April 25th, 2012

For many of us going to camp was an exciting adventure where we got to meet new people, and experience new things. It’s a place where we grew and made memories. But for many youth in West Michigan, camp is a luxury and families cannot afford to send their children to camp. Their summers are spent at home within the confines of their city block where there is little access to enrichment opportunities, nature, healthy food, and the attention of caring role-models.

Billy’s story is a new beginning and the start of a journey that will continue to provide him the confidence to lead and succeed in life. Shy and awkward he came to camp last year for the first time ever. The staff could tell he lacked confidence, exhibited low self-esteem and had a hard time making new friends. His cabin counselors encouraged him to sing in the talent show, try the high ropes, and provided him with opportunities to lead his cabin group. Billy experienced the high ropes and loved it! He sang a solo, and even led camp songs during meals with the staff. He helped dissolve a bullying situation in his cabin with his new found self-confidence. After his first week, he begged us to come back again for another session. We couldn’t say no and had him back again the next week.

At the end of camp season, Billy wrote us saying, “Thank you for letting me come to camp again, it was awesome! I met some new people, made some new friends, and I hope I can go back!”

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