Honor Student Learns The Ropes At Summer Camp

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Lauren Bartoli will be the first to admit she's not everyone's version of an accomplished athlete.

As a sophomore honor student at Payson High School, she's more focused on maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, solving quadratic equations and contributing to the good of the school atmosphere than earning postseason athletic honors.

Little did Lauren know that last summer, when she traveled to Prescott to participate in "Camp CEO," the curriculum was going to put her athletic skills to the test along with her leadership abilities.

The physical part of the Girl Scout-sponsored camp came each weekday afternoon.

The athletics centered around training on what camp counselors deemed simply as "ropes."

Lauren and the 29 other Girl Scouts who had qualified for the rigorous camp, were required to work out on ropes that had been strung among the pine trees dotting the Willow Springs camp.

To make sure the girls were prepared for the activities, the campers were required to have a physical examination before participating.

In addition to not-so-simple tasks of climbing ropes, the girls walked tight-rope and scaled from tree to tree on webbings.

Also, they used ropes as tools to climb walls and other man-made obstacles.

Although the girls were fitted with harnesses to prevent injuries from falls, Lauren said the events were as much a test of mental strength as physical because the girls had to overcome their fears.

The rope challenges, she added, were probably included in the camp curriculum because they were great ways to teach the campers the values of teamwork.

"We had to depend on each other a lot," she said. "That was something we learned on the first day."

Although the physical aspects of the camp came as a surprise to Lauren and the other campers, the Payson teen is happy the ropes were included.

"It gave us a chance to get out and do things after sitting all morning," she said.

Before each afternoon's physical training, the campers participated in four-hour morning sessions designed to teach the girls how to prepare for leadership in the business world. Camp instructors included women who had made a name for themselves as entrepreneurs.

"All the women owned their own businesses or were CEOs. It was pretty interesting," Lauren said.

Another focus of the morning curriculum, which was sponsored by Arizona Public Service, was on financial affairs.

"We learned how to get start-up loans and how to use credit cards ... lots of life skills," Lauren said.

In addition to the leadership and athletic training Lauren received at camp, she made several new friends.

"Most all of the girls were from Phoenix and Tucson, one was from Wisconsin, and I got to know most of them," she said. "If I hadn't of gone (to the camp), I probably would have never met them."

Before she was admitted to the camp, Lauren had to submit a resume, academic records and letters of recommendation.

Although the application process and the five days of camp often tested her mettle, she said she's glad she participated and is looking forward to future leadership camps.

"I even hope they include the ropes," she said. "Now that (camp) is over, I realize it was fun and good for all of us."

In addition to being an honor student at PHS, a longtime Girl Scout and active member of Future Business Leaders of America, Lauren is an assistant youth leader at Mt. Cross Lutheran Church

Deja vu all over again

The Class 3A state volleyball tournament championship match turned into an almost exact replay of the Payson Invitational finals held Sept. 8 in Wilson Dome.

Both championship matches pitted Fountain Hills against Ganado.

In the Payson finale, Ganado defeated FH 2-1 for the invitational crown.

On Saturday in the state championship match played in Phoenix, the Hornet's whipped FH 15-9 and 15-13 to run their unbeaten streak to 45-0. That mark represents the longest winning streak in the state.

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