When the school year ends and summertime begins, our program coordinators and children’s advocates do a great deal of planning to create a schedule for each of our young residents to attend camps throughout the community. The Leadership Training Camp, offered through the YMCA, is a favorite among our teen residents and provides an opportunity for growth and independence.
At the age of 16, Mia is a quiet young lady who approaches new situations with caution, but is willing to participate in new experiences. When given the opportunity to attend Leadership Camp, Mia found herself intrigued about the three weeks of fun and learning that camp offered which included two weeks of daily camp activities and one week of overnight camp.
During the third week of camp when our Children’s Caseworker, Lyn, arrived for pick up she found Mia hot and with band-aids on both legs, but when she climbed into the van she was laughing and waving goodbye to all her friends. On the way back to The Inn Mia happily shared what she had been doing the past two and half weeks. This quiet youth shared stories about her adventures learning to canoe and zip line. She had even conquered the rock wall! Swimming is a daily activity providing a time to cool off and was clearly a much anticipated part of each day.
The second week was the overnight portion of the camp where the teens participated in team building activities and developed leadership skills. Mia found that she really enjoyed her fellow campers and made some really good friends while laughing and sharing stories late into the night.
During the last week of Leadership Camp, Mia is a CIT (Counselor In Training) where she is shadowing counselors and learning how to instruct the younger kids in all the skills she has just learned. She laughed as she explained that being so short, she wasn’t able to reach a part of the zip line, so she got good at doing the straps. The band aids on her legs were from the canoes as she “rescued” some of the younger campers who got stuck. Mia shared that others have complemented her on how good she is with the younger children and that she now aspires to work at the camp next summer.
The enthusiasm heard in the voice of this typically quiet teen as she shared her camp stories brings joy to our hearts. Mia radiated confidence as she talked about her experiences and the wonderful new friends she has made.
Summertime can be chaotic at The Inn as we work to help our young residents stay busy with fun and educational activities, but listening to Mia as she talked about all that she has learned and experienced makes the hours of preparation worth every minute.