Kids face incredible challenges every day. For some of us, it's difficult to imagine the intensity of these issues. The preteen and teenage years are so vitally important for young people as they begin to develop their identity and find their way in the world. Yet is is also the time when they face their biggest battles.
Every week at Camp Walter Johnson is different. There are camps for various age groups and backgrounds. Some weeks are gender-specific and include programming unique to the challenges that are faced by young boys and girls.
During a girls camp last year, the staff asked "What is your battle?"
The responses ranged from hilarious to heartbreaking. They illustrated the many different stories that are represented at camp every week and how important it is for our staff to interact with the campers in caring and compassionate ways. We make sure our camp counselors understand this and always insist they remember that the backgrounds of the kids for whom they are responsible are diverse and challenging: we dont' know what they're going back to. We want them to have the best week of their lives!
At the end of the week, the girls were able to write again. This time, they wrote about what had changed in the past week. They wrote from a place of hope — a place of understanding that they are not alone. They have a creator who loves them and friends to whom they can turn when things seem overwhelming.
Camp is about more than just having fun away from home. It's about more than getting into the outdoors.
It's about relationships.
It's about hope.
It's about life.