Kayla began her time at Jameson Camp as an abused, angry 6th grader who struggled with listening to authority and was unable to interact well with her peers. Because of the abuse she faced at home, Kayla was unable to focus at school and often felt left out from different social groups.
Soon after being removed from her unsafe home, however, Kayla was welcomed with open arms into the Jameson Camp family. She soon began to learn how to better interact with not only her peers, but camp staff as well. “When you’re around adults that respect you and you respect them, it’s very different than what I dealt with at home,” Kayla shared, adding that the super positive environment of camp felt like a whole new world.
“The most uplifting part of camp was the Youth Leadership program,” says Kayla. In this year-round program at Jameson, teens participate in leadership workshops, backpacking trips, event planning, and community service. “Helping and working with different types of people from various backgrounds put so much perspective into my life,” Kayla says, “I realized I was not the only one in a rough situation, which influenced me to stop isolating myself and instead open up my heart to my family and community.”
Kayla has inspired us by quickly applying what she learned from Youth Leadership and community service to the real world. “I took the leadership skills I developed at camp to become president of Best Buddies as a junior [in high school]. I also used these skills to create two new clubs at my school,” Kayla shared.
Next year, Kayla will attend Marian University to study psychology, a field that caught her interest because of our many summer staff members with psychology backgrounds. She credits our staff at Jameson for encouraging her to reach beyond what she believed she could handle and apply to Marian in the first place.
Kayla knew she would need substantial financial aid to afford to attend Marian. Because of years of hard work and perseverance, she received many distinctive scholarships, allowing her to attend the private school of her dreams with a full ride.
Kayla has come a long way from the angry, abused, and closed off young camper she was when she first came to Jameson Camp. And we’re so proud that she’s finding her way and that Youth Leadership helped to get her there.
Located in the Midwest, Jameson Camp is one of SCOPE’s partner camps across the country. Thank you to Jameson for sharing this story with us.