By Abby Hofrichter, Communications & Social Media Coordinator, Hofrichter Creative LLC and Wendy Berkshire, Camp Director, Camp Mariposa
Instead of “Pomp and Circumstance,” Camp Mariposa’s Camp II campers graduated to the sounds of snapping fingers, teary sniffles, and laughter on a Saturday evening in October. Campers and mentors gathered in a circle to give the three graduating campers snaps for their growth and the roles that they’ve played at camp.
By the time we reach the holidays, East End Community Services will have graduated all of its original campers (or “OC’s” as we like to call them) from its Camp I and II sessions. These campers, now 13-years-old and ready to grow into our Teen Camp, are the perfect example of what it means to be uplifted and more importantly, what it means to uplift others in your community.
Some might find it hard to believe that these confident, kind, funny, and empathic kids were ever shy and reserved, but that is exactly what makes this season of celebration so special to Camp Director, Wendy Berkshire, the adult camp mentors, and the program itself.
When this class of campers arrived at their first session four years ago, it was also East End’s first camp. Many arrived unsure of what to expect and all of them arrived carrying their own stories of familial addiction. Over many fun weekends at camp, virtual “campfire” sessions, and group outings, each child has gone through their own butterfly process. (Mariposa means “butterfly” in Spanish.)
They’ve gained emotional awareness and intelligence, confidence, and lasting friendships. In the “Snap Circle,” the three graduating Camp II campers were thanked and praised by both their peers and mentors for their natural leadership skills, hilarious senses of humor, kindness to others, and strength.
There is no question that these “OC’s” have transformed personally, have begun transforming the lives of their friends and peers, and are ready to continue doing both at Teen Camp and beyond! We even heard a few say that they want to be Junior Counselors one day! Talk about uplifting!