By Tovias Washington and Kaylei Kerr
Why would a high school student want to spend an entire week with fifth graders?
42 Thurston students did just that. These students were interviewed by the fifth grade teachers who run the program and had to gather Thurston teacher approval as well so they could sacrifice one week of their home and school lives for a camp experience at YMCA Storer Camp. Each year, the fifth graders of South Redford visit this Outdoor School as they learn natural sciences, environmental issues, cultural history, and team building through active participation. Without the help of high school camp counselors, this program might not be possible.
High school camp counselors are given a huge responsibility as they are directly responsible for the care of their fifth graders.
“Camp was really an eye opening experience as it showed me what I am capable of as a leader,” said THS junior and counselor Andrea Cruise.
For many Thurston students, they recalled when they themselves were in fifth grade heading off to camp.
Senior Tovias Washington said, “Going to camp as a cabin leader changes some perspectives as to what I felt and saw as a fifth grader. As a counselor, you appreciate the week on a whole other level. I think I enjoyed it even more as I was the one who was helping lead the excitement I remembered when I was that age.”
Not only was camp enjoyable for everyone, these high school counselors may not realize that they went home with many new gifts. They learn skills of how to be a leader, empathy, and even self-confidence.
“Camp was a very rewarding experience. I am so glad I went for the past three years!” exclaimed senior Tatum Hechlik.
Even though the counselors and kids were strangers in the beginning of the week, they developed a sort of connection that will always be remembered.
Eric Felton said, “Getting to know my kids and being able to see each one as an individual was the best experience.”
The one week trip to the YMCA Storer Camp will continue to live on bringing new light to the eyes of others.
“Im very happy I got to go to camp one more time before I graduate. I’m glad I got to go the past two years and it’s been such an amazing experience. I will remember these past two years forever,” said senior Kaylei Kerr.
Both counselors and fifth graders will go on through life and they will be able to look back at this and remember all of the good times.
As senior Bryce Williams said, “Camp was such a memorable experience. The fun experience I shared with my kids is something I will always remember.”