I stand behind them in the checkout aisle. It is a youth group, or maybe it’s a class trip. Either way, I know that they are excited to be on vacation because one boy actually shouts, “I’M SO EXCITED TO BE ON VACATION!”
The boy who hollers is using crutches, the kind that clasp to his arms. He is using a cheerful voice and from what I gather, he is excited to be on vacation.
The adult chaperone who accompanies the kids looks stressed out. There is a look adults often wear when they are responsible for large groups of kids. It’s a look I can spot from a mile away because I have been a youth-group chaperone before.
Going anywhere with a large clot of young people is a test of your humanity. You can not walk into a grocery store without kids running the aisles like rabid cats.
And when you finally find the miniature heathens, usually they’re doing something like playing a game of Butt
Swat in the produce section. The rules of Butt Swat are unclear to me, but apparently the game involves stalks of celery being used as weapons.
But these kids aren’t like that. They are happy kids, and well-behaved. They wear matching yellow T-shirts, and they smile a lot.
I talk to Peter, who is head chaperone.
“We’re from Atlanta,” he says. “We’re here at the beach for a vacation, these kids deserve a little fun.”
Peter explains that they are a homeschool group of kids who all have something in common.
“Most of our kids are differently abled,” says Peter. “We don’t like the term ‘disabled.’ We teach our kids not to use it.”
A few in the group have cerebral palsy, another has a congenital heart defect, others face mental health issues, and some children have mild autism.
“We’re a wild…