Optionals Focus: Pet Rocks

by Joel Hahn

Joel Hahn

One of the things that makes SCATS special is that it gives the campers the opportunity to express their creativity and imagination. Generally, as counselors, we enjoy our job the most when we get to see the campers having fun and being themselves. For this reason, Emily Leamon and I decided to hold our Optional called Pet Rocks. It is the second year we’ve held this Optional, and each time it has been an overwhelming success.

The activity starts with a nice roam around campus in search of rocks to “adopt.” Each camper selects one rock and gives it a name. An important point about the care of pet rocks is that campers need to gain the trust of their rocks before they can become true rock owners.

Once everyone’s rock has a name, Emily and I take the campers around to expose their rocks to “culture,” which consists of meeting their elders (large rocks) and having their rocks listen to rock music. We emphasize the importance of understanding their rock’s history because we believe this understanding strengthens their bond with their rock. Once Emily and I deem the campers worthy of becoming proper rock owners, we make them take an oath that sanctifies their bond “in the eyes of the U.S. government.” We told the campers that they would need a visa to take their rocks to other countries.

At the end of the Optional, the campers get the opportunity to talk about their rocks with the group and each camper is able to show off the unique pet that he or she has created. The rocks this week had a wide range of interests, from K-pop to eating lobster, and all the campers walked away with a special creation and memory they could show off to their friends.


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