From the Youth
"I have been a camper at Growing Up Wild for the past 6 years. I was a counselor-in-training (CIT) this past summer. My experience as a CIT was unique and special. I give credit to the campers and the other counselors that were with me. It was a privilege to be given leadership to work with younger youth and show them different values and life skills. My overall experience helped me mature as a young man and gain a better understanding about myself and others. I hope and look forward to doing it again next summer!!"
"My interest to study environmental science in college began when I was a camper at Growing Up Wild."
-Federico, alumni camper and counselor now at Fresno State University
"When I first went to the Boys in the Woodz Summer Camp, it wasn't what I was expecting. It was a really big forest area. There were about 20 kids and most of them were older than me. We started with ice breakers, like saying our names and favorite food or hobby. Then we did some cool group activities. Then we ate. The food was really good and high-quality, they had accounted for allergies, and it was an outdoor buffet! I made a lot of new friends. People came from all over the place, so it was cool to meet a lot of new people. The one thing I didn't really enjoy was the ropes course, which was 60 feet above ground. I thought it was terrifying. But I did that safely and when I did the zipline at the end I was really grateful I had done it. Overall, it was a really great time and I wanted to stay another week."
"This summer I had a great time at boys in the woods. One of the things I enjoyed was laser tag because you got to run around in the woods. Another thing I enjoyed were the hikes to the big empty field at night. It was fun to play games under the stars. I also enjoyed the free time. It was really fun to get together with all the kids to play basketball or play on the trampoline. I think boys in the woods is fun and I want to go again."
"Just wanted to let you know that Elijah had such as great time at camp. It was a growing experience for him, uplifting and purposeful. Thank you."
"My two sons Tomas and Juan attended camp this summer. They had a blast, they really enjoyed all the activities. The really enjoyed being out with nature. They had fun and learned about nature at the same time. They can't wait for next summer to do it again."
"My son had so much fun at camp!!! They do a lot of cool activities with the kids, which I love most. Staff was friendly and communicated with me with any questions promptly through email. Overall, I definitely feel that this camp was a space for him to find his inner strength and build self confidence, which is what I was looking for. I will be bringing him back again next year."
“Hey there! Just wanted to thank you for having Tate at camp! he absolutely loved it! I'm so so grateful, he's had such a hard time and it was such a positive experience, he was asking me to sign him up for next year!
But I was wondering if you by chance happen to have any space for next week's camp? I think its Castle Rock right?
Ismael has been involved with one of my clients for 3 years on and off now through his Growing up Wild Program. The experiences supported by the program have been invaluable to my client. They provided him with a sense of adventure, safety, connection and confidence that are otherwise sorely lacking in his environment.
Ismael has always been eager to help, provide scholarships and communicate about my client's needs, challenges and strengths. He has shown a commitment to not give up and to find ways to encourage and engender success through esteem building solutions to problems.
As a result of these experiences, my client has a better sense of himself, a broader perspective on life and connection to experiences outside of his usual day-to-day life which, I am sure, will serve him well in the years to come.
I'm hopeful that my client can continue in the Growing up Wild program!
-Counselor from Child Mental Health Services