“3...2…1, blastoff!!!” It's the sound of the “Middle Boys Cabin” screaming as I launch their bottle rocket into the air, sending the baking soda and vinegar mixture into my eyes and all over my clothes. Their counselor, a high school student, standing in the other side of the field, sprints to position a hula hoop so the bottle falls through it. The boys are impressed. “Gooooooaaal!” they scream and jump around, high fiving each other.
This is just one scene from a jam-packed session of Camp Swift. I love leading bottle rockets, pretending to be a mad scientist and getting covered in a stiff layer of baking soda and vinegar. It’s fun, it’s messy, it’s science. The kids get excited when they name and decorate their rockets with the help of their counselors. And then, they burst with pride when their rocket comes up to be launched. And, like most activities at camp, it involves a lot of cheering and smiling.
But what takes place at Camp Swift goes far beyond fun camp activities. At camp, kids are exposed to new and challenging activities. Camp Swift teaches them confidence, to live in a community, and to make good choices. Camp does just as much good for the counselors and support staff as it does for the campers. For the support staff who run the camp and the high school students who work as counselors, camp is a place to challenge yourself, meet new people, and develop leadership skills.
Being a part of Camp Swift is a humbling and gratifying experience. There is nothing I would rather do than spend a week helping kids climb the rock wall, cheering for grilled cheese day, and staying up late to clean the lodge. This is a place that does so much good for anyone who is involved with it. So, what I am really trying to say is: I choose to spend my time at Camp Swift because camp is a small taste of the world as it should be.
Lizzie Stein is a dedicated Support Staff and former Counselor. She recently graduated from Occidental College where she studied Politics and Spanish.
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