From January 25 to January 27, the Portola Highly Gifted Magnet (HGM) 8th grade class went on a trip that we’ll never forget. We took part in an amazing program called the WOLF Camp at Camp Whittier. Through this program, we bonded with one another, realized our hidden strengths and weaknesses, and took part in amazing activities scheduled for us, including sightseeing, hikes, and rope courses.
WOLF Camp stands for Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation and is a nonprofit educational organization. It was founded by teachers who believed that outdoor learning experiences were important to the human development process and by those who were committed to help people reach their full potential, whether it be physically or mentally.
On the first day, we formed a circle to get to know the counselors who would soon become some of our closest friends. The rest of Day 1 was followed by our visiting the beautiful and serene Lake Cachuma and stargazing while endlessly pointing out constellations.
We started the second day with a scenic hike, and before we knew it, it was lunch. After hurriedly eating our lunches, we started the activity many of us were anticipating to take part in: the rope courses, including the Leap of Faith, the Rock Climbing Wall, the Giant Ladder, and the Vine Walk.
As each of us challenged each course, we were encouraged not only by our fellow classmates, but also the parent chaperones and the trail group leaders. As we mustered up the courage to do things that were totally out of our comfort-zones, we found that these courses not only required physical exertion, but also mental exertion.
In fact, these courses made us challenge ourselves mostly mentally as we had to get our bodies to follow what our minds were itching to do. As I stood at the top of the telephone pole, looking down at the tiny people who looked like ants and preparing myself to jump off, I found myself not being able to do anything. My mind was racing with adrenaline, but I found my legs shaking, my hands clammy, my breathing irregular, and my body drenched with sweat. I stood frozen until somehow my body, or perhaps my mind, calmed down until I managed to jump the Leap of Faith.
As the third day began, we packed up our things, realizing that our journey was coming to an end. As the time to say goodbye came, we all sat in a large circle, just as we had when we first arrived two days ago. However, these two circles were as different as could be. Fellow classmate Elysiah Nguyen said, “When we formed our introductory circle, I expected the next two days to go by incredibly slowly. But, we were all surprised to see how quickly the last three days had gone by when we formed our goodbye circle.”
WOLF Camp gifted the Portola HGM 8th grade class with so much joy and exciting memories that we will treasure in our hearts. We will remember encouraging one another with great energy and learning to appreciate nature’s beauty whenever possible, for we can’t always experience what we experienced at Camp Whittier. I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this wonderful program as I developed skills and improved my current self, and I hope that I will soon take part in more adventures with the WOLF family again.
Sabrina Mo, Grade 8
Portola Middle School