Written by: Amanda Abplanalp
When I was a kid I had the pleasure of being able to go to summer camp. From the ages of 10 to 12, both my stepsister and I went to YMCA Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya; which was close to a three-hour trip away from home. Summer camp was full of wonderful learning experiences and a good place to go and meet new people. Those memorable experiences are something I think every kid should experience.
One of the things I learned was survival skills. At age 10, I learned how to build a fire with just a matchbook and whatever we had available from nature. The trickiest part was that it had to be a small fire, no bigger than a grown man’s hand, and you had to try to do it with one match. The more matches you had to use, the more points you got docked and that meant you wouldn’t qualify for the grand prize, which I believe was a big bag of candy. Needless to say I was completely determined to win.
First, I had to find the driest twigs and dry leaves or pine needles (which was hard since it rained the night before). Once I collected the driest items I could find, I set my twigs and then my leaves and pine needles in separate piles. Since I learned earlier that week that a fire needs room to breathe, I made sure I set the twigs up like a pyramid or wigwam. With the twigs set up I made sure to set pine needles and the leaves in between each twig. Then I lit the fire with just one match. The only problem was one of the boys had already beat me to the punch, so I didn’t win the bag of candy. But since I had extra time and I noticed others were struggling, I helped them build their fire, which I was later recognized for.
Camp was also where I learned to stand up to bullies. Since I went to camp with my older sister, I was invited to hang out with the older girls some times, but what I found out was those girls were not nice at all and were constantly talking bad about the other girls at the camp. When I heard this, I left and befriended the people they were making fun of. They then started making fun of me, but I wasn’t going to take that. I approached them one day and told them it was enough and that they shouldn’t talk so cruelly about others. I did not hear those girls making fun of anyone else during that entire trip.
I think the biggest thing I learned at camp, was more about the type of person I wanted to be. After seeing those bullies, I learned that while I may try to get along with everyone, not everyone is going to like me and it’s ok to stick up for yourself and others. I’ll guarantee that anyone who goes to Summer Camp is going to have some of the most memorable moments of his or her life.