I’m excited for my nephew. Saturday he left for a week-long camping trip called “Survival.” It’s a rite of passage for seventh graders at the tri-town regional junior high school from the towns of Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Marion, Massachusetts. I went on Survival, as did my sister, and now her son. And in this hazy, hot and humid New England weather—it will feel like survival.
This is not your average camping trip. The kids are tasked with doing their own shopping for gear and food. The phrase “shop wisely” brings new meaning as each one carries their goods up a 3 mile hill to base camp. It wasn’t unusual to see canned Spam tossed to the side of the road into a ditch as weary hikers realized they over packed. Plus, no one wants to be left behind or last to arrive. And everyone wants to see what Base Camp looks like.
The real test comes the next morning. The kids are split into two groups, A and B. There is a hat drawing to determine which group leaves for two days of survival— no food except for two apples and no tents. You have an apple for breakfast each day, homemade broth for dinner around the campfire at night. And you sleep in a shelter you put together using plastic/tarp that hopefully keeps you dry if it rains.
I remember how long those days felt and how hungry everyone was but somehow we made it. We were in it together. And when it was over we felt so good—tired, hungry but accomplished. I can’t wait to see him this weekend to hear his stories from a week on Survival.