Reports from the Field: Pennsylvania Bucktails, a First Year’s Personal Account

Not even a week after the Pennsylvania Bucktails field school, student Alex, shared her experience by creating a website – we were impressed and proud!  Below is the text from one of her pages called: “My Story”.  If you would like to take a look at her full website, the address is:  We are proud to have Alex as a part of our team!

At first, when my mom told me there was an outdoor camp that my grandfather taught at and I was going, I was much less than thrilled. Personally, I am not a very outdoor person. I would much rather play a video game, watch YouTube videos, or figure out how to solve a Rubik’s cube than go ride my bike or go play outside. I was convinced that this camp was going to be awful and a waste of a week. To make things worse, I was going by myself and wouldn’t know any of the other students there. This would be the first time I would be going to a camp without a friend or sibling. So I was nervous, and annoyed.

Alex and her team
Alex (left) and her team – the White Wolves!

When I got there, I got my stuff, and my mom and I headed to my cabin to unpack. When I got there, all the other girls were either unpacked, or in the process. I was clearly the youngest there and was feeling really awkward about having to share a small space with people I didn’t know. Eventually I was unpacked and we all went into the main building. A short time later, I was alone with my team, a.k.a five people I didn’t know. We all introduced ourselves and then we had to come up with a team name. We soon settled on the White Wolves. After all this we dove right in with a bunch of classes and a deer necropsy. I was getting to know my team a little better, but I still wasn’t happy being there.

Then, we had to do team cadences. We had to pick a cadence and yell it as loud as we could and march in step. Needless to say, no one was very loud. But as the week wore on, we got louder and louder to the point of losing our voices.

As the week went on, we did more and more activities and I got more and more comfortable with my team, the students at camp, and the instructors. I felt like I could talk to anyone when ever I needed to and we addressed all the instructors by their first names.

Then came, The Night. I will refer to it as The Night because it deserves its own title. Everyone stayed up until at least 2:00 in the morning working on projects for the next day. But, instead of feeling completely overwhelmed like I would if these were school projects, I knew I would be able to get everything finished. We did, we got every project finished. Our tri-folds, PowerPoints, plant collections, etc. There was no way we could have finished everything without help from the amazing instructors, though.

The next day, we had to present our PowerPoints to everyone at camp. Yes, I was a little nervous, but not nearly as much as I usually am. Later, when the head instructor was talking to us, everyone’s eyes were glued to the scoreboard. Every few minutes a new score would go up and some team would cheer. That morning, my team had been in second place by 13 points. We thought it was the point of no return, but we gave our best any way, and we pulled ahead. We won! I was no longer the shy little girl who had walked in on the first day, I was and equal to every 15, 16, and 17 year old in that room. We were all friends now, we would all keep in touch.

The moral of my story? This camp will change you forever, for the better. Come join us! You’ll have loads of fun and learn while doing it!


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