This Camp Counselor Carries Around a Pet Log as a Teaching Tool. And It Kind Of Works.

Cole Perry is a counselor at YMCA Camp Ernst in Burlington, the son of a former Camp Ernst director, and has a PhD in human and community development. He also carries a pine stump named Log in a BabyBjorn pretty much everywhere he goes. When they aren’t traveling the country, the duo spend their time inspiring kids to adopt their own pet sticks and watermelons.
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Cole Perry
Cole Perry

Photograph by Annette Navarro

→ My dad brought me out (to camp) when I was 2. This is my 26th summer here. Being camp-raised opens you up to the possibilities of imagination. It’s always a wacky place where kids don’t have to fit into an adult world. They can make noise and fidget and have fun, and they might be a star.

→ A couple years ago, my camp director, who was uncharacteristically weird, said, “Here, carry this log around.” I put it in a wagon at the campfire. People were laughing, and I was like, Yeah, this is fun.

→ I didn’t plan on it lasting for such a long time. I started to use it to work with kids. Like, Log doesn’t like it when we hit each other. Or, if a kid needs some extra attention, Do you want to hold Log for a little bit? It can be a comforting thing.

→ You pass 100 kids a day here, and some of them totally accept it. That’s the weirdest reaction.

→ It’s a good way to reconnect with kids each summer. Have you met Log before? What’s your name? Or, It’s been a while since you’ve seen Log! We’ve been to Indy and Michigan since you’ve last seen us.

Cole Perry
Cole Perry

Photograph by Annette Navarro

Log has a Facebook page and has been to several states. A lot of people ask if Log is training for a baby. Or a military strength-building technique—I got that when I took Log to Alaska.

→ I don’t know if this log can be around forever. I’ve thought about a fitting end. A rejoining of other logs. A funeral pyre.

→ He fits perfectly in a baby carrier. Now Log’s really worn smooth on the sides by everyone touching and carrying him.

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