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CAMP AND COURAGE Natalia Norris, a fourth grader at River Oaks Baptist School, was a first-time camper last summer.
Five more minutes,” my dad would answer when we asked, “Are we there yet?” Last summer, my parents decided to send my brother and me to our first sleepaway summer camp. After a two and a half-hour drive, my mom shouted, “We’re here!” I quickly scanned the forested surroundings and saw a large welcoming sign that read Frontier Camp.
My brother and I bolted from the SUV in search of our cabins. When I found mine, I noticed that all the top bunk beds were already reserved with other campers’ bedding. I felt left out and alone. I’d probably get the bunk by the stinky bathroom. Just then a friendly voice behind me said, “Hi there!” I turned to see the most angelic face. It was Allie, my counselor. She explained that the other girls were at the pool for a mandatory swim test and that I should change and join them.
When I arrived at the pool, I dipped my toe into the water to test the temperature. It felt like minus five million degrees Fahrenheit! All the other girls were crossing the pool with ease, but my toe test didn’t lie – this was ice-cold water!
“C’mon, Natalia, time is ticking…,” said Allie. I repeated my toe test and imagined my entire body in such frigid water. I was shivering in fear, thinking of the worst thing that could happen. Should I pretend to not feel well and ask to return to the cabin? Knowing my parents had already headed back to Houston, I knew I had no other choice. So I took in a deep breath and jumped in!
I swam as fast as I could, imagining I was being chased by megalodons. Before long, I reached the other end and came up to the sound of cheers from girls I didn’t even know! These new friends and Allie would become like family to me, and it all began with a little bravery.
Thank you, camp, for the best summer and reminding me that if I listened to my non-scientific “toe test,” I would have missed out on the time of my life!
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