My weekend had gone by in a flash! Usually during the weekend I go out for a bike ride and go explore different towns, but after Nature Adventure Camp I was unbelievably tired. Before I knew it I had to start preparing for Nature Survival Camp! It is a week-long camp, but the difference is that this group is an older middle school age group, focusing on developing survival skills, and they camp out at a site for two days.

On the first day camp counselors focused on getting to know the campers, so there were plenty of ice breaker games and activities for the campers to get to know each other. The tide was particularly low that day, so instead of starting off with the kids paddling in the water we switched plans to fishing. It was fun! Some of the campers already had plenty of experience fishing with their families so they didn’t need so much instruction. We also had other activities laid out for them to create friendship brackets and decorate their wooden name tags. On the second day of camp the campers were really excited to go into the water. Some of them had never been in a kayak and it was their first time paddling, so naturally they were a little nervous about falling into the water. We had plenty of life jackets for them, and paddling went by really smoothly. Luckily, no one tipped over their kayak, and they seemed to have a good time paddling in the Netul River at Fort Clatsop. During the day, we also took a little hike with the kids and made them forage for edible berries that can be found along the Fort to Sea Trail at Fort Clatsop to make a snack with. Some went on the berry trail while others decided to go look for other plants with a camp counselor. The campers got to learn about some of the native plants and to be able to determine which ones are edible and which one to stay away from. It took a while to collect enough berries to make a compote for everyone, but the campers had a sharp eye for looking for thimbleberries, slough berries, red huckleberries, salmonberries, and blackberries! After we felt that we gathered all that we needed to make a great snack, we headed back to the picnic area and the camp counselors helped prepare the native plants so the campers could eat them. It all looked really good, using the stinging nettle plant to make a pesto and the berries to make a compote to put on top of an angel cake. It was pretty cool to see how the plants were prepared and created a really healthy snack! The campers enjoyed the activity and took more enjoyment from being able to help contribute to make the delicious snacks for everyone.

The days of camping out at the Yeon site were really the most memorable out of the whole week. My supervisors had a lot of things planned for the campers throughout the day, like having creative activities but also preparing for first aid practices. The campers were divided into a couple of groups with different counselors where they practiced different common emergency situations and how to assess someone who has been hurt. My group, in particular, had to practice what to do in a case where someone had hypothermia and a big gash on their body. It was all staged and ketchup was used to create the gash and the campers obviously figured out that none of it was real, but they still played along. They did great and were eager to learn and help out, and they also got a good laugh when I “had” a big gash on my arm with ketchup smeared all over. After all the scenarios were over, another camp counselor and I helped cooked meals over the fire and also heated up tortillas using a dutch oven top like a comal. I let two of the campers help me out as they seemed really curious to see how I was doing it. I let them put it on the comal and then flip it over like I learned from my mom back at home. It kind of reminded me of the time I went to visit my grandparents in San Bartolo Teontepec in Puebla, Mexico, where there is a scorching fire underneath the comal, and I remember watching how my aunts delicately put the rounded masa on the comal. It made me miss home a little, and even more so when I realized that some people here are unfamiliar with the type of food I eat and how I eat it. It’s not a bad thing but it’s just that there’s always something to explain, and dealing with scrunched noses is not the best feeling either. Little things like preparing a taco with cilantro, limón, salsa, cebolla, and rábanos, or any other city Latino food from Los Angeles, is something that I am used to, and having that feeling that no one else around you understands your food choice just makes me feel lonely and a little homesick. So it was nice being able to share that with these two kids who were just open to the idea and didn’t question it, and through their own eyes just watched and listened to how I was instructing them. Eventually, all the tortillas were ready and the campers ate their meal. After dinner we finished off with theater skits and s’mores. Before dinner the kids had prepared their own skit with their groups and then performed it over the campfire. The skits were hilarious! I am was impressed that all of them did such great skits, and that they all collaborated with each other to make it happen. Soon it became dark and it was time for the campers to go to bed in their tents around the campfire. It was peaceful, and as the designated night camper who stays up a little later it was nice being able to see the stars, watch the campfire, and be able to talk to some of the camp counselors. It really seems like my time at Lewis and Clark as gone by super quickly, but these fun memories are going to last for a long time. Can’t wait to see what other adventures I have in store!

¡Encuentra Tu Parque!

Edith J.

 

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Written by Edith Jimenez
A Chicanx from Los Ángeles exploring America's Best Idea through these brown eyes!