A Fireside Summer Experience - through the words of Amanda

We know that the experiences we create for campers can bring some eye-opening revelations about themselves and the things we all often take for granted around us. The essay below was written by Amanda, one of our campers on one of our 14-day youth leadership expeditions. We were lucky to have a camper on our trip that has been able to describe her experience in such detail and allow us to share it. We hope you enjoy this beautiful read!

FIRESIDE – Memories by Amanda Doran

From my memories bloom a great abundance of beautiful scenery; all jewel bright oceans and trees whispering a ceaseless susurrus. Summer brings camp, three weeks of tents, tarps – sleeping under the stars, canoeing, hiking, and the pronounced joy of travelling. Clearest in my mind – from last summer, at least, is the brine touched breeze of the Sunshine Coast; an 8 day Canoe-trip that took us island hopping through a sun glazed, craggy chain of islands and bays. I remember distinctly the rocks furnished with sunny succulents; waxy and bright. I too recall standing under the terra-cotta boughs of sky reaching arbutus trees.  The islands, all the camps, were inhabited only by the piping, freewheeling Oyster Catchers, Eagles clutching at rocks with regal prowess, pensive herons, the masked bandit racoons, and the barking coteries of seals. Not to mention the multitudes of candy toned crabs who called kelp-strung tide pools home. Once, a bear, a great mass of black lumbering across shore, watching our boats glide past, so at ease. –It’s odd and enlightening to reminisce upon these places and realize that we were the guests, and far more temporary than these creatures who truly call the wild spaces home. Mountains rose behemoth against the sky, and an eager wind kicked up a mist of salt laced water, waves crashing against barnacled rocks; high or low tide. All that could rise of this landscape was a soaring and sun-kissed elation at the untamed expanse of it all, even through the paddle days that stretched across tedious, sweltering hours. Those too were punctuated with bouts of laughter, despite some instances thrown our way to truly test our endurance. The water was an unperturbed mirror, halcyon, and the paddling, for the most part, proceeding with some unexpected ease. Only at one crossing, rocked with persuasive waves, did we ever falter, - and the one day the sun did relent; the day we were returning to the civilized life. Otherwise, though, all was peace and hard work, companionship and a feverishly beating sun that drove us down to the water to wade and swim. The moon, at night, was an orb hanging pregnant in the sky – once, moving us to howl as though a pack of wolves. We were a pack, regardless, and so, this was profound in mode of expression. Beneath that deep indigo canvas peppered with pinprick stars, we watched the fire, traded stories and songs, and fed not only the fire we sat in front of, but fueled the inner flame of the human soul. The stars that served for the backdrop of these whimsical nights were reflected by phosphorescence, luminous and magical in the water below. This brought about a barefoot scuttle across barnacles and stones to wonder at this shimmering quality when we first noticed. During day, the same water so graced with light at night presented countless numbers of jellyfish, veiled and diaphanous, ballooning out below us while we swum.

This memory, one of many from camp, with its friendships and unedited, vibrant sunsets, will always return to me. I’ll always be able to think back on picking sanguine salmon berries, and trading stories by the fire, my paddle dipping into the silvery ripple of water come moonlight, all the things encompassed in that untamed beauty.

One time, a falling star blazed and sparked across the horizon – clearly visible, then dipping below sight. I’m sure we all made wishes then, in that awed silence and closeness. At camp, it’s easy to believe wishes really do come true. Mine did, I’m sure.

Now, if I could make a wish, I wouldn’t even hold a shred of my constant indecision.

I know what my wish would be.

                                                            I want to go back to camp.