The school year is almost over and that means one thing for Fort Polk's youth — summer vacation. Gone are the days of waking up early to catch the bus, rushing to complete homework assignments and cramming for final exams. But instead of being stuck inside the house, suffering from boredom, Fort Polk's kids have a chance to make their summer a  memorable one with the return of Camp Warrior.


The school year is almost over and that means one thing for Fort Polk's youth — summer vacation. Gone are the days of waking up early to catch the bus, rushing to complete homework assignments and cramming for final exams. But instead of being stuck inside the house, suffering from boredom, Fort Polk's kids have a chance to make their summer a  memorable one with the return of Camp Warrior.
Held at north Toledo Bend State Park, near Zwolle, the four-day adventure helps youth gain leadership skills, enhance team-building abilities, foster teen/adult partnerships and empowers youth to improve their community — all in a fun setting.
The camp splits youth into teams, where they can participant in a variety of activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking/walking trails, archery, crafts, games, fishing, horseshoes and volleyball.
Kayla Rehm, 14, first visited Camp Warrior when she was in sixth grade and has returned each summer since.
"It's a really great experience to be out in the wilderness, away from all the chaos of every day life," Rehm said. "You get to go out there with kids your age and participate in fun activities. You never get bored."
One of last year's events recalled by Cormac Burns, 14, was participating in a "driving under the influence" activity.
"You had to drive a course in a go kart. The first time you drove through normal and the second time they pushed the DUI button, which caused a delay reaction in your driving," Burns said. "They also had beer goggles. You'd put them on and it showed what it would look like if you had two drinks. We had a very interesting football game with the goggles."
Bridget Hardwick, 12, said one of her most memorable camp experiences was the night walk through the woods.
"It was completely dark and you could barely see the person in front of you," Hardwick said. "While I was walking, I heard a noise and took off running. I left my partner behind."
After spending three days in the wild, campgoers end their adventure with a competition, a cross between the Amazing Race and Survivor. Teams go head to head in activities like running, canoeing, archery and kayaking.
Schuyler Shuck, 14, said his favorite activity during the competition was the mudpie-eating contest.
"I had to put my face in this giant mud pie, but it was made out of chocolate pudding," Shuck said. "You had to find five gummy worms without using your hands and spit them out on a plate. By the end my face was covered in pudding."
Rehm said if there's one thing she learned from Camp Warrior it's that you shouldn't be scared to leave your comfort zone and try new experiences.
 "Don't be afraid to try new things and meet new people because it can always be a great experience," she said. "You never know what life has in store for you with those people. It doesn't just have to stop at camp. You can get their phone numbers and hang out with them because most of them live right here on post."
For more information on Camp Warrior call Fort Polk's Child, Youth and School Services at 531-1955. Children must be currently enrolled in grades six through 12 and registered with CYSS. Registration is held at CYSS Parent Central Services, bldg 400, Radio Road.
-Session I: June 19-22 Registration: May 21-June 8. A parent meeting is held from 5-6 p.m. on June 15 at the Siegfried Youth Center.
- Session II: July 24-27 Registration: June 1-15 for dependents of deployed service members and June 18 — July 13 for all other participants. A parent meeting is held from 5-6 p.m. on July 20 at the Siegfried Youth Center.