Earlier in August, our dedicated teams planned two trips to camp kern for our young people participating in independent living. The young men enjoyed a couple days at camp followed by the young women. Camp Kern counselors helped oversee activities while our staff planned other fun stuff!
All of this made possible with your donations!
Camp with our young adults starts with hesitancy. There is NO WAY around this for our first time campers, “You want to take me where….to do what?” Nature can be intimidating; the description of high ropes courses and horseback riding is new and sometimes scary. By day 2, the young people are planning their return trip!
What happens from early morning check in to the end of the trip can be described as magical – but it truly is the intentional investment our team makes in getting to know our young adults. This year our counselors on both trips were super locked in with getting to know our youth. The boy’s counselor really wanted to know each of the young men and their story. The girl’s counselor was so compassionate and fun, giving them space and permission to be silly and young.
While at camp, our team looks out for the opportunities to build up our young people. There is definitely a growth mindset on the CHOICES camp trips! The ropes courses and other activities give us a different path we can use to help encourage youth to overcome whatever obstacles they may face. The boys took a lot of time on relationship building during activities and break time.
A surprising twist in our girl’s trip is that a returning camper took it upon herself to lead the girls and build them up just like our staff would. She came in ready for fun! She shared that she had the dates on her calendar and had been looking forward to it all summer, almost like how you would look forward to “family vacation”. If she sensed another camper was hesitant, she stepped right in to talk to them and share her own experiences from the past about how she faced her fears. It was a super amazing thing to watch.
Camp is also about fun and games – and most of all just allowing our kids to be kids. There was a moment during the boy’s trip all the young men were swinging on a swing set – no one was talking or goofing off, they were just taking it all in. It reminds us that while we prepare our young adults for independence, it is still important to let them be kids too.
We would like to thank everyone who has donated to make these moments possible. Especially Big Smiles Dayton for seeing the value that Camp attendance can bring to the success of our young people. You helped create all the fun and memory making.
All good things must end, but our attendees started group texts to stay in touch and encourage each other in the upcoming months. Camp may only be 2 days, but the impact is forever.