ACE Starwood XXI
 July 17 - 22, 2001 ~ Sherman, NY

Photos | Stories | Program | ACE

Curt from Chicago

This year we had some new camping equipment that would take up a lot of
room to set up, so we decided to camp up in the upper meadow beyond the row of trees behind Healers in order to have plenty of room to spread out. We ended up camping next to three sisters who came to Starwood together (their names are withheld due to privacy), and we shared a firepit with them.

On Tuesday night we sat around talking and discovered that we all
shared a common passion for the Power Puff Girls cartoon. Wednesday morning my partner and I went into town to pick up a few odds and ends, and we were in the WalMart over by Lake Chatauqua when we saw one of those metallic helium balloons of Bubbles, one of the Power Puff Girls (the sweet blonde one)! Of course we had to get it and we brought it back to camp and tied it to a prominent part of our tent. Our neighbors really liked it a lot and so did many of the people who walked by our camp (we were next to the trail that led up to the upper woods). There were some young children who played with Bubbles a lot.

The three sisters who were camped next to us even got inspired when
taking the Batik-making workshop to make a batik banner of the three Power Puff Girls, and they hung their banner up on their tent, making our camp the "Power Puff Camp".

Our balloon began to take on a personna over the next week of Starwood.
She would blow around and would actually come into the tent when something interesting was going on, take a look with her very large eyes, and then go back out. Like a little girl (which she was) she would at times get into mischief and wrap herself around a tent pole and I would have to unwind her on occasion. We all in the campsite referred to Bubbles as if she were really real, calling the balloon "her" instead of "it", etc. At night when
it cooled off, she would sink to the ground and go to sleep, and then at the
crack of dawn as the sun warmed her up, she would again rise up and float
around the campsite, keeping her friendly vigilant eye on all that happened.
On Thursday evening when the large hot air balloon was giving people rides
next to our camping spot in the upper meadow, Bubbles became sort of a side attraction to some of the people who came up to see the larger balloon.

When Sunday came and it was time to go, I suddenly had this unforeseen
problem of what to do with Bubbles. I felt a great deal of responsibility
for her. I couldn't just let her go because I knew that those kind of
metallic balloons could cause problems if they hit into electric power
lines. I didn't want to throw her away, I mean, she was family by now! But
we just didn't have room for her in our car with all the other gear. It was
gut wrenching to think of what to do. I finally tied her to a tent stake
and walked her down to the ACE information tent and asked them if they knew of anyone who would like a Power Puff balloon, and of course they didn't know either. They said why don't I just put her into the yellow Ryder
rental truck that held ACE stuff going back to Cleveland, and so I did. As
I left Bubbles in the back of that truck, though, I felt like I was
abandoning her - it was heart wrenching!!

After we had all packed up and everything and were ready to go home, we
were driving through the main camp and decided to jump in the showers one last time to get ready for a long car trip back to Chicago. As we walked
over to the showers there were a group of teenagers sitting at a couple of
the tables next to the coffee shop. Suddenly I spotted Bubbles down by the
information tent. Somehow she had gotten out of the back of that Ryder
rental truck and was sort of moving around on her own!! She did *NOT* want to be in that truck! I got a flash of inspiration, and went down and got
Bubbles and brought her up to where the teenagers were and told them that we didn't have room for her in our car. Immediately ten hands shot up and
everyone was clammering to be able to have her. One boy about 14 was saying that Bubbles was his cousin's favorite cartoon character, and he out-raced the others over to me and grabbed her and ran off with about half-a-dozen teenagers running after him. I had found the right home for Bubbles.

I know this sounds like a totally crazy story, but as I walked back to
the car and said good-bye to Starwood, my heart was overjoyed not only for
the many blessings I had received once again by being there, but for the
beautiful knowledge that our camp mascot was going to be okay. I learned to be careful about adopting a camp mascot, even if it is a child's balloon.
There are powerful emotional energies involved with such things. Blessed

--Curt from Chicago