The morning started like most others, but delegates were both anxious and excited about the day ahead. The previous night, the delegates chose where to go for their first overnight camping trip, referred to as an overnighter, and received backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, and informational talks about basic skills needed for their trip.

Today the delegates of the 55th National Youth Science Camp have returned from this first overnighter. The delegates had the options of hiking scenic West Virginia trails, caving, climbing, or searching for fossils.

William Mossbrook, from South Carolina, had been camping before attending the National Youth Science Camp. Mossbrook shared his experience from hiking Red Creek Trail, “It was equal parts challenging and fun. It was a great opportunity to get to know people in a more intimate setting, and that I was able to bond with the other delegates on the hike.”

The overnighters challenge the delegates both mentally and physically. For most of the delegates, this is the first time that they had the opportunity to hike, sleep, and cook outdoors.

Safal Dumre, from Kentucky, went backpacking on Rocky Point. Dumre said, “It is called Rocky Point for a reason, and was definitely challenging; but the view was worth it.” Dumre continued, “It stormed really badly the first day and we had to work as a team to help each other through the mud and rain. I am definitely sore today, but it was worth the experience.”

A more extended photo gallery can be found here.