Hero Camp
By Peter Olsen, September 2002

Most public schooled kids were already on their way back to school while I was having fun at summer camp during the week of August 18-23. Hero Camp was created especially for homeschooled boys and girls. There were about 85 kids at Hero Camp. This was the first time I had ever been away to camp, and this was also the first year they had Hero Camp. I knew a few other kids from my P.E. class who were going, and I made more friends when I got there.

It was about a two-hour drive from the desert to the forest. I felt a little homesick when my parents left after dropping me off, but I felt better after I met everybody. I couldn't wait to get started doing the stuff!

The camp was located in the middle of a woods of pine trees, so everything smelled like pine needles. A creek ran through the middle of camp but we weren't allowed to go down there because it was full of poison ivy. The air was cool even though it was in the summer, but it didn't get too cold at night and I never needed to wear my jacket.

On the first day of camp, the first thing I did was go up to the cabin and unpack my stuff. After that it was dinner time. There was a cafeteria line in the Dining Hall. I ate Teriyaki chicken and rice with cake, orange soda, and water. We went to chapel after dinner. After chapel we played hide and seek with the counselors. Then we had S'mores around the campfire.

We slept in bunk beds in log cabins. A counselor stayed in the cabin with nine of us boys. Every night from 9:00-10:00 pm we had a devotion time in our cabin. Lights out was at 10:15 pm. One night I was up in my top bunk bed asleep. Suddenly I woke up and found myself standing on the floor next to someone else's bed! And I was still inside my sleeping bag! That was the only time I ever went sleepwalking!

I like to sleep late, so it was hard waking up at 7:00 am. I sat in bed for a while before I got up. Every morning we cleaned the cabin and then played games until breakfast time. For breakfast they had cereal, pancakes, juice, and water. After breakfast we had games and morning chapel. Morning chapel was 9:00-10:00 am, after which we had a quiet time to write in our notebooks. Then we played some games and had lunch.

In the afternoon we did group activities and games, followed by a rest time. I wrote a letter to my parents on the first day, and after that I read a book during rest time. Then we went to dinner. Each cabin took a turn doing KP duty, cleaning the tables. After dinner we had evening chapel. Evening chapel was 6:30-7:30 pm. Coach Joe did every chapel and during each one a band would play. The Orso band was really cool. They had a drummer, keyboard, and guitar.

There was a campfire after chapel every night except the last night. It was a huge fire circle big enough for a hundred kids. They made a tower of logs. They stacked logs on top of each other and in the middle they put pine needles. They set the pine needles on fire, then after a while the logs burned down. When the log pile collapsed, a huge cloud of sparks flew up and looked like fireworks. If you toss a wax-coated paper cup into the fire it makes a big flame!

On Tuesday after lunch we got a mysterious letter saying "Beware of pine cones." Then on Wednesday morning during play time, one of the kids in our cabin ran in and said "There's a pinecone war going on outside!" We went out and threw pinecones back and forth until the breakfast bell rang. Then we played some games and had lunch, and went on a hike. Only the people who wanted to go hiking went. Wednesday night was a Cowboy Cookout. They had burgers and french fries.

On Thursday, we rode in vans to Woods Canyon Lake. When we were at the lake, we saw what looked like a bald eagle. I went swimming in the lake. We went canoeing at 1:00 and came back at 4:00. Two kids and one adult were in each canoe. Four other kids and I built a giant sandcastle. It was a cone-shaped tower, as tall as some of the little kids. We had Sloppy Joes for dinner on Thursday. In the dining room they get a big pile of mail. While you're eating, Coach calls out the name of someone whose letter it is. I got a letter from my family. One kid even got a package.

The games we played were basketball, volleyball, ping pong, water games and human bowling. We tossed a Frisbee into short basketball hoops. We did archery and shot arrows at targets. We played soccer with a ball that was as big as me! We played in the playground. One day there was a downpour and we played inside games. We made a bead necklace.

The last night was talent night. We did a skit about David and Goliath. I was a Philistine because I was one of the tallest kids. Later that night, I was in my cabin getting ready for bed when I heard someone say there was a skunk in one of the cabins, a couple of doors down. I went outside and all the people from that cabin were standing out on the path talking to our counselor. Coach walked by and saw everyone standing out there. He said, "What's wrong? You're supposed to be in your cabin." Then he went up to the cabin and saw the skunk! About three minutes later, the skunk wandered out.

On the morning of the last day, everybody got a medal for being at camp. We had to make the cabin spotless before we left. I was sad that my week of Hero Camp was over, but I was happy to see my parents again.

Hero Camp was cool! They had really fun games. The food was excellent and I always got at least two servings. I bought some stuff at the camp store. I took lots of pictures. I met other homeschoolers and made some new friends. We learned what it means to be a hero. I will definitely go to this camp again next year.

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