This was a Jesuit camp that included some faith and scripture but really focused on the “men for others” mantra by having campers learn with and support each other. The highlight was a basic survival experience. The leaders took us out in pairs to sites too far apart to find each other, and left us in the woods to get by with two matches, a knife, some fishing line (we’d carve our own hook), and a potato and orange for each of us. And, most importantly, a sleeping bag.
My partner and I were fortunate. Our site had a reasonable amount of fallen lumber, vines, and grasses. We were able to build not just a simple lean-to shelter, but a room big enough for both of us to lie down and tall enough to stand in. The shore was littered with limestone, so we built not just a fire but a stove. There was a bush full of caterpillars that turned out to be perfect bait for the bass in the lake. We were able to grill the fish and use the oil to fry chips out of our potatoes.
The highlight of the trip, then, was when all the pairs were gathered to return and we smugly took our the oranges we hadn’t needed to eat in front of the others. Naturally, they tipped us out of our canoe.