Camp Campbell, California

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Today I'm throwing it back to 2008.  During my first year of college a friend told me about the Alternative Spring Break program - students could spend spring break volunteering at a camp in California.  I knew right away that I wanted to participate in this program and happily spent spring break being a camp counselor to a group of 5th graders.  In California, the fifth graders are required to have some sort of "in the field" science credit or something, so they come to science camp for a week. My girls were a handful at times but I absolutely loved them and really loved getting to know them (I am friends with some of them on FB and they're Sophomores in college, WHAT?).

We volunteered at YMCA Camp Campbell which is located in Boulder Creek, California.  It is in the Redwoods on an absolutely beautiful piece of land!  The staff was excellent and I loved working with them for the week!

 We left Maryland on Saturday and flew in to LAX for a layover then to San Jose.  We got to camp two days before the kids.  We met up with a group from the University of Wisconsin and spent some time getting to know them and spent some time learning what we needed to do when the kids got there.  We played games, did ropes courses, learned camp rules and other fun things.  Those two days were a blast, I loved getting to know everyone!

 Once the kids got there, it was non stop!  We played a game with all of the kids when they first arrived, to get some of their energy out.  After that, we went to "the chapel" where we met the campers who would be in our cabin for the week.  It was interesting because the kids came from two different schools with very different socioeconomic status's, but for the most part, everyone got along.  I had a great group of girls, and while I did have a little bit of trouble trying to get them to interact with the girls from the other school, no one caused any actual problems.

Along with being split into cabins, we also got split into "science groups".  When the kids were at their science lessons, they were paired up with another group, one group of girls and one group of guys.  I was paired with a leader named Kristen, she was great and I still keep in touch with her through Facebook.

We had a bunch of silly songs that we would sing with the campers and one of them was about Banana Slugs which were definitely plentiful at Camp Campbell!   The second to last night we had a super fun game night.  The kids had a blast and this completely wore them out!  Us leaders also had a great time!! It was probably my favorite part of the trip.  Our last night there was campfire night.  We had a great time singing songs and performing skits.  Each cabin had to perform a random silly skit.

 The last day we had our last science lesson and packed up to go home.  After getting everyone packed and ready to go, the kids all got to choose fun activities to do such as the big slide, flag football, etc.  I was in charge of Flag Football and had a great time playing with the kids.

  I would be lying if I said that I didn't cry when saying goodbye to the kids :(  This trip was such a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!  I wish I could just copy my journal into a few blog posts just so I can share the entire experience!  I highly recommend Alternative Spring Break trips to anyone whose college offers them!


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