Both the RISE Veterans (going into their second year with RISE) and the RISE Rookies (just beginning their first year with RISE) had an action-packed week at RISE Camp at NorthBay this year. The camp, held Tuesday, August 11th – Saturday, August 15th was probably the most gorgeous week of the entire summer. The temperature was in the 80’s all week with almost no humidity. The kids participated in a wide variety of environmental activities and all out adventure activities too!
Every child who attended camp received a complimentary drawstring bag, water bottle, pair of flip flops, sunscreen, a beach towel and a really nice bathing suit, all provided by Partners in Outreach. Although the RISE Camp took place over the same week as Camp Paradise, the two camps were very different. For starters, both the Vets and the Rookies were housed at a different section of camp called “The Roost”. This large building included cabins which slept 12 RISE campers and two RISE Chaperones. The Veterans had 3 cabins and the Rookies had 4.
Early on Tuesday evening the RISE kids were treated to an inspirational speech by Aaron Johnson, President and CEO of BALL BEYOND. BALL BEYOND is dedicated to helping young student-athletes maximize their potential on and off the court. Aaron talked to the kids about the many opportunities available to them at camp and encouraged them to face their fears and boldly take advantage of every new and challenging activity to expand their skill set and grow their courage while depending on each other for encouragement and assistance.
On Tuesday night everyone slept at The Roost, but on Wednesday morning the Veterans packed up only their necessary gear and hiked into the wilderness for an overnight outdoor adventure. Over on the wilderness side of camp, the campers moved into large 14 man platform tents. There they spent the day learning how to build a fire, exploring edibles in the wild, tree climbing, snorkeling, and survival skills. That same day the Rookies went on a 2 1/2 mile challenging hike to White Banks, had lunch on the beach and then canoed back to NorthBay. They played some field games in the afternoon and then Capture the Flag at night.
On Thursday, the two groups switched activities and the Rookies got a chance to spend the night in the woods. It was a challenging and almost difficult night for most of them. There are no conveniences in the wilderness side of camp. There were spiders and bugs and lots of wild creature sounds at night, but they all survived and grew from the experience and most would tell you that they are proud to have accomplished it!
Friday’s activities included the high and low ropes courses, zip-lining into the NorthEast River, rock wall climbing, wetland exploration, a river boat ride, tubing on a motor boat and seining (fishing with a giant net).
RISE Camp included fabulous food in the dining hall, great lunches out on the beach, and campfires with smores! Every meal in the dining hall was served by a group of 20 VOLUNTEERS from both West Chester and Chester who gave up their summer week to serve our large group! Unbelievable!
There was a beach party with a great DJ and an enormous camp fire as well, and the campers enjoyed the pool almost every day. The kids enjoyed plenty of time together, relaxing, swimming, dancing and just talking. NorthBay is a peaceful and beautiful place with absolutely breathtaking sunsets every single night!
On the last day the kids were treated to an authentic County Fair in the outdoor gym. They competed in fun games and earned tickets which they could turn in for popcorn, lemonade, or the privilege of sending their favorite Chaperone to either the Dunk Tank, the Pie in the Face, or the Barber Shop (where the Chaperone gets shaving cream put all over their face and then the Camper gets to shoot it out at close range with a water rifle)!
RISE Camp was absolutely fantastic. Everyone had a ball. The RISE Veterans are a strong family unit at this point. They really love and respect each other and they are going to be excellent future leaders in the City of Chester. The Rookies are still transitioning from Camp Paradise campers to RISE members. Their ties to one another have not solidified but they are prepared for this first year of RISE where they will learn to rely on and really trust one another, and to work closely and in cooperation with each other.
Partners in Outreach
Aaron Johnson, BALL BEYOND
Krapf Bus Company