I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to parents who had just come from Nigeria at the time. Starting at a young age, I have always had dreams. But I never had a concrete idea as to how to go about reaching those goals. Then at the ripe age of 11 years old, my parents were told of a summer camp opportunity that I could be apart of, with the Fresh Air Fund, that could help me do something different with my summers. I was the first member of my family to attend any kind of summer camp experience so it was completely new to me. And I was very willing to participate.
The Fresh Air Fund provided me, as a young man of color, with a platform to build off of, showing me that there is more to the world outside my home and my neighborhood. This idea was instilled in me from being a camper and growing into a camp staff member. And although it still took me well into my college years to have an idea of what I wanted to do, I did know that I wanted to help young people, just like the Fresh Air Fund and its staff helped me.
So I guess you can say that the Fresh Air Fund inspired me when I was younger and continue to do so today. And you all, as supporters of SCOPE also serve a big part with kids today who are just like me as a kid. By providing them the opportunity to leave their normal surroundings and grow, in unique ways as individuals, you all cannot be thanked enough. And having worked with the campers you all sponsor and allow to go to camp, I see and know firsthand the impact camp has on them. You should know how vital a role you have played and continue to play in the lives of these young people. What all of you do can very possibly influence their outlook and their future. The same way going to camp has done for me. Thank you for being an integral part of the camp community and continuing to support our young people. Thank you.
Mustapha, Fresh Air Fund Camp