Camp for work was expected, but little did I know that my summer would be filled with camping! After summer camps at the refuge, we also camped with Carlos and Oscar as well as other fellow interns through the Latino Heritage Program, Sal and Nancy.
Lily and I set out for the coast, and as soon as we arrived were given a tour of the quaint little town of Astoria where we would be camping. After sightseeing, we made our way to our campsite.
As we pulled up to the driveway, startled deer scattered in all directions. As Lily and I stared in awe, Sal said that seeing this many deer was an everyday thing for him. After camping overnight, we also assisted with the NPS Survival Camp. I had never used a compass or knots other than the ones I use to tie my shoes, so I felt almost as if I was a camper myself! After speaking with Chris Clatterbuck, I learned a lot about the summer programs and outreach efforts that they have made to offer programs to diverse crowds.
As soon as we returned from camping at the coast we were once again swamped with camp work. Which was great because first of all, I love camp, secondly Lily and I were assisting with Adelante Chicas’ Summer Camp.
I felt so rejuvenated after working with the chicas. For those that don’t know, chica is an endearing term for a young girl and this organization aims to empower Latinas and youth. So working with them it’s a feeling I can’t quite place, but it just felt so familiar and meaningful to work with them. This camp in particular has three different focuses spread across three weeks. Lily and I participated in their Nature and Healthy Lifestyles week which included activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking and canoeing, and other active games. My favorite part was kayaking with one of the campers because it required a lot of teamwork, and it was interesting to see her work out problems.
To top off our camping adventures for the month, we took a break from being camp assistants to go camping ourselves at the Mt. Hood National Forest. The air was chilly, the sky was grey, trees towered above us, but what enveloped us the most was the silence. We chose a site close to the stream and set up our tents before heading out on a hike. As we made our way to the trail, it began to drizzle. By the time we got back it was pouring and I was soaked!
Experiencing all these different camps was really eye-opening, I like to think of it as making up for lost time. My first time camping was actually in college, and as part of my courses, as fun as that was, now it just feels good that I’m helping others get an experience I didn’t get and to get a little time to figure things out for myself as well! I know it sounds like I’m sugar coating it, and in many ways camp was challenging. The children were difficult at times, It rained the first day, but overall these experiences have been eye opening and meaningful.