Our day camps are always about connecting. This year our 12 and older youth visited the YMCA camp at Horsethief Reservoir. From the start, Y staff started them out with games made for becoming team players. The two high ropes challenge courses were compelling. In the words of one mentor, “the special connection of mentors and their mentees encouraging one another to get past their own barriers, to believe in themselves, building the confidence that no matter what they had each others backs, and the entire Mentoring Network team support was and will be life changing for these kids.” To watch teens step up and encourage one another, heartening those who were afraid and ready to quit, and then them go further and do more than what natural fears normally would have ever allowed was heartwarming.
At the end of the day, the Y guide had them reflect on how their life is like the high ropes challenge course with fears, assumptions, and apprehensions. He asked them what it took for them to get through the challenge elements. They mentioned activities that allowed them to get to know one another and feeling supported and encouraged by a team of people. He had them reflect on who in their lives do they trust, who gives them encouragement, courage, who believes in them, who listens to them, and who cares about how they are doing. Some shared a grandparent or parent, but most said “My mentor.” Thank you to the Kubiak family for making this trip possible, to TVT for providing transportation, and to the wonderful volunteers...both mentors and those from the YMCA, for their guidance and constant encouragement of our youth.