Amazing Kids! Magazine


By Bates Gall, age 14, Ohio


It was a cool afternoon. The sun was high in the sky. A perfect Michigan day! Kids were playing four-square on the dock and swimming in the water. I looked out from my cabin and saw sailboats whipping across the water. I walked down to the beach and felt the warm sand against my feet. Before I could walk into the water the bell rang and it was time for lunch. I was not looking forward to lunch for two reasons: taco casserole and the high ropes course. I knew that after lunch we were all expected to climb the high ropes course which was one-hundred feet above the ground.

Looking up at the high ropes, I felt my stomach turn and I wished for a moment that I was back home on my trampoline. I turned to Harry, one of my cabin counselors and told him I didn’t want to climb the high ropes course. He told me it was okay if I didn’t go up this time but the next time we went to the ropes course I had to go up and face my fears. He said, “You have to overcome your fears to become something great.” I had remorse that I avoided the ropes course.

The next morning, we had a sailboat race. I thought it was inevitable that our sailboat was going to flip because I didn’t think of myself as a good sailor. I went out on the boat but I did not go alone. I had my friend George go with me who was a better sailor than me. The boat flipped twice within the first half of the race so we gave up and came back to shore. Our counselor told us to go back in the boat and we said “no” because we were scared we were going to flip again.  He told us that we were never going to forgive ourselves if we gave up on things so easily. I went to lunch feeling bad because I had not finished the race. That night I went to bed thinking that I have to face my fears.

The next morning, we went on our one week sailing trip. The first day was very windy and I had to do the ropes that controlled the sails. I told myself that I was not going to let myself and my cabin mates down. I stayed out the whole time and did the ropes even though I could have been knocked off the boat. On the second day it was windy again. It was my turn to steer and handle the main sail. I was very scared when our boat was tipping over. Our boat was tipping over so much that my back was touching the water. I told my counselor that I couldn’t control the boat and I ran away to the cabin. I knew I had let my cabin mates down and I felt shame and remorse.

On the last day of our sailing trip the weather was the worst it had been the entire trip. The wind was screaming and the waves were smacking the side of our boat. My counselor asked who wanted to be captain. Nobody said anything. We played horse and goggle to see who would be the captain. It landed on me. I had to be captain on the worst day of the trip. We started our long sail home going as fast as lightning and rocking like a rocking chair. Our boat was tilting to the side more than the first time I was captain. Water started going into the cabin so we closed all the hatches. I was the only one out on the deck of the boat. I was responsible for everyone. I didn’t like it and I wanted to go in to the cabin of the boat and avoid my fears. My counselor incited me to be in charge of the boat. I didn’t want to let my cabin mates down again. I thought of what my counselor told me, “You have to face your fears to be something great.” I thought of that every second I was steering the boat that last day of the trip. I didn’t want to feel the remorse of knowing that I let my cabin mates down again so I stayed out on the deck until the boat landed safely. That was when I learned that I could face my fears and accomplish great things.

We got back to camp at night and went right to bed after unpacking our stuff from our bus. We were all exhausted. We woke up to the loud ring of the bell that signaled the start of the flag raising. After lunch we had our second period activity which was the high ropes course. While we were walking to the course the only thing I could think of was completing the course. I thought to myself that I wanted to be something great so I had to face my fears. I faced my fears on the boat and everything turned out great.

When we got to the ropes course I knew I could finish it. When my counselor asked who wanted to go first my hand was the first one up. I went up and the first thing I did was walk along a wire to the other side of the course. I was a hundred feet up in the air so I was a little hesitant, but I did it anyways. I got across without falling and that brought my confidence up. I did all the other obstacles with no hesitation at all. To finish the course, you have to jump off a platform, grab a rope and swing to the ground. It’s the worst part of the whole course. I was the last one in line. When I got to the platform I told myself that I had to face my fears. Right after I said that I jumped and I was instantly falling. I was so proud of myself for facing my fear of heights.

The next day when I left camp I was satisfied with myself. I left knowing that I had faced my fears and that I had not let my cabin mates down. I knew going home that I could do anything that I set my mind to. I wanted to be more than average; I wanted to challenge myself to do great things. I now have more confidence in myself. I learned that to be something great you have to face your fears. Before I went to camp I didn’t think of myself as able to do anything great or challenging because I thought I wasn’t good enough. Coming back from camp I knew that I could do anything if I faced my fears and had persistence. I now have more confidence and believe in myself.