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.
18-year-old from Bronx, New York
Alexis, age 18, is a former Fresh Air child who visited the Reed Family in New Canaan, Connecticut for eight years. He stays in very close touch with the Reeds. Alexis says, “The Fresh Air Fund took me out of my New York City neighborhood and placed me in a larger world. My Fresh Air family taught me how important school is and where it can take you. I received a full scholarship to Middlebury College, and I am majoring in Biology and French. My ultimate goal is to become a doctor. My perspective on life and success has changed tremendously, and I think my host family has learned from me as well. There is no question that The Fresh Air Fund has been much more than just a place to go in the summer."
13-year-old from Queens, New York
13-year-old Celeste began her Fresh Air adventures at Camp Hidden Valley when she was 11 years old. After attending the co-ed camp for children with and without special needs, Celeste went to Camp Mariah for the first time last summer. “There’s not a lot to see and do in Queens, but at camp, there is so much more nature around us, and I love the stars,” she says. During the school year, Celeste meets with her tutor weekly and reflects on how much she has benefited from the program. “My school work is definitely improving. Since my parents do not speak English, they are not always able to help me. The best part of the program is that my tutor helps me and never judges me.”
14-year-old from Brooklyn, New York
Emily, age 14, is a student in The Fund’s Career Awareness Program, and she has participated in many job shadowings. Her favorite is the Con Edison chemistry event. “I always liked forensics and pathology and all that stuff, and one of the activities at the Con Edison event was dealing with pH, acids and bases. I asked the Con Ed volunteer why she studied forensics in college and how she got interested in chemistry. It was amazing to be able to discuss this subject with someone who does exactly what I would like to do in the future. It makes it all seem possible!”
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.”
13-year-old from Queens, New York
Tshetrim, age 13, lives with his family in Corona, Queens and emigrated from Bhutan when he was very young. His parents registered him for The Fund’s Career Awareness Program in the 7th grade, and he attended Camp Mariah.
“My goal for participating in tutoring was to get better grades, but the program actually ended up helping me build my confidence. My tutor helped me study for the Regents exams, and I passed with flying colors! When we have school presentations, I don’t get as nervous anymore, and I speak loudly. My tutor really changed my life.”