The Camp Wood YMCA Experience: A Teen's Perspective

"Rainbow" (Tyce) gets a lift from some campers this summer.

"Rainbow" (Tyce) gets a lift from some campers this summer.

Meet Tyce, otherwise known by campers as Rainbow (such colorful hair!). Tyce was 17 years-old this last summer and served as a Volunteer, but he has been attending Camp Wood YMCA each summer for the past 8 years. We asked him to share how camp has had an impact on the teenager and leader he is today.

When I first came to Camp Wood I was nine years old. I had never heard of Camp Wood before and I had never been to any camp at all. My first time going to camp, I was really nervous and shy inside and outside of camp. But after a few days of my first week at camp, I began to come out of my shell and I soon realized camp was a place that I could be myself without being judged.

A little less than a year later, I realized that being able to go back to camp was an option and it was the best news ever. Growing up being lucky enough to go to camp was amazing. Being a camper at Camp Wood has been a life-changing experience. The friendships that I have made and the lessons that I have learned at camp will stay with me for the rest of my life. Camp is the only place on earth that I know where I feel more at home than my actual home. I love camp more than anybody that I know. Camp Wood is so important to me, and my life would not be anywhere near the same without it.

Making sure each camper feels welcomed and comfortable at camp is important to long-time camper and current Volunteer, Tyce (known by campers as "Rainbow").

Making sure each camper feels welcomed and comfortable at camp is important to long-time camper and current Volunteer, Tyce (known by campers as "Rainbow").

The reason I kept coming back to camp as a kid was because I always felt like I was safe to be who I really am and not be judged for it. But the reason I keep coming back now as a staff and a volunteer is completely different. The reason I come back now is so that I can make sure that all the kids at camp have as good of a camp experience as I had, if not better. When I see the kids smile and hear them laugh it’s the best feeling in the world and it makes everything I do even better. The reason I keep coming back is for the kids.

Thanks for sharing your story, Tyce! Having a place to belong is so important for teens. We love that Tyce’s Camp Wood YMCA experience helped him feel comfortable and confident enough to discover the joy of serving others. We also love that he set a personal goal to give incoming campers a similarly empowering experience at camp.

If you’re looking for a fun, caring environment for your teen to build confidence, make new friends and discover their talents, consider our Teen Adventure Weekend from Feb. 17-19. For just $95, it’s a great way to try camp for the first time or give your returning teen camper a boost in confidence this spring. Learn more and register today.