2001: A PFI Camp Odyssey
Seren Shank, Rhodes
(Editor’s note: The 7th Annual PFI Youth and Family Camp, celebrated here, took place June 17-20 at the Y-Camp in Boone County. Congratulations and thank you to Shelly Gradwell for pulling together such a great crew and program. View camp photos here.)
This year has been a pretty big year for me. I graduated from high school, decided on a college, and will soon be moving out of the house I’ve lived in all my life. Also, after being at PFI Camp for five years, this was the first year I became a staff member. Although this was our 7th annual PFI Camp, 2001: A PFI Camp Odyssey, was also full of firsts.
This year saw the first teen leadership trip, a backpacking trek in The Ledges State Park. Although we have had teen leadership days in the past, this was the first year we featured an in-depth, two-day training experience. While at The Ledges, the teens participated in leadership and team building activities. Both the counselors and the staff members commented that the trip was great, and we hope to continue it next year. PFI has some really amazing teens who did an outstanding job as counselors and role models and they will surely continue as leaders in the future.
I, and many others I assume, traveling through time was a first at camp. We boarded the time machine and wound up in several different periods of Iowa’s past, present, and future. While in the different eras, we met the inhabitants of the period, and learned about the culture and agriculture of the time. While in the Neolithic era, the campers had the chance to make a bow drill fire, learn about native Iowa plants, and the native Iowa peoples. In the Pioneer era, the campers made their supper of buffalo, beans, and cornbread over an open fire and in Dutch ovens, learned about what it would be like to travel the Oregon Trail, and even met a real pioneer woman.
In the present, they visited a farm that has incorporated the “Full Circle” of agricultural life with the lessons of the past and goals of the future. Thanks to Don and Nan and Harold! Finally, in the future, the campers got to design their farm of the future, and think about what they hope to bring to agriculture in Iowa.
Yes, this camp was full of firsts. It was the first time our group was so large that we had to charter a bus for the field trips. It was the first year at camp for the Hogg family, including one-year-old Isabella, who I hope enjoyed her first camp experience as much as we all enjoyed having her and her family there.
PFI Camp has been a very special part of my teenage years. It has given me experiences and memories that I will carry with me wherever life takes me. Most importantly, it has given these youth a chance not only to have fun and interact with other PFI kids, but also to think about where they fit in and what role they have now and will someday have in Iowa’s future. It is my firm hope that this camp will be here to give the PFI youth that chance for many years to come