This is the first time that I will be going away to camp without having an endless sea of nerves filling my thoughts before I leave. Tomorrow, more than half of my class is going off with the first year high school kids to help out and get to know them better as our aim in this course is to help them throughout this first year.
Before my first year of high school I went away to two different camps in the summer. Both, I went alone, and both were equally as frightening, although by the second I was fairly used to meeting new people, and could expect that only the best would come out of going off for a week.
First, I went away to a popular camp quite nearby, and one that had lots of praise from my friends. Unfortunately, the week that I went was one where I knew no one, and I felt that most other kids had made their friends in previous years.
I was young, and cliques should not have mattered, but for some reason I felt as if I could not break into their social circles.
Fortunately, the second camp, a horse-focused week with riding and caring for the animals, was very relaxed and there were only a few of us, under twenty. I made friends with a lot of the girls there, and overall had a better experience.
Perhaps it was due to the familiarity of being placed in such an unfamiliar situation, or because of the nature of the camp, which had kids with very similar interests to myself, and the smaller group allowed us to all get to know each other better.
My experience at outdoor school in my first year of high school was quite fun from what I remember. I recall getting to know a lot of new people, and began to relax as the days followed, and we tried out activities such as archery and traversing the ropes among the trees.
I hope that with this camp tomorrow, I will be able to help the younger kids to relax, and enjoy themselves. Their energy and enthusiasm will aid us as helpers as well, as it is much easier to get a group excited about an activity if they are willing, and it is also much easier to make new friends when you are confident in the situation.
My most recent camp experience, in the south of France this past summer, really helped me realize the importance of putting yourself out there, and the enjoyment you gain from approaching difficult or unfamiliar situations with confidence.
It was a new place, unknown to me, and unknown to my parents since I was traveling alone. Although, with a smile and positive energy, I was able to create friendships I could never have dreamed of before, and had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
Had I displayed shyness or buried myself behind a shell, I would have most likely missed out on so many memories which I cherish everyday. This camp helped me grow as a person, and aided a realisation that my world, home and to and from school each day, however much we learn about global issues and ponder social and political issues, cannot reflect the many experiences and people that await us in other parts of the world, and in many different times of our lives.
Two weeks in France was an amazing experience to say the least, and when people ask me how it was,
Never does it justice.
Would I have the mind set to reflect upon myself, and how I may have grown as a result in this way had I not departed on a flight alone, with my nerves spilling out my ears, and landed in a country where the language they spoke was only reflected in me by my broken,
"Esc-que je puh alleh oh twa-lette?"
From french class.
The french I learned was simple french, although my confidence in talking and forming sentences is what improved the most. I tweaked the pronunciation of my questions by the end of the two weeks, and was almost fluent in Franglais!
Our camp was situated along the southern coast of France, just outside of the small country of Monaco. Amazingly, we were able to walk right into Monaco without passport-checks, as there were no gates or patrol between the two countries. Down the stairs, we counted over one hundred and fifty one day before heat hit upon our backs, and to the beach was our usual destination, however many times we explored the nearby towns, including Nice for gelato and shopping.
Coupled with the heat and humidity, the difference from weather in England where I stayed previous was intense, and nights were difficult to sleep in as our rooms had neither air conditioning or large open windows to catch even the faintest breeze.
At eleven one evening, we ascended the stairs back to camp after watching the 'feu d'artifice' in Monte Carlo, and by the time we arrived back, we were very ready for a shower! The whole group was breathing heavily, and despite being such an energetic group, everyone was ready for bed after so much walking!
With these newly-made memories, I present my most familiar recipe as of late.
This is the loaf I usually bake on Sundays, so that each day when I come home from school I can have a slice of homemade zucchini loaf!
Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread
This is my go-to recipes for weekends, when I want a tasty treat with my tea. So far, every time it has worked out, and ends up lovely and moist!
My no-stress loaf...
Makes one 9 inch x 5 inch loaf
2 large eggs
3/4 - 1 c brown sugar
1/3 c cooking oil such as grape seed
1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c grated zucchini
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c sorghum flour
1/2 c arrowroot flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c walnuts or raisins, or anything else you would rather, such as gluten-free chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan with butter or oil.
Beat the eggs, brown sugar (starting with 3/4 c and adding more upon taste preferences), oil, applesauce, and vanilla on medium speed.
In a separate small bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and powder.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on slow until combined.
Stir in the shredded zucchini and nuts or raisins.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and place in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, then allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
One time I made this recipe, I substituted the apple sauce for the same quantity in grated apple. The outcome was very similar, with the same taste! So if applesauce isn't available, this is always a perfect substitution!
For a moister loaf, add slightly more apple sauce, substituting the sugar if you would prefer a more savory tasting loaf, and vice versa if you would rather it sweeter.
Labels: apple, baked, baking, bread, gluten free, loaf, tea, zucchini