Our Teen Reach Adventure Camp program was launched this summer after a year of preparation and training for the program’s senior leadership. In July, we saw 18 teen girls and 23 teen boys attend two camps that focused on trust, team building and overcoming the obstacles of life. Our three-day camps employed a low ropes challenge course that builds to a culmination of teams that scale a wall and experience a zip line.
Teens are taught to positively respond to overcome these challenges as an allegory for challenges they face day-to-day. Each camp required the involvement of about 40 volunteers that include counselors, nurses, social workers, and challenge course facilitators. This year’s two camps cost about $18,000 to operate.
In September, we launched our second year of teen mentoring. Last year, we served 15 youth. This year, due to the connections at camp and the bonding that occurred during the weekend, we have 30 mentoring pairs.
A story about a camper this year: we had a young lady who was in the teen mentoring program this past school year, but her care givers were hesitant to have her go to camp, concerned that our staff was not equipped to handle her unique needs. After much discussion and convincing that our staff was well trained, we were able to address potential concerns and they allowed the teen to come. This camper turned out to be a positive role model for the weekend. She made up cheers and encouraged the other girls to join into discussions during meals, and maintained a positive attitude through some very hot days and challenging changes due to weather conditions. She was an amazing inspirational leader who made the camp experience one of the best that our volunteers have experienced!
Next year, we will be doubling our program size, because of the amazing financial grants we have received. Without your support we could not have launched this program that is a key to unlocking the nightmare of abuse and neglect in the lives of area foster teens.