then I was nervous about “wasting” film (my parents were very frugal), so there was a reserved-ness to my photography – I never took any risky shots.

Last summer, I gave disposable cameras to the girls to take to Camp Mowana, but I must have inadvertently transferred some of my childhood warnings to them.  They were afraid to take “wrong” pictures and “waste” their film.  As a result, they only took half the roll over the week and the cameras got lost over the rest of the summer as I waited for them to finish taking pictures.

THIS year, I again sent them with disposable cameras, but told them not to come home with any pictures left in the camera.  And it worked!  They got home on Friday and on Saturday, I took two fully exposed cameras to the store and got pictures and digital copies on CD in an hour.

I cannot express how exciting it was, waiting for those pictures.  You see, I don’t get much news from camp.  It’s a Christian camp, so it’s a fun week, but also a very personal experience which changes people.  (I know because I went there myself as a child!).  So we get pretty generic answers when we pick them up and ask them how the week went.  But I had a feeling these photos would provide a few glimpses into the week of their lives I had missed.

Of course, I got the expected kids shots:  a flashlight in someone’s lap, haphazard shots of dark treetops, and even one of the sidewalk.  But I also got some real gems.  Meg took a striking picture of a very red barn against a very blue sky, framed by some very green trees.  The composition was great!  She also took a shot of kids sitting in a circle, petting a bunny.  Em did a fantastic job handing the camera to other people to take pictures of her – a real treat since she usually doesn’t like her picture taken!  She also took some nice shots of her horse, Marverick (this was the first year a horse camp was offerred, so she was in 7th heaven).

But my favorite shot was this one: the coveted Golden Dustpan!  You see, I have lots of amazing camp memories, but I had forgotten about the Golden Dustpan.  Each day after breakfast, there is a cabin clean-up time.  And then the campers head off to their activities and the head staff folks come around and see how well you cleaned your cabin.  The cleanest cabin wins one day’s possesion of the Golden Dustpan, engraved with the native American arrowhead with a cross which is the camp’s logo.

Both girls were so excited about winning the Golden Dustpan.  Meg’s cabin finally got it on the last day (no surprise, given that Meg was in the cabin!).  Em’s cabin earned it TWICE and she took today’s featured picture.

When I saw the picture and heard their stories, the memories came flooding back.  One little detail of my life experience that time had erased, brought back to life by a child and a camera.


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