As the youngest of three boys, Jared is used to sometimes living in the shadows of his older brothers. So when it came time to get ready for summer camp at CCAC, he was excited to get away and do his own thing. His mother, however, was a little apprehensive.

“We decided to register Jared for camp initially to give him a chance to be on his own without his two brothers around,” Gini said. “I was apprehensive, he has really struggled with dyslexia and some speech difficulties and has had a very hard time making friends and he has not wanted to participate in team activities or groups in the past.”

Both Jared (and his mom) found that camp did give him that chance to try new things, make new friends, and even become a leader for the younger campers. If you ask him about his favorite parts of camp, he’d tell you that he loved the overnights, and “helping the younger kids with all of their activities, especially the times when we were fishing, canoeing, or the zip line.” And they would agree that his new sense of responsibility will carry over into other aspects of his life at home and at school.

“He is eager to take on more challenges now. In general, he has been much more willing to try new things and has realized that it is ok to make a few mistakes as long as he is willing to learn from them,” says Gini.

Jared’s  self-confidence has grown so much that he cannot wait to come back to camp next summer and eventually become a counselor when he is older. And Gini will probably feel a little more at ease when it is time for him to go again.

“I would say to any parent who is considering sending their child to CCAC (or any YMCA camp) that they can  trust the counselors and staff at the camp to care for their child and that they should step back and watch their child as they learn and grow and make new friends and lots of memories.”

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