Riot in the Dining Hall

After lunch, Lydia took the stage at the front of the dining hall. She held up her hand for silence and the dining hall quickly became quiet.

“Our very own nurse, Anne, has an announcement for you guys. So, listen up!”

Campers and staff turned to look at me as I stepped up onto the stage. I had to admit, I was a little nervous. 

“Hey campers! I have some exciting news for you. We are starting a new award this session. Your hut can earn the clean hands award!”

With this Angus led the senior staff table in a chant.


“Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands!”

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The whole dining hall joined in. I looked over at my kids. They had huge smiles on their faces. They joined in too. Then Angus stood up and raised his hands over his head, swaying while chanting. The hut staff took note, and did the same. Within a few seconds all the campers were at their feet joining in waving their (filthy) hands in the air and chanting.

“Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands!”

This. Was. Hilarious! I just stood there, taking it all in. I smiled and I had to giggle. Finally I raised my hand to get their attention again. It took about a minute for all of the campers and staff to sit back down. I continued.

“It’ really important for you to wash your hands before every meal. This helps prevent you from getting germs and spreading them. So, just like we did before lunch today, I will have the staff help me count how many clean hands there are in each hut. I don’t want to see any dirt on your hands or under your fingernails. So be sure to give them a good scrub with soap and water for at least 15 seconds before every meal.”

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Angus jumped up again and started another two minutes of chanting.

“Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands!”

I raised my hand again and the crowd settled.

“Now, it will be a random check. You will never know when to expect us, so you must always have clean hands for meals. The hut with the most clean hands at the end of the session wins cake.”  And with that the dining hall exploded again. Kids jumping up and down, cheering, fist pumping in the air! And then the chanting started again, but this time it was two different chants.

“Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands! Cleeeeeeean haaaaaaaaands!”

“Caaaaaaaaaaake! Caaaaaaaaaaake! Caaaaaaaaaaake!”

As the chanting continued, I stepped down from the stage and went back to the table. I had caused a minor riot. My job here was done.

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