Nature has always been my safe haven: a place where I could escape into the woods or onto the river allowing my mind to wander, think, and explore.   I always knew that the outdoors was the area in which I wanted to work.  As a small child, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would reply with a smile, “traveling the world helping others”.  Friends of the Rappahannock has enabled me to do such.

The river changes each day.  A rainstorm upstream may cause the water levels to rise, washing new obstacles down the river, or the water levels may be drastically lower than normal to create a labyrinth of exposed rock and grasses.  Despite playing in the Rappahannock every day of summer camp, each day was a new adventure.  As the river changed, our plans changed.  We would lay just inches in the water with our heads lightly being tickled by the water one day.  The next, we would splash into the holes created by the previously visible rocks as we tubed.  The feeling you get as you enter into the airport for your next adventure was the feeling I got walking into work each morning—that raw excitement vibrating through my skin.

I learn from the children as much as the children learn from me.  At Friends of the Rappahannock, the youth that attend our summer camps, field trips, and special programs come from a diverse background.  This diversity fosters a center for knowledge to be shared amongst many.  Whether it be the campers learning about the operation of water turbines from Friends of the Rappahannock staff,  or the campers introducing the staff to an interesting nature fact as we hot-glued their craft together, or the little girl who was so fearful of the water that she held my arm with all the strength in her body until she realized the personal floatation device (PFD) would support her and that she could trust me as I would not let her float all the way to the Chesapeake Bay; there was a constant flow of knowledge.  I had to opportunity to help others become educated on the land, animals, and river.

As the summer winds down and summer camp concludes, I am off on my next adventure to share my learnings to more individuals.  I will talk highly of Friends of the Rappahannock as I hold this organization, the work family that I have grown to love, the busy minds of the children, and the peaceful rush of the Rappahannock close to my heart.  It has been a pleasure to be part of such an amazing organization.  I hope everyone will take a moment to sit at the banks of the river, wandering, thinking and exploring.

Abriana Fines

FOR Summer Camp Counselor 2016-2017

 

 

 

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