This summer I worked at Camp Wildwood on Lake Wampanoag in Gardner, MA, a facility that housed both boys and girls, fifth through ninth grades, run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. I was a Councilor In Training (C.I.T.) whose main area of responsibility were fifth and sixth grade boys in overnight nature camp sessions. The camp boasts 1,000 acres of meadows to explore, thick forests for hiking, wetlands for mudbogging, and a pristine lake for water activities. The typical day began with a bell ringing to awaken the campers at 7:15 a.m. The ensuing day consisted of Discovery Groups, Open Activity Time, Interest Groups, Clubs, occasional evening programs and bed. And let's not forget those unforgettable meals!
When I first arrived I was only expecting to find counselors from the New England area, but there were people from Chile, England, Wales, Australia and France. We were soon a cosmopolitan crew, each bringing some interesting educational/fun activities to the campers.
I reached several goals during camp: being chosen as Assistant Instructor in kayaking, canoeing, archery, Day Camp and wilderness survival. The best part was teaching my programs myself. This involved a lot of trust from the counselors. I had to pick a topic that I knew, research it more thoroughly, create a syllabus, and keep the campers' interest.
Hopefully, the campers returned home realizing that they can have fun and learn something about nature too. L
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.