Local teen attends summer camp for first time ever, takes up sailing

Local teen attends summer camp for first time ever, takes up sailing

The Salvation Army Spokane summer camp for kids, Camp Gifford is the oldest summer youth camp in Eastern Washington. It’s age is the only thing dated about it though. Throughout the years they’ve continued to switch up programs to make it an exciting place for local children to spend their summer vacation! Their most recent program is in sailing, a shock to local kids who’ve never had time on the water before.

“No summer camps before,” exclaimed 13-year-old camper, Jonah Gebrehiwet.

However, if you’re reaching the end of your childhood and haven’t gone to camp, than you’ve got to go out with a bang – or a boom if sailing camp is what you choose.

That’s exactly what Gebrehiwet decided to focus on for his first summer camp experience.

Camp Gifford is a camp that caters to kids who may not have otherwise had the chance to be a part of the most quintessential experiences of growing up. Most campers are on scholarship from the Salvation Army Spokane as their parents struggled with meeting camp tuition costs.

“My brother has really bad allergies too so I have to mostly take care of him a lot, so we can’t really go anywhere,” Gebrehiwet explained.

Each session is only 3 days long and Gebrehiwet is determined to make the most of it.

Gebrehiwet added, “when I see all these new people I’m like ‘I got new jokes for you, we can talk about this, and did you realize there’s a dead fish on the shoreline?’ That’s awesome to me – because I don’t see fish very much.”

He retains every piece of knowledge thrown his way and watching him on the water, it’s like he is making up lost time; soaking up every single moment.

“I’m literally enjoying life so much right now, this is so much fun!” he shouted from his boat!

The sailing program was introduced as a way to teach campers to overcome their fears, be leaders and most important to Gebrehiwet, work as a team.

“I can’t even explain it honestly. It’s more than words. To know that I can come over to this camp, out of a select few, and be able to have so much fun. It really is just such an amazing blessing,” he said.

You can learn more about Camp Gifford here.