Nine Amazing Campers Share Their Experiences At Nine Incredible Camps

Summer 2017 saw JACF introduce three new associate camps, further adding to the high-quality portfolio of opportunities that we offer our campers. In this article, we hear directly from nine campers who each attended one of these nine incredible camps. They share their impressions of the impact that their camp had upon them this summer, as well as the challenges they faced and overcame.

#1: Keyla G |Ogichi Daa Kwe

Keyla is 13 years old and lives in Chicago, IL. 2017 was Kayla’s first summer as a JACF camper and she spent it on the shores of Rainy Lake, MN at Ogichi Daa Kwe.

“The biggest challenge I faced at camp was going to Canada for 10 days. I was scared at first but then a couple days past and I realized how pure and beautiful nature can be. I felt so accomplished for doing something so incredible.”

“Being without my parents made a huge impact (on me this summer). I did get a little homesick but after that past, I felt so proud. I felt so independent and accomplished. I felt like I can do things on my own and be happy with the result. Before camp, I would stay alone in my room but now I spend more time with my family. I now talk and communicate with my family more. I feel like I have become more positive and outgoing.”

#2: Paula C | Clearwater Camp For Girls

Paula is 11 years old and lives in Naperville, IL. 2017 was Paula’s 1st summer as a JACF camper and she spent it at Clearwater Camp for Girls in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

The biggest challenge for me was having to try new things. I handled this by being brave and making sure I tried everything.”

“Being in nature for a long time (had the greatest impact on me) because I’m just not used to it. When I came back home I felt more independent which was nice. I think this had the most impact on me because before camp I wasn’t really independent before.”

#3: Isabel A | Cheley Colorado Camps

Isabel is 15 years old and lives in Chicago, IL. Isabel returned to Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park, CO for the 3rd time this summer.

“The biggest challenge I faced at camp was being able to come to a true understanding of myself. While at camp, I came to a conclusion that I wanted to live every day in the moment and spend all of those moments with my friends because I needed to spend quality time with them. I wanted to be present and realize how I could take my camp experience and make my home life better for myself and those around me. Most importantly, I wanted to be able to impact the people around me the way that camp impacted me, and I believe that many of my friends saw that because a lot of them commented on how I was not afraid to be myself, and that makes all the difference.”

“What impacted me the most this summer, was realizing how much of a team player I was. I was in the riflery competition for my cam this year, and the girls’ team won against the guys’ team, which made me very proud. Mainly, because of how proud I was f my teammates and how we were able to come together and instill confidence within one another in order to achieve our goal.”

#4: Savian J | Colvig Silver Camps

“I think the most challenging part of this year at camp was not a specific moment but more of the whole course of camp in general. This year at camp, many of my closest and dearest friends from camp didn’t come for different reasons and it was hard for me to accept their absence and move on. I handled this struggle by focusing on the present, and making new wonderful friends that I will always remember.”

“I think the absence of familiar face impacted me the most because it opened my eyes to real change. From what I have experienced, the older you get, the more and more change you encounter, for the better or the worse. This year at camp, I learned that in life, change is constant no matter who you are so the best thing you can do is accept it, move forward, and enjoy the moment you are living in because the past is concrete and the future has infinite possibilities.”

Savian is 15 years old and lives in Colorado Springs, CO. Savian returned for his 5th summer as a JACF camper at Colvig Silver Camps on the outskirts of the San Juan National Forest, CO.

#5: E’Mari W | Camp Kawanhee For Boys

E’Mari is 10 years old and lives in Roxbury, MA. E’Mari was a 1st summer camper in 2017, spending part of his summer at Camp Kawanhee for Boys in Weld. ME.

“My cabin they showed how much fun it can be without electricity. With friends, you do not need TV.”

“Being at camp I learned what a true friend is by the way that they treat you. I learned that you do not always need an adult to help you, you can learn to do things yourself. Camp has made me want to discover and learn new thing and be curious. I now believe that anything is possible if I put my mind to it.”

#6: Barron T  | Kooch-I-Ching

At 11 years of age, Barron may be a young man of few words, but his 1st summer as a JACF camper saw him blossom at Kooch-I-Ching on Deer Island, International Falls, MN. Barron lives in Hastings, NE.

“The 7-day canoe trip was challenging. I was scared and nervous to go. There were things that weren’t comfortable like sleeping 6 campers in a tent but we did it and it was awesome.”

“The brotherhood at Camp Kooch (made the most impact on me)! I made good friends that became my family.”

 #7: Alayna M | Sanborn Western Camps

“The biggest challenge I had this summer was learning how to fit in better and to socialize more. What I mean by that is I’m a quiet girl and most people like to state their thoughts and opinions, but it’s often hard for me to know how to do that. The girls I met at camp helped me through that and would often encourage me to speak my mind and to involve myself in every single conversation. This helped me become friends with all of them and I am now better friends with girls I’ve known for 2 months than girls I’ve been friends with since Kindergarten because they helped me through so many challenges that had been troubling me for years.”

“What made the most impact on me at camp was how hard the girls there work to be friends with you, as well as how exposed you are to people there. Since you’re living with these people for a month, they discover your habits, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. As an introverted person, I don’t even share these things with my family members. However, the girls at camp were all so patient with me and so much more willing to wait for me to open up than ANYbody else that I know. Because of their patience with me, I learned that they could be trusted with facts about me that I would never tell anyone from my school (because those kids don’t have the patience with me that camp has). So, the trusting, caring personalities of the girls at camp were what made the biggest impact on me, and what made them all such better friends than anyone I’d ever met from home.”

Alayna lives in Palmer Lake, CO and is 13 years old. 2017 was her 2nd summer as a camper at Sanborn Westerns Camps’ High Trails nestled in the shadow of Pikes Peak, CO.

#8: Sydney O | Camp Thunderbird

Sydney is a 7th-grade student at Reach Prep in Stamford, CT. This summer she returned to the shores of Lake Plantagenet in Bemidji, MN to attend Camp Thunderbird.

“The biggest challenge I faced was going on my biking trip. We would be biking for a really long time and that scared me a little, but I went on the trip with confidence and I did really well.”

“The biking trip also had a big impact on me this summer because it was the first thing that really made me push myself over obstacles and complete something that was really really difficult.”

#9: Gracie S | Friendly Pines Camp

Gracie is 12 years old and lives in Phoenix, AZ. 2017 was Gracie’s first summer as a JACF camper and she spent it at Friendly Pines Camp in Arizona.

“The biggest challenge was being away from the family for 2 weeks. Once I got more comfortable I had a blast.”

“Being away from m parents and learning to be more independent made the most impact on me. I was able to make more of my own decisions and learn to do things on my own.”

Read more about the IMPACT of camp and the OUTCOMES we measure here.

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