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Badger Camp Tales, or The Summer I Learned What it Means to be Hufflepuff

Shiloh Adlar, Ravenclaw

It was the end of June when I received owl post from one of my good Badger friends asking if I wanted to come visit for awhile this summer. I wrote back, sending my lovely brown owl, Booker, with the reply. It was unfortunate that during this time Booker somehow got lost and I never heard from her again. I still wonder every day if she’s off exploring the world, waiting to come back to me and tell me of her adventures, but I digress.

My reply was sent in the affirmative, and I packed my luggage so I was ready to go at the beginning of July. When July 1st rolled around, I used the floo network to meet my friend at Diagon Alley where she was with many other badgers, and would you believe it, students from the other houses as well! It looked like we were going to have a summer party. I walked over to her and asked, “So Katelin, what’s the plan this summer? What’s going on?”

She seemed so excited that I had shown up and started rambling about all of the plans. The first stop we were going to make was at the beach. None of us were of age yet to use magic outside of school, so we had a couple adults help us along on our travels. Thanks, Rorey and Pezzie for the side-along apparition trips. We made it to the beach unscathed!

Everyone was ready to get some sun, swim and of course make the best sandcastle. The days were warm and filled with laughter while the nights were cool and filled with song. All of us would sit along the beach at night and turn the music up as loud as we could get away with while many of us sang along or tried to. It was these first few nights on the beach that I really started learning from my badger peers. One person had been trying to build a sandcastle but it kept falling apart. A Hufflepuff came over and offered her help and together they made the most beautiful castle of sand no matter how many times the other student accidentally messed it up. The Hufflepuff was patient with him and at the end, he had a large smile on his face for their accomplishment.

Katelin came to me on our last night at the beach and asked how I felt about camping. I told her that I thought it was fun, but it had been so long since I had done anything like that. I asked her why and she told me that it was because that was our next stop. It was around this time that I began to call our summer vacation Badger Camp. After all, we were surrounded by them.

When we made it to the campgrounds, we pitched our tents. Some of the better memories I have are around the campfire at night where we would tell stories or sing campfire songs. A few of us even went hiking to look out over the hill into the valley below. It was on one of these trips that I understood what it meant by Hufflepuffs being loyal.

At some point, we had gotten lost. It was getting late, and another student, a Slytherin that had tagged along, turned to the badger that was leading us and stated firmly that it was her fault we were lost. Another Hufflepuff, one that was friends with both students, spoke up defending her badger friend. She said that no one was to blame for us being lost. We had all been talking and not paying attention and sometimes people accidentally walked off the trail. She told the Slytherin that he had no right to blame her friend for such a thing when not one of us knew where we were either. The Slytherin stopped for a moment and stared at her, they had known each other for a while, before he finally let it go, and can you believe it, admitted he was wrong. It came out in a mumble, but we all heard it.

When we had run out of camping supplies, we decided it was time to leave. Katelin told me that next, she had a surprise. Rorey and Pezzie both popped in again to send us all to our next location, a theme park. It was here that we met up with a lot of Ravenclaws who were also theme park hunting that week. We joined up with them quickly and decided to go to a show.

The show we went to had a lot of great songs. Yes, there was much singing that occurred this entire month of July during Badger Camp. The best part was singing out loud, both Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws giggling like maniacs as our voices traversed the crowd. I had learned so far that Hufflepuffs truly are kind, loyal, fair and just, but I had no idea that they could also have this much fun. By the time the show was over, all of us were smiling and laughing together, and none of us had any idea what could be this terribly funny. All we knew is that we were having a grand time.

We went on some rides, one which I was pulled onto by one of my Gryffindor friends who said I needed to practice my bravery. My dear badger friend held my hand the whole time we were on the roller coaster. All I could think about were the statistics of anything and everything going wrong. Even if we were allowed to use magic in life threatening situations, I still preferred not to. Thankfully, there were no incidents.

The last stop of my summer vacation with the Badger Camp crew was back at Rorey’s place. She was kind enough to allow quite a few of us to stay over and spend the last week reading great books from her library and exploring the local sites. It was laid back and very relaxing. At night we would watch movies and what you might not think would happen, absolutely happened. The Slytherin who had blamed the Hufflepuff student on our hiking adventure found himself right next to her, trying not to hold her hand. One of the Gryffindor students that had stayed was tossing popcorn over in their direction in between mouthfuls, and I, with a couple other Ravenclaws, watched the whole scene with amusement before a loud noise from the speaker made all of us jump. It was at this point my foot hit the popcorn bowl, and it flew across the room spreading popcorn everywhere. Rorey cleaned it up quickly with a simple spell but not until after the pillow fight that ensued.

It was hard to part at the end from this amazing Badger Camp, but through it all, I learned so much of my badger friends. They weren’t passive. They stood up for each other. They had great ideas and knew how to bring people together others may not think would ever be together. They believed in the power of laughter and were open and accepting of so many things. Their kindness and compassion were absolute. Moreso, they gave me a summer I would not soon forget, and for that, I am grateful.