Olivia went to the pool next to her house, saw how much fun everyone was having, and she jumped in.

“Cannon ball!’’ she shouted as she jumped into the pool.

But as soon as she touched the water, she couldn’t figure out what to do. She’d seen how much fun everyone else was having and wasn’t thinking about what she was doing when she jumped in. Luckily, she jumped in the shallow end of the pool, so she didn’t drown. But she got so embarrassed that she ran all the way back to her home.

‘’Why don’t I know how swim?’’ she complained to her mom. “I mean, all my friends know how to, how come I don’t?’’

‘’Well,’’ her mother said, ‘’you didn’t learn how to when you were young because you hated water.’’

“Well, why did I hate water?’’

“Your father used to put pictures of sharks on the television. Your older brother, Noah, loved sharks, so he had a 3D picture of a shark in his room, and it was right next to your bed. So I guess the poster scared you because whenever we went to the beach, you would always stay at least five feet away from the ocean.”

I can’t believe that I was scared of water, Oliva thought.

After a few minutes, she ran up to her room and sat on her bed, just thinking about what she just heard. She stayed like that until the next day, which was Thursday, her favorite day, because she got to hang out with her old friends. But she didn’t want to go. She wanted to learn, but who could she learn from? Then she recalled her mom saying there was a sports sleep-away camp for 10 year olds. It was called something like The Sporting Camp.

So Olivia started packing, but then she recalled something else. She had never been to a sleepaway camp before. So she felt really nervous. She was thinking about what it was going to be like without her parents. She always relied on her parents. But now she was going to be on her own, and she had to be independent. So she went on a walk, and then she blurted out to a random stranger, an older kid who looked like she was in high school, about how she was feeling all emotional. Then, the older girl with dyed black hair and black clothing, started laughing at Olivia because she hadn’t been to a sleepaway camp, and she didn’t know how to swim. Then, she started crying and ran back to her home.

Her mom found her sitting on the bed, crying. Her mom tried to console her by saying, “Who cares what  that person says?”

Olivia replied, “But I still don’t know how to swim!”

Her mom said, “Who cares if you don’t know how to swim?”

Her mom went back to the kitchen, and Olivia felt a little bit better. She kept thinking about what her mom said to her, and then she finally thought that she was too self conscious and needed to be more confident. She went to the camp anyway because she wanted to learn how to swim. Not because other people thought she was weird, but because she wanted to know how to swim.


Olivia got off the bus. Then she saw the scenery in the camp. It was really nice because it was in the countryside. Behind the camp, there was a forest. If you stood really high, you could see the mountains. So she got her luggage, and she waited to find out which cabin she would be going to. When she heard her name, she went to the cabin and was feeling a little homesick already. She saw some new kids, and she tried to say “hi” to them, but she was too shy. Fortunately, the kids were not that mean to her, and she made some new friends: four nice girls who were all in her cabin, except for one. It was all of their first times at sleepaway camp, and they lived around the same area as her. Even though she was a really bad swimmer, her friends still liked her.  She learned that day that she could rely on her friends.  

The next day, Olivia went to the lake. When no one was looking, she tried to swim. But then the lifeguard spotted her, thought she was drowning, and he dived into the lake. He brought her out onto the grass. Now everyone knew that she couldn’t swim. As soon as she got onto the grass, she ran back to her cabin because she was so embarrassed. Then she hid under her bed and cried until lunchtime. By then, she felt less emotional, and by then, everybody forgot about the incident.

So she went to her friends, hoping that they would still hang out with her. When she got to the table, her friends didn’t laugh or point, in fact, they even told her to go their table and eat with them.

“You still want to be my friend?”

“Of course!” they said. “Why wouldn’t we?”

“Well,” Olivia replied. “Because of what happened today. When I almost drowned in the water.”

“We would always want to be your friend. Unless you betray us,” said one of the girls from the other table.

“Yeah right, like I’ll ever betray my friends.”

After that, it was time for some other sports. First she played some soccer, then some archery, then basketball, then baseball, then kickball, until she got tired. By then it was bedtime. She was too tired to even eat dinner, so she just went to bed, planning to go swimming the next day.

When she woke up, she was in a good mood, but the moment she looked outside the window, her smile turned upside down. They closed the pool because it started raining.

“WHY DOES IT HAVE TO RAIN TODAY!!!” she screamed and shouted.

Then she started screaming into her pillow so no one would hear her. For the rest of the day, she was so miserable that she didn’t want to play kickball or baseball or soccer or volleyball or football or hockey or any other sport. In fact, she didn’t even want to get out of her cabin at one point. All I wanted to do was swim, but it had to rain, she thought. When it was time for bed, she hoped she would feel a little bit better, but the next day didn’t get any better. Because of the rain from the day before, the pool flooded, and no one was allowed to swim.

“AGAIN!!!” Olivia shouted with anger. “When will I ever learn how to swim?! If I don’t learn how to swim tomorrow, I am going back home to Connecticut!”

Then she started looking at a picture of her and her dad. Olivia was holding a fish, and her dad was holding the rod, and in the background, there was a canoe in the water. And she thought, when are you going to come back, Dad?

After that, she went to the cafeteria to have some breakfast. Maybe my friends might help me calm down, like my old therapist. Wait! she thought, I recall bringing my diary to camp. I can just write in that! But first, I will talk to my friends, she thought.

Then she quickly ran, without spilling any of her food, to the table that her friends were eating at. And then blurted out, “Why can’t I swim?! Yesterday I couldn’t swim because it rained. Today I couldn’t swim because the pool flooded. WHEN WILL I SWIM?!!!”

All her friends just stared at her, and so did everyone else. And then Olivia started crying and ran back to her cabin. Her friends followed her. One of her friends, named Samantha, tried to calm Olivia down.

“Take deep breaths,” Samantha said to Olivia.

“Thanks,” Olivia replied.

Then Olivia told her friends everything, about why she wanted to swim and why she was feeling all emotional. That night, when she went to bed, she thought about her dad. That same night, it started to rain even more, so when Olivia woke up, the whole camp was flooded. But when she woke up, everybody had evacuated and were on buses. She was stuck in a flood, by herself, not knowing how to swim.

Luckily, Samantha spotted her in the cabin while she was on the bus. “Look everyone! Olivia is trapped in her cabin. We’ve got to help her!” Samantha shouted. “Olivia! Try to swim!”  

“I can’t,” Olivia said. “I don’t know how to!”

“Here! I will help you!” Samantha shouted.

So Olivia tried to swim.

“I am doing it!” Olivia shouted.

“Good job!” Samantha cheered.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I’m drowning!” Olivia screamed.

“Don’t worry I will save you!” Samantha shouted.

So Samantha jumped into the water and rescued Olivia.

“Thank you so much! Not only am I saved, but I am even more encouraged to learn how to swim. And I don’t care what people think about me. I want to do what I want.”

When Olivia got back to her home, she told her mom about what happened at camp. Her mom told her that someone new was moving next to her house. It was Samantha. Olivia and Samantha became best friends, and Samantha taught Olivia how to swim.


The End


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