For many campers, Camp Walter Johnson is their escape, their first taste of freedom, their safe haven. Many of the Charlotte youth that go to camp don’t have the same backgrounds as some of the other campers do. But that doesn’t stop them from enjoying camp and taking advantage of such a great opportunity. They go with an open mind, willing to learn from the staff and new friends they are bound to make.
One of the most popular programs among the teens is an outdoors adventure run by Lieutenant Howard Tate. A group of 15 teens were able to enjoy a week out in the woods learning survival skills and living on Mother Nature. Morning’s start at 6:30 AM with cleaning the camp site from the night before (can't see to clean at night). After breakfast they would start working on different types of outdoor activities. The activities included setting traps for food, looking for bait for fishing, cutting firewood, and building shelters, the typical things you would have to do to survive outside in the wilderness.
After eating some lunch and recouping from the hard work of getting the camp site ready, they would get to have some fun with different outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, exploring, swimming, and kayaking. Many of the youth have never seen a kayak or saw anything but the Queen City skyline.
What some of the kids found the most fun was the team building games. They did stuff like building boats then raced against each other, ropes course, low ropes, and mud courses. A lot of things that these kids never thought they would have a chance to do.
For Lieutenant Tate, after dinner was when some of the most fun was. The group would set off and check the fishing lines at 7, 9, and 11 PM to see if they had anything to eat later in the week. The boys caught some really nice catfish. First one weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces. The second one weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces.
Because of camp and the staff these kids can go back to Charlotte and share their experiences that not many Charlotte youth have a chance to enjoy. Next year we hope to grow this program, and of course catch more fish!