Chapter 1: Welcome to Camp! 1 Welcome to Camp!
Kiara Pal had been looking forward to sleepover camp at Camp Firefly all summer.
She slept over Nani’s house all the time. And she loved it. But sleeping at your grandmother’s is not the same as three whole days with your friends.
Caleb, Jax, and Eddie all lived near Nani, and whenever Kiara was there, they worked on their business together. Fort Builders, Inc. was so much fun. She loved building forts for people. (And animals!)
But at camp, they weren’t business owners. It was an official vacation.
Kiara and her parents waited in line to turn in paperwork. Then they dropped off her bags in the cabin she’d be staying in. Soon all the parents headed home, and the kids were given a tour of the campground.
“Hi, guys!” shouted Kiara when she saw the boys.
“Kiara!” they all yelled back.
The Fort Builders team was together for the weekend.
“Are you all in the same cabin?” asked Kiara.
“Yup,” answered Jax. “We asked to be.”
“Who are your roommates?” Caleb asked Kiara.
She pulled a list out of her bag. “There are eight of us. But I only know a couple of the girls.”
“Is Junie in your cabin?” asked Eddie.
Junie Wheeler lived on the boys’ block.
“She is! And my friend from school,” said Kiara. “But I haven’t seen either of them yet.”
The kids went to the main outdoor area. There were camp counselors in sky-blue shirts and tan pants waiting for them.
Kiara saw her friend Brinley and called her over to sit next to her. She didn’t see Junie in the crowd of kids.
A counselor with Kepler on his name tag clapped three times. The other counselors responded with six claps.
Kepler clapped once. They clapped twice.
“It’s some kind of pattern,” said Brinley.
Two claps. Four claps.
“You’re right,” said Kiara. “Also, I’m so excited for camp!” she whisper-shouted.
Five claps. Ten claps.
“Me too!” Brinley whisper-shouted back.
Kiara caught on to the pattern. When they did four claps, she responded with eight claps.
A few kids at a time joined in until everyone had figured out to double the number.
Kiara thought it was very cool that they’d done a math lesson without saying a word.
Finally, Kepler clapped once, and everyone responded with two claps.
When he had everyone’s attention, they talked about the camp rules.
The rules were simple to remember:
1. Be kind.
2. Work together.
3. Have fun!
They went over the schedule and all the activities the campers could do. Camp Firefly had arts, cooking, sports, a ropes course, and even a water trampoline!
When it was time to choose the first activity, Kiara knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She and Brinley picked horseback riding.
“You have to meet my friends from Nani’s neighborhood,” said Kiara. She led Brinley over to the boys.
“Brinley, meet Caleb, Jax, and Eddie,” said Kiara. “Fort Builders crew, this is my friend Brinley.”
“I think my brother is in your cabin,” said Brinley. “His name is Finn.”
Caleb had a good memory and knew every name on his cabin list. “Yeah, he is. Maybe he’ll want to do rock climbing with us!”
Kiara’s smile dropped. “Rock climbing? I was hoping you’d go horseback riding with us.”
“No way,” said Jax. “I’ve been waiting all year to go up that rock wall.” He pointed to the big climbing wall over by the tennis courts.
Kiara was not surprised. Jax would probably climb right to the top.
“Caleb, come riding with us,” said Kiara. “It’ll be fun.” She didn’t see the boys all that often and was excited to hang out with them at camp.
“Sorry,” said Caleb. “Jax and I made a deal. I go rock climbing, and he’ll do book club with me.”
Kiara looked at Eddie. “Are you climbing too?” she asked.
“Nope. I’m doing the art class,” said Eddie.
Kiara was disappointed, but she did have Brinley to do the activity with.
“Okay, but we have to meet up later,” she said.
They all agreed and went in different directions.
“And no getting out of eating lunch together!” Kiara yelled across the yard. But she knew they’d all be there. Wouldn’t they?