In my years at camp, I wasn’t a girly girl, but I wouldn’t say that I was tomboy either. Although I wasn’t one of the most popular kids, there was one place where I always felt truly free, like I was in my element – the TREK trip.
Throughout my years at Camp Echo Lake, I went on so many memorable TREK trips that it is hard to remember them all individually. Wonderful as they are, the memories of the various TREK trips seem to blend into each other. Although I can’t pinpoint specifics from each trip, what I remember most are the things that I learned along the way that have stuck with me for life!
THE CAVING TRIP
There was nothing more fun, messy, dirty and cold than the Caving Trip.
- The main lesson here is that going outside your comfort zone can be fun and rewarding. For some reason, the things that seem different and terrifying at home all seem possible and exciting at camp.
- You get VERY dirty but you clean up, so it really is no big deal! When my kids played outside when they were little, I distinctly remember all of the other moms wiping their kid’s hands and telling them not to get “too dirty.” My philosophy is, and always has been, that kids are washable, so why should I care if they get dirty and make a mess? There’s always a shower and a washing machine handy to get them cleaned up again.
THE FISHING TRIP
I don’t know what they were thinking! Trying to teach a nice Jewish girl how to fish??? (LOL)
THE OVERNIGHT CANOE TRIP
All you needed was Dawn Ewing as your trip leader to learn all of the best lessons!
LESSON #1 – COOKING: Learning how to make a full meal for you and all of your friends without the help of your parents.
LESSON #2 – STRENGTH & CONFIDENCE: Portage (the practice of carrying water craft – in this case, a canoe – over land, around an obstacle in a river or between two bodies of water). I never thought that I would have to carry a canoe, but once I did it, I found out that I was stronger and more capable than I ever realized. If you believe in yourself (and have the right counselor helping you) then anything is possible!
LESSON #3 – THE “EMU WALK”: Whenever we left a campsite, we walked around and did the “Emu Walk.” After everything was packed into the canoes, we did a final walk-around of the area to make sure that nothing was left behind. To this day, whenever we leave a hotel room or picnic area, we do the “Emu Walk” to make sure that we didn’t forget anything. And in case you were wondering…yes, we actually do use that term in my family.
LESSON #4 – SPIDER PATROL: It may seem obvious to say, but spiders are smaller than us. To this day, I am the only one who is not afraid to get rid of any spiders that find their way into the house!
LESSON #5 – INDEPENDENCE: Perhaps the most important lesson of all was learning how to take care of myself. Whether pitching a tent or keeping your clothes dry in a rainstorm, there is a great deal of satisfaction in being able to do things on your own.