This summer at camp, Kayla Barker got to enjoy her favorite activities -- stargazing and the ropes course -- while becoming more than just a camper. Picked as a "Leader in Training" at the YMCA's Camp Oakes, Kayla, 15, spent the week working with younger children as she tested the waters as a counselor-to-be.
"It was so interactive," Kayla said. "We had meetings and mingled with each other."
The key to being a good counselor, says Kayla, is an open personality.
"I usually talk to anybody and everybody," said Kayla, who lives in Riverside with her grandmother, Pat Holl, and her younger brothers, Dylan, 10, and Danny, 13. "I've always been that way."
About 325 kids, ages 8 to 13, spend a week at YMCA's Camp Oakes, on 230 acres of the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear Lake. Campers get to swim and horseback ride in a full ranch program with more than 40 horses.
The core values of the camp -- caring, respect, honesty and responsibility -- are instilled during the activities, said Jeff Darling, executive camp director, and the youngsters quickly form bonds with one another.