20-year-old from Brooklyn, New York
Adam, age 20, is a counselor at Camp Tommy and a former Fresh Air camper. “My mom signed me up for camp to make new friends and try something different, and I really enjoyed it,” he says. “I always felt that if you were a camper, you could become a counselor by working your way up.” Adam was inspired by his own counselors who were his childhood role models. “Being a camper gave me a strong skills base and insight. I know how to set the mood for activities, even if it’s quiet reflection. The day my campers won the water carnival was incredible. Our team felt discouraged, because they couldn’t swim, but with support, they got the bonus points and ended up winning. A terrific day for us all!” Adam is attending trade school in telecommunications. He feels that being a Camp Tommy counselor stays with him during the academic year to motivate him to reach for the stars and achieve his personal goals.
11-year-old from Staten Island, New York
Ashley, age 11, a camper at Camp Anita Bliss Coler, enjoys swimming in the lake, drama class and making new friends. She says, “The noises at camp and the noises on Staten Island are very different. Staten Island has car horns blasting and people making noise. At camp, the only sounds are the bugs and the wind in the trees.” Over the past three years, she has learned other valuable lessons and skills, like how to be brave, sing in front of other people and catch bugs. Ashley says that thanks to her Fresh Air experience, she has become more confident and sure of herself.
15-year-old from Brooklyn, New York
Before 15-year-old Isaiah from Brooklyn attended Camp Tommy, his favorite activity was playing video games. Now he has discovered a fun alternative, and he loves to swim. “I just got promoted in swimming from a red band and moved up to a blue band. That means I can swim inside the deeper parts of the lake,” he says. Camp Tommy offers hiking, nature and a wide range of outdoor programs that are designed to develop cooperation and encourage team building. “I’ve learned many new skills like how to manage my time more efficiently, how to be mature and what it means to take responsibility for my actions.”
8-year-old from Brooklyn, New York
Jensey, called JJ, age 8, enjoyed Camp Hidden Valley for his first summer. He says, “I didn’t know how to swim before camp and now I am learning. My counselor Sam taught me how to swim, and it’s my favorite activity.” But swimming isn’t the only lesson learned from his counselor and role model. “Sam cheers me up when I am sad, and when we go to our cabin, we play chess. We always have fun!” JJ already knows what he wants to be when he grows up. He says, “I want to be a policeman so I can help people and make the world a better place.”