What is so special about fifth-grade camp? St Paul graduates still converse about this event years after they have gone on to their adult lives.
Our Norwalk Catholic School fifth-graders are preparing to go as I write these few lines. For some, this will be the first experience away from home and parents for any extended time. The itinerary tells me students will be kept busy from morning until bedtime with an endless variety of fun activities.
Older students mention their best memories of camp include scavenger hunts in the woods, hiking, making crafts, mastering the challenge course, experiments in the creek, outside Mass the dance and nightly campfire. Other students mention sliding in the mud and playing dodge ball with the camp counselors (funny those weren't listed on the itinerary?).
Today our fifth-graders are making their class banner and candle. Their banner will be displayed in the lodge along side the banners of every other class that has attended fifth-grade camp. Some of their parents have been among previous camp goers and their banner will be hung along with their own children's banner. This is the footprint of tradition, tradition that is lived and held dear.
We pack our gear all clean and labeled, knowing that we will return with a bag full of dirty (some muddy) clothes, a memory filled with fun experiences and many long lasting friendships. I have heard the stories for years. This year I get to go.