Are You Ready for the Summer? - Swim to the Island

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Where I went to camp there was a qualifying swim that each camper had to pass in order to participate in other water related sports. Those included boating, canoeing, sailing, waterskiing, as well as being able to swim in the ominous "deep end." In order for a camper to participate in off campus water events such as white water rafting he had to pass this one test.

That test was the swim to the island. As luck would have it, this camp was situated on a pond that did have an island. No one ever knew what the name of the island was, but it was there. That island was the proverbial beacon each and every camper looked out toward when they first arrived. It was the ticket to more water related freedom, but more importantly it represented a huge accomplishment. The island swim sometimes set the tone for the skills to be learned in other sports later on in the summer.

On Island Pond, (yes that was the real name) the swim was about 1/3 of a mile or 580 meters. It was no small "swim in the park." It was a long, slow, tiring swim. Campers were only required to swim one way. They were accompanied by a counselor in a row boat with proper life saving equipment and training. A camper could choose to swim out to the island, then shuttled by rowboat back to shore, or go in the opposite direction. Sometimes wind dictated which direction a camper chose to go. The most popular direction was to swim out to the island. That was the goal oriented direction. At the end the camper could climb up on the rocks of the island and raise his hands up like a conquering champion. Usually other campers gathering on shore would cheer the swimmer when he finished. Those shouts could be heard coming across flat surface and the deep water of Island Pond.

Campers were awarded a patch that were sewn onto their swim trunks by Aunt Betty to be proudly displayed.
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