From May 20th to May 25th of the year 2012, I attended a trip sponsored by the Rotary International, District 7490, along with over a hundred other high school juniors to, The Indian Head Camp, in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The trip was called R.Y.L.A. This stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Award. The trip began on a bus that took myself as well as many other nominated students to the camp. By the time we all arrived many friendships were made and we were all very grateful for that because of the unfortunate lack of cell phone service to any other friends back home. The landscape was a pure sight of beauty. It had endless amounts of wooded areas and a lake with water that glistened in the sun. I could tell I was not in New Jersey anymore and wondered how a place so enchanting could exist. The week was full of adventures and strenuous tasks that challenged my body as well as my mind. The camp was gigantic so in order to travel from place to place it meant a good amount of walking. There were these stairs that went so high I thought I was surely walking to heaven but when I conquered them it gave me a sense of pride.
However, the stairs were not the only thing that gave me a great sense of pride. The camp came equipped with many obstacle courses that were incredible. With the Indian Head staff making sure I was safe and secure in my safety harnesses and the encouragement of my counselors and team I was able to climb up the high towers and across the difficult tire swings successfully while taking in my surroundings of the breath taking nature. The staff was very reassuring when it came to making me feel safe although I was so high up. RYLA was all about teaching service leadership and building teams. In order to be a leader I first had to trust my team and the staff made that easy and possible. There was a great field and open arena where my team and I were able to have group activities hosted by the staff as well as an auditorium where I participated in the talent show.
After all that hard work I was able to relax and shower in my cabin along with all 16 of my roommates. Although there was a large amount of us there was plenty of room and everyone had lots of space to expand and put away our possessions without bothering anyone else. Being that I was in such a secluded area I expected the showers to be that of a terrifying, cabin, too hot and then too cold, experience but it was actually very sufficient and well needed after such long days. I was very grateful for that as well as the food. In the mess hall the kitchen staff worked very hard on making meals for all of the students and their different tastes. The hard work was evident for the food tasted amazing and I was actually disappointed when I had to go home back to my own cooking. The kitchen staff was very nice and funny. They really brightened up my already bright days.
By the end of the week the counselors and the staff had done an amazing job working together to ensure the best week filled with as many life lessons and activities possible for me and my fellow RYLAteers. I will never forget my experience there and the friendships I made. It was the best week of my life.
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