My Camp Trips

My Camp Trips

My Camp Trips by Charlie Paige, Boys Camp Director

I will soon head off to Yosemite National Park for a week long camping trip before hitting the road to Camp for the summer. Last fall I visited Yosemite for the first time and afterwards pledged to visit it every year. This year I will camp for five days. In preparation for my trip, and this note, I am amazed by how much the trips I took at Mishawaka have influenced my love for the outdoors as well as the confidence to get up and go backpacking.  

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I remember my first trip as a Belding camper on a three day Mississippi River trip. Uncles George Lottes and Steve Purdum were counselors. Once I turned twelve I went on as many Boundary Waters canoe trips as I could. I took my first Quetico canoe trip, again with Uncle George, when I was fifteen. And for my CIT trip with Geoffrey Bishop I experienced Isle Royale for the first time. I only have fond memories of the beautiful lakes, the quiet sunsets, the strengthened friendships, and driving down the dirt road back to Camp waiting to tell the other campers about all the fun.

My most memorable trip as a staff member was a Quetico canoe trip I led over ten years ago. It rained every day. On the second day, we were held back a day because of a storm. Having only one route to our pickup (aside from turning back) we were forced to paddle full days in order to make it.  We pushed as hard as we could and the campers were awesome. They understood why we had to paddle hard but they also knew they weren’t having the fun they signed up for. Yet.

A few years ago I ran into a former camper’s mom at a fundraising gala. We talked about her son who was on that Quetico trip and how it had impacted his life. He had written and essay in college about the challenges he had faced on that trip and the confidence it gave him as a young adult. I loved this trip because I recognized the opportunity we had as a group to work hard, stick together, and accomplish a goal in the face of adversity. Hearing from a parent that their child had the same experience reinforced Camp’s mission to support a child’s development in a safe and challenging environment. I’ll be thinking about this camper as I’m hiking in the rain and snow next week in Yosemite.

                                                                                                                                                                Safe Travels- Charlie

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