The Cispus camp at the end of every fifth-grader’s school year has always been an important and defining moment in the school careers of many students, both campers and counselors. This year was no exception.
The weather during this year’s trip was better than anyone could’ve asked for; warmer than expected and with rain only on one day and it was a shower that didn’t even demand a coat. The hikes were great (wading through puddles only made the hike more fun for the campers) and Angel Falls was a spectacular highlight. A personal favorite of many of the campers was constructing a fire with just material gathered from along the riverbed and eventually, after many failed attempts and many broken matches, roast marshmallows to stuff between two graham crackers with a hunk of Hershey’s.
Being a camper myself when I was in fifth grade, I felt the pull to become a counselor to insure that this year’s batch of fifth graders had as much fun as I did when I was a camper. Fellow counselor and Junior Aiden White had this to say about this year’s retreat; “It was a blast for sure! It was great getting to know all the other counselors and hanging with all the kids! It really teaches responsibility.”
The entire camp went through without hitch or incident, besides a few tics here and there. No fights beyond the obligatory pillow “raids” and no hurt feelings when teams were picked for the constant games of capture the flag or fire-in-the-forest. The only tears were the ones shed when the campers had to leave the camp to the tune of “I’m Leaving on a School Bus.” I even got a message from one of my campers a week or two after the camp saying, “I’m sleeping in my sleeping bag tonight so I can pretend I’m back at Cispus.”
Counseling at Cispus is a really fantastic opportunity and one that is really just as much fun for the high school counselors as it is for the fifth grade campers. A new set of fifth graders come annually, all demanding that their camp experience is just as grand as the last year’s. Counselor and Senior Heather Mah said, “It’s such a great experience. The campers really look up to you and think you are amazing. Although there are times when the kids are frustrating or stressing you out, it’s a lot of fun giving them a memorable trip they’ll never forget.”