Student Thoughts

Since Camp Caritas really is all about the kids, I wanted to share some favorite camp moments written by my students. I hope you enjoy reading them half as much as the kids enjoyed experiencing them!


My favorite moment was after the night hike when we all sat down and stared at the stars. I really felt connected with nature and felt thankful to have such great friends and for my new friends. I also have another favorite moment: Thursday, after the opening eyes ceremony when everyone was talking about it and giving and receiving hugs. I think the best part was being able to take off our blind folds and we could actually see. I have a third favorite moment, too, when were getting ready for bed on the first night, and our cabin leader, Adea (I think that’s how it’s spelled), sang to us while she was making an amazing painting for Katie's birthday. We said she should go on the X Factor of American Idol, she is super talented and that helped us connect with her and helped us learn more about her. I have more favorite moments, but these are my top three. I just loved the whole Caritas experience so almost every moment was my favorite.

One of my favorite memories from Caritas is doing the blind serendipity. I enjoyed this serendipity because it told me what people thought of me. I enjoyed the feeling after I got tapped, especially for all the good questions. [Information deleted by the teacher so future campers won't know too much. :) ] I think this serendipity has brought our class closer, knowing what people think of you. This activity really helped me learn more about myself. Caritas is the same way, camp has really changed the way our class acts towards each other and to ourselves. Before it was girls at one table boys at another, and now we sit in a circle on the ground as a class with no one getting left out. I think that whole experience really changed my mind, and thats what I like the most about Caritas.


One of my favorite moments of Camp Caritas was when we played escape from Alcatraz. If we didn’t have to go to bed, I could have played that all night. It was a simple game. All you had to do was avoid being hit by the light and use the tables as cover (they were on their sides). I got a lot of blocks in, but when I got back to my cabin I realized my arms were all scraped up and bruised from all of the diving I had done. I think that It was definitely a nice treat after the blindfold circle. Like I said before, It was not my favorite memory but it was one of my favorite memories.


On Thursday I woke up feeling sad. It was almost the end of Caritas! But, instead of moping, I decided to make this the best day of the week! We did our usual routine of eating breakfast then packing lunches for another big hike. This time we didn’t do the challenge course but we did hike quite a bit! When we came back for electives. Since the night hike was Thursday, electives and free time were put together, so I took an extra long shower! I dressed in my hiking clothes and ate a lovely chicken dinner, then we went into our cabins to change for the group serendipity and night hike! We had our leaving caritas party/play then our group serendipity. After that we went to Harriman Hall and got a pep talk on the night hike. Then we got into out groups.When we started hiking, I realized just how dark dark could get. Our group had to hold the person in front of them and hang on for dear life. When we stopped in the middle of the woods, we had a very deep, spiritual group serendipity. After that was what we were all waiting for, our solo night hikes. We all waited for our turn, and when my turn came I was nervous, but not afraid. I could see pretty well even though it was near pitch black. Even so, I tripped on a branch and joined the scrub club. When I got to my group I was happy to see them, but a little disappointed because I was having fun hiking in the dark. When we all completed our task we headed back to camp. I plopped on my bed after changing into my PJs, worn out after a long day of fun.


My favorite part of Caritas would be the Gaga Ball pit. When the water would flow in and make the ground all muddy, that was the best! And getting other people muddy, that was so much fun too! When we got out, we would have to do something funny to get back in! I think my favorite one was to do 14.7 jumping jacks like a bunny. We were all hopping all over the place waving our hands and feet everywhere and flinging mud in each other’s faces and on their clothes. When we got back in, I just hit other people and jump and sidestep the balls if they came my way. The ultimate fun was after the game, where some of us stayed and rolled in the mud, getting ourselves caked with mud and getting soaked with water. I was so cold walking all the way back to my cabin: cabin one. I had to have someone hold a towel in front of me so I could take all my dirty clothes off. I am so thankful for warm showers!


I think one topic that easily comes to mind is the night hike, the night hike was a life changing experience. I remember us going out on the trail, it was dark but I could kind of make out who people were. We were all being super helpful to one another. The way we did this was we would give each other a warning if there was a stick that we could catch our foot in or trip over. When we were doing our serendipity's people got really deep, you learned something you would have never known about the person. And it was hilarious when we had to write the color that we thought our marker was on our for-head, surprisingly I got mine right. We lost marker caps but we found them the next day on our day hike. When it was finally time for our night hike people started freaking out, they were getting super nervous but then there were the people that were fight over who was going to go first. I was talking to every kid even St.Catherine's and we were laughing and having a great time until our turn, I kept feeling around for somebody and to ask them who they were. It was hilarious when Luke and Matthew, and Eric were singing. And somebody was singing the sponge bob theme song..ooh ya that was Katelyn. When Matthew was singing/yodeling, this is what he sounded like  “yodalay yodalay yodalay he whhoooo!!!!, I am okay.” And when Katrina said “oww....what is that ...okay I just ran into a bush...I can do this, nope no I can’t I am going up hill” it made my day. When it was my turn to go I was kinda nervous, I was listening to the voice that was leading the way and I didn't run into anything surprisingly. I was watching my white shoes and then once I got there everybody gave me  hug, and then I was sitting in between Luke and Clara. Clara and I were petting Luke's head. We were laughing and tapping each other until it was the last kids turn. This kid did not want to go, but everybody gave him high fives when he made it. Then we all ate bat poop which exploded in our mouths, (it was a special type of lifesaver.)

Although it was not scary for me, the night hike was an experience to remember.  It felt like a family, even though I had only known some of the kids in my group for about a day.  I felt that the most bonding happened after I finished the night hike.  We had a lot of fun just whispering about how it was a lot easier than we thought it would be or just having conversations and getting to know each other.  I think I made a lot of friends during that time period.  By the end of the night I knew all the St Catherine’s kids and knew that, if I didn’t already consider them a friend, I would by the end of the week.  The night hike, for me, was really the start of forming new Caritas relationships.


My favorite moment at Caritas was playing Escape from Alcatraz. I believe I was very good at it. I only got caught once and I lead a group of people to victory. I loved that game because I like the dark and it was exciting. I really liked hopping from cover to cover and coming back to restart with my head high. I liked diving into the grass to avoid being caught by the large spotlight. There was only one downside I got a bunch of grass stains.


My favorite moment at Caritas was the New Eyes Serendipity. I liked this activity because I think that my class really opened up to each other. Everyone seemed to be into the activity and seemed to really like participating in it. I think this helped everyone in the class who went feel special and truly loved. I learned a lot about my class when we did the class serendipity. I felt like this was the moment in Caritas when everyone really connected with each other. I hope that we can have other activities like the New Eyes Serendipity where we all really felt connected together.

For me the Caritas Spirit is just the great experience Caritas provides. I got to know a lot of my classmates better even though I have known them for seven years. I have grown closer to my friends in my class. I also made new friends from the other school.
Caritas Spirit is accepting people. Taking a risk even though you are afraid. Caritas Spirit can be found in nature, in others, and in yourself. That is what Caritas Spirit is to me.


One of my most favorite experiences at camp was Gagaball. Gagaball is a game where everyone gets muddy and rolls balls at each other in a friendly sort of way. There was running, sliding, and rolling in the mud. Sometimes mud would get in my eye, which would be displeasurable and distracting. However, having fun with my friends really made up for it. On Tuesday, the first day of electives, I arrived at the Gagaball pit with fresh white pants. At the end of Gagaball that day, my pants were dark brown. After being hosed off by KT, my pants were still dark brown. The next day, my pants were a lighter shade of brown when I went to the Gagaball pit. At the end of Gagaball that day, my pants were even darker. The teacher from the other school promised his dessert to whoever got the muddiest. I had two cookie tarts that night.

My favorite moment at Caritas was on Wednesday when we went to the coast. This place was very special to me for two reasons. One was that my entire family comes up there, ( Bodega Bay) every other year and goes hiking there. So I already knew much of the landscape and had positive memories at that place. The second special moment happened at lunch, when I really think I glimpsed God for real. My friends and I were sitting in a circle near the ocean and were telling riddles. The sun was shining, the ocean looked beautiful, and I felt so happy to be with my friends. Just being there in nature with my friends really made me feel grateful, and that was my favorite Caritas moment.  


I had a wonderful time at Caritas but one thing I enjoyed a lot was the time spent with our meal group. On Monday we ate lunch outside and we all kind of stayed in our little comfort zones. I ate with Serena and Katelyn, Robert and Christopher ate together, and Adan and Mat ate together with Ron, who is Mat’s dad. That all changed as soon as dinner that night. We sat down and even if it wasn’t completely Caritas style, our conversation were with everyone and we all made quite a few memories and friends. There were only two St. Catherine’s kids but I became friends with both of them, probably more Mat because he was in my hiking group. We always sat at the same table and in the same spots. I had so much fun at my table, I looked forward to the meals so I could be with them. Only two people in the whole camp were in more than one of my groups: Katelyn and Mat. I spent so much time with my cabin group and my hiking group that it was always fun to be to with my meal people.


My favorite moment in Caritas is when we walked into the Ga Ga ball pit and saw the extremely large amount of mud that was already in the pit when we got there. We all thought yeah, it was going to be muddy but not that muddy. They had a hose over the side of the pit running water whilst we were playing! There was bout ten balls all together and each was absolutely drenched in both dry and crusty mud, and wet and slimy mud. There was even some people that went swimming and the proceeded to give there friends hugs. I was a victim of these barbaric acts, but I also hugged even people I did not know. That was by far, my best moment at Caritas!


I had lots of fun at Caritas, but Gaga Ball was he most fun I had there.  It was so awesome to get that muddy, and at first I didn’t even want to do it, but I’m glad I did it.  It was so much fun spreading mud all over my face and arms and just getting downright dirty.  I had a great time doing the jailbreak commands with KT and getting back in the pit to try to get others out.  I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life getting that dirty, and it was a great experience to do something different than i could in every day life.


A meaningful experience at Caritas for me was the night hike.  I am not usually scared of the dark, but hiking in the dark?  That scared me a little.  Lots of terrifying thoughts flashed through my head--going off path and walking blindly for miles through the woods, getting lost, falling and scraping myself on trail, running hard into branches...the list was endless.  A thought that a bobcat might eat me even occurred.  Although Beth and Triple A explained how it went and that nothing had ever gone wrong, that they had been on it before, that we walked trough it already, I still worried.  No light!

I was one of the first people to go, so I didn’t spend that much time fretting.  Instead, I focused on something much more immediate.  Not getting lost.

Looking back on it, I realize it was a bit silly, worrying.  Even though I tripped some, and thought stray branches were Beth, I got to the end safely and feeling like I’d climbed a mountain--even if I’d only hiked a few hundred feet.

One thing I can definitely say about Caritas is that I had a lot of fun. But I think it was the perfect time to go to camp so we could all really have a fresh start this year and fix our mistakes and make up for the things we regret we never did. I know that I definetly felt I had he second chance to do so.
My favorite day at Caritas was Wednesday when we went on the field trip to Bodega Bay. I really loved the bus ride the most. I actually volunteered to sing after I saw how brave Aide was to do it. It was no doubt that she had an amazing voice but I remember when I just belted out my first high note I swore I could see Shawn Washingtons mouth drop open.
Later at freetime I decide to chill at the basketball court and eat my 10th apple. One of the counselors was on the other bench and saw me all by myself and invited me to come and sit with him. I uncomfortably took the offer no knowing who it was and then as I came closer we both recongized each other. It was Triple A. He told me that he was on the bus and that he heard me sing and that he was jealous. To tell you the truth I didn't even know he was there. If he never approached me I would have never known who he was and where he was from. The next couple days we talked but it was not till the Miwok camp serendipity that I really poured my heart out to him. I told him that I needed to change and he was there for me the entire time. I will never forget that moment when he sat with me and literally changed my life. Triple A, you are a blessing in disguise.

The Caritas rainbow means that all the colors represent us as individuals and when the colors come together it forms a rainbow, that is like all of us coming together to support each other. I did not realize how unique everybody is until we had the serendipity(s) and I started to realize that we, individuals all have something we don't know about each other and when we release it it opens us up to one another more and more. This really allowed us to support each other. Another thing the Caritas rainbow means to me is teamwork. All the colors are like our class that really brings peace to each other and support. I really like how trust is also associated with a team, because you need trust to work as a team like we did at camp. This is what the Caritas rainbow means to me!


I really enjoyed the moments on the day hike where our group really bonded. I liked it especially after the solo hike we all had to howl like a coyote, at least 75% of our group missed it and Nathan and I had to yell at them every time. I really enjoyed that day, and of course all of the days!


I’d say that the most memorable thing I did over the week while my class was at Caritas was making my movie. It took lots of patience, which I usually lack. It was incredibly frustrating to draw and erase approximately one thousand stick-men. Another major time consumer was when iMove automatically added the Ken Burns effect to every single frame, making me redo EVERY frame. But at the end it was totally worth it. I brought it in to the class so they could see it the upcoming week.


A very special moment for me at Caritas was the solo sit.  We did our solo sits on our “field trip” to the beach.  I had a great spot with a perfect view of the cliff about fifteen feet away from me.  At the base of the rock was a small indentation in the rock that I would watch small waves fill up and then wash out over and over again.  The repetitivity of the waves filling the small hole was almost meditative.  It was a great opportunity to just sit with yourself in a rare peace and quiet.  Some people fell asleep during this activity, or dug holes in the sand, but I feel that I made my time more useful to myself by doing what I did. I actually tried to come out of myself and reflect upon my person through the eyes of another.  Watching the waved go in and out without a single disruption, carrying all kinds of ocean debris with it, provoked a very interesting line of thought:  nothing stops our great rhythm.  If someone dies, if someone is in pain, if someone is hungry or depressed - it only makes a small ripple on the surface of life’s great water.  The ocean doesn’t stop moving if someone loses a friend.  Most of the time the world doesn’t really realize, and even if it does, will it care?  If someone goes so far as to do something about it, how much change can they make?  If someone stops to help a stranger up from falling, will it even make a difference?  Some people will say that it does, that everyone matters, and one small thing sets off a domino effect which makes someone’s life different on the other side of the world.  Some will say that it doesn’t matter.  That the world is such a small place that one tiny person, one small good act won’t do a thing.  Maybe it can, or maybe the second theory is true.  I believe in both opposite ends of the spectrum depending on my mood and state of mind at the moment.  It depends on whether my glass is half full or half empty.  I don’t think I will ever be able to answer this question, but that is, in a way, a good thing.  Caritas has given me many other lasting theories to ponder long after I have physically left it.


I had so many wonderful memories from Caritas that it is hard to chose just one as my favorite. One experience, ough, that was a ton of fun was when we played the game, Alcatraz! Alcatraz was a crazy game where we had to bring a Lego piece from a bucket one side of the grass field to the bucket on the other side of the field! The trick was there was a huge rotating spotlight that we had to avoid. The light was like the guard post light on Alcatraz. There were barriers, like tables and boogie boards, to hide behind. Everyone was diving on the ground and then jumping back up to sprint to the bucket on the other side of the field! It was also pitch black out outside, so the only visible light was the spotlight! It was definitely something that we could do nowhere else!


It is now time for the first lunch, the one we packed. I was in a group with three other guys, not including the group leader, and three girls so we were evenly balanced. Except there was five C.T.K students and only two St. Catherines students. Lunch was a real bonding experience. I felt like our meal groups was the best time of Caritas.


One of my favorite moments in Caritas was when I made a blow horn out of seaweed.  This happened on the day we went to the coast. Beth told us to find something that we would not find in the forest. I found a really long piece of seaweed. Triple A told me to bring the object to Beth so she could turn it into an Australian wind instrument. It was really fun to blow into and hit people with [just kidding].




My favorite day at Caritas was Wednesday. We started the day with homemade Egg McMuffins and went on to load buses for a field trip to Bodega Head.  On my bus was Beth’s group and my group: Jose Char-Char’s Electric Baby Giraffes. On the way down, we sang Bazooka Bubble Gum and assorted Disney songs. When we arrived at the beach, we hiked some, then played a game where we were blindfolded and could say one word. We had to find the other person who could say that word to. The challenging part was the words rhymed. My word was dark, other’s were lark, mark, and park. There was also the shark. If you got tagged by the guy saying shark, you were out. Next we hiked to see the sea lion’s, and Shawn Washington encouraged us to ARP ARP back at them to see if they would respond. Of course when we arrived, they became silent. After the failed conversation with the sea lions, we played predator and prey in a field filled with thistles, weeds, and ice plants. there was nothing to hide behind except face down in the grass, or underneath the backpack boundaries. Someone in my hiking group that is also in this class, found a super fuzzy caterpillar. He befriended it and made it a little home in his bandanna. We proceeded to lunch at the Elephant Tree, where we climbed it, had a serendipity on it, and ate lunch on it. The Electric Baby Giraffes continued hiking, while talking about our favorite vacations, to the beach for our solo sits. Shawn Washington let us remove our shoes and find a place on the sand or cliff to sit for a while. It could have been relaxing, but the water rose several feet with every tide that swept onto the sand, until I was inches from getting wet. I finally moved up onto the cliff before I could get swept into the drink. We concluded the tour and before getting on the bus, the person I mentioned earlier released his little caterpillar friend into the grass. On the bus ride back, we danced to the Chugga-Chugga, and some people sang solos. When we arrived back at camp, I played Gaga Ball for the first time. I could do that again, I would have gotten WAY more muddy. I was amazing. I made it to the final seven several times. It took me a while to understand the whole double touch concept, but I caught on. During free time I washed the mud out of my hair. My meal group assembled for a Mexican Taco feast. Our class assembled for a very calm serendipity that really meant something to me. Next we played ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ! It was a very active day, and definitely the one I will remember the most.


The hikes that we were on were very exciting but sort of tiring because there were uphill and downhill parts of the hike that would be sort of difficult. But the number-one thing I enjoyed the most was participating in challenges that involved mind bobbling strategies. Although it took a numerous amount of time, we all communicated by listening and agreeing on ideas given by every single one of us. The first challenge was to get everyone (including fifteen students, our naturalist, and a parent) into a large tree stump that was easily crowded. As we went along on our adventure, we attempted our first ninja-stealth mission by passing a Pomo group without making a sound. With success, we headed toward our next challenge, from my point of view it just looked like a giant rope spider web. And with the imagination our group had we had to safe the chicken from boiling lava without hitting any of the ropes or breaking any of the rules. It took our group about two tries total in order to succeed. We rescued the chicken and continued to move forward. Our next challenge was a little bit tricky because we had to have everyone go from swinging from a rope and onto a very small platform. Luckily we had enough space because the rules were to only have your feet on the platform, nothing else, so we used our critical thinking once again and leaned on the trees leaving more space. It was quite a struggle to keep everyone balanced but we got the challenge completed. With everyone becoming hungry we were able to finish the last challenge by balancing the wooden-scale and then with victory we sat in a circle and started to eat our lunch.


I had many memorable experiences at Caritas, but one of my favorites had to be the night hike.  At first I was a little afraid of being in the dark, but being with my friends really helped. I loved how I could see billions of stars, and even the Milky Way. On most nights at home, I can only see a few stars. During the serendipity,I couldn’t even tell if the grayish blobs I saw on the field were people or just my imagination. When we walked into the forest,I was using the person in front of me as a guide. My group started joking around and having fun with each other.  We played a couple games, and after it was time for the solo night hike. We all lined up and waited for our naturalist to give the first person a heads up. I was fifth in line, because I wanted to get  it over with. We also had our worry stones with us,in case we started worrying. One counselor told us to sing our favorite Disney song during the hike. It was finally my turn. I started to go a little slow at first,to get used to the trail. I started singing Hakuna Matata from the Lion King in my head. I then reached the end of the hike. The hike was very short, about thirty yards. I lied down and started talking to a guy in my hiking group. One of my friends came down and lied down next to me. My worry stone fell out of my pocket and I had to look for it in the dark,while giggling because I lost it. A couple of us then started throwing pebbles at each other. I was laughing the entire time. Soon, everyone had finished, and we began our descent. back to headquarters. I was so delirious that when we got back I thought that something on the whiteboard said sleepy time, instead of serendipity. It must have been the bat poop.  ; )


I think the most meaningful experiences for me at Caritas were walking on the trail with my favorite counselor Triple A (Aaran). Beth (my naturalist) had a way of pairing up people to hike with on the trail. We would reach into a bag and pull out a colored Lego. Whoever had the same color as you would be your partner until we stopped again. Almost every time I was paired up with Triple A. Getting to know him made my week a great deal better. The things he taught me about involving nature were amazing. Every hike went on I would carry his lunch. I remember one time we were laughing really hard because he took his two sandwiches out of my backpack and they were completely flat. Ahhh... good times.


I learned a lot about myself when we went out to the coast. When I saw the waves it made me forget everything and just love others and myself. The waves to me represent the love in our earth. You can see the compassion between people who love each other. Everyone can have love if they don't push people away. I learned that I am an independent person. But in the end I will need people to lean on when times are hard. When we did our solo sit I thought about everything I that I had experienced in the one full day that I had been at Caritas Creek. It made me really be thankful for what I have.


My favorite memory at Camp Caritas was playing Escape from Alcatraz. From falling to getting fell on, this game was so much fun. Here's how to play: Pretend that you are a prisoner, in Alcatraz, trying to escape. You are trying to escape, but without getting caught by the light. The object of the game is to get you Lego piece in to the basket without getting hit by the light. You may think that it is impossible to escape from the light, but you get to hide behind tables. When I played this game, I joined the scrub club about twenty times.

Jason S.

My most memorable moment at Camp Caritas was the night hike. I remembered KT and many people in my hiking group freaking out. I remember when Matt said to Scooby “Come on Scooby we need your help fighting the monsters.” KT replied “There aren’t any monsters Matthew!” I could tell she was afraid of the dark. I remember sitting down in the woods with a single candle that boosted every one's  morale by the light. I had an amazing time at the hike with all the noises and laughs were amazing Just starting a conversation with KT and a few others in my hiking group that were 50 feet away. I remember hearing Katrina try and find her way going up and down hills. I remember somebody slipping but finding there way back to the path with laughter ringing from their mouth. This experience was fun and showed me how many people are really afraid of the dark. I never knew. I hope God blesses them all.



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