Hairstylist Janice receives lots of tips from her clients, but one day she got a tip that was more valuable than cash. A client shared a tip about the YMCA that would change her family’s life. The client told her, “The Y offers scholarships. You should check it out.”

The timing couldn’t have been better for Janice. Her eleven-year-old daughter, Ciara, was having a difficult time at school. Other kids made fun of her and she didn’t feel like she fit in anywhere. A group of girls began bullying her. Ciara became lonely and sad and her grades began to suffer.

Studies show that 15 percent of kids ages five to sixteen are bullied repeatedly. The damage inflicted on these kids leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness and negative behavior and impacts their ability to feel safe in the world. But extracurricular activities like summer camp yield tremendous benefits for children. Campers meet new friends and interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax and reflect, making them feel safe, special and accepted. Campers experience growth in problem-solving, persistence, self-reliance and most importantly, self-confidence.

Janice knew Ciara would benefit from extracurricular activities but didn’t know how she could afford it. With no child support from dad, just covering the necessities like rent and groceries for Ciara and her brother, Kyle, took a lot of haircuts and a lot of long hours. A luxury like summer camp seemed way out of reach.

“When the Y offered a scholarships for Ciara to go to Raintree Ranch, I was overjoyed!” says Janice. Ciara has always LOVED horses, but other than a pony ride at the fair, she had never ridden one. Her week at Overnight Camp’s Raintree Ranch changed her life. “Being with the horses was so therapeutic for her,” says mom, “She made lots of friends and she absolutely loved the camp staff. She got more out of the experience than you will ever know.”

“Camp was so fun! We tie-dyed pillowcases to take home and made homemade ice cream! The very best part was taking care of the horses, Olive and Cherry. One day we all had to get up at 5:00 am to feed them hay!” says Ciara.

Now twelve, Ciara’s grades have improved and she is getting along so much better in school – changes that mom credits to her time at camp, “I am so grateful for the scholarship the Y provided us. Going to camp has renewed Ciara’s confidence and self-worth.”

Won’t you consider making a donation today so that more kids like Ciara can have a camp experience?

Carol Le Beau
Carol Le Beau

2016 Honorary Chair