What Kids Say About In-Person Camp Jump Start
At this summer camp I have learned things that could indeed save my life. I’ve learned not only about food and exercise but also many life lessons that will help me in the future. Life isn’t always fair—I already knew that—-now I’ve learned not just to deal with my problems but how to do so in a successful way. I have made so many friends here, all of them with an interesting back story. Some have a great home, others have barely a home, but here there is a home for all of us at Camp Jump Start.
My father’s been in the Army for all of my life. I am 14 years old and we have moved 10 times. I love my family and I’ve adapted to the Army lifestyle of always coming and going. This summer we moved again and I have not yet seen my new house because I was dropped off at camp. This camp was a blessing for me and my family. I have a place where I can be happy and healthy while my family moves. After eight weeks my new house will be settled in and the stress of moving will be reduced for everybody. I have made friends here at camp that will live close to my new house. I won’t have to come home thinking that I have no friends in my new place because now I do. I have made some amazing friends here. I hope I can meet more.
Lots of people will say that one summer can’t do much but they have never been to Camp Jump Start. They haven’t seen the magic of this place. Kids come here shy and insecure and leave with lots of friends and holding their head high. This camp is a health camp because it does make you mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. You don’t just lose weight, you also become the person you really want to be. I know who I am now because I came to camp jumpstart and I allowed myself to accept help.
It’s not just the changes in myself that occur though I got to see 2534 pounds of weight leave the people who came here. I got to witness people become open and confident. It was really magical and I’m so happy I got to see it. Every kid who comes here improves for the better from what I can see. It’s like day by day people gain a little bit more self-esteem and lose a little bit more weight. Not just physical weight though it’s also the things that mentally weigh them down like family issues are fear of being bullied. They are no longer controlled by anger or fear but rather they now control their own lives. They can’t put responsibility on someone else because now we all know how to be responsible.
Camp Jump Start showed me that life is sometimes just a balancing act and some days you will fall off the tight rope. What matters though is what you will do after you fall off. Will you get back up our will you give up? After camp I know I can get back up and keep going on. I can learn from my mistakes. This is my life and I want to know that I’ve tried my hardest and gave it my all.
I want to say it one last time just so it is clear. What Camp Jump Start means to me is a home away from home, it’s a place where I know I am loved. It is the most amazing place I’ve ever been. I love you Camp Jump Start.
I look back on my old story and see stress and I realize I gave up so many things in life because I told myself “who cares if I can do them or not”. Now I want to go back and try again for myself because I care about what I can do. I learned this at camp. I learned that being positive and never giving up are two things I have to do for myself. I will no longer pretend to be happy for others. I will be happy for me.
I hope someday to help you with this camp and be a counselor so I can make other kids feel as welcomed and loved as I did when I first came here. You are my heroes. I cannot express that enough.
I’m going to start doing things for me. When you feel sad, depressed, lonely and like there is nothing you can do. When you feel like taking that gun, knife or pills to end your life, maybe it’s because you don’t think you’re good enough or that you’re worth anything. When that kid bullies you and makes fun of how you look, dress, or talk. When you feel all alone and think no one else is listening. That’s the time you gather your strength and get up and show those people who you are. The new you, the better you, the stronger you. The one that you were always meant to be.
Live out your dreams, try your best everyday, and most importantly be the best you that you can be. That is what Camp Jump Start has taught me. Don’t give up now!
Jean convinced me to stay at camp when I doubted myself. Think of all those kids like me. What would they do without a Camp Jump Start? They could take their life when this camp could save them! Never give up is what I learned here.
Lap 1: I’m planning on trying to run for 2 ¾ (laps) of a mile, even though that will have been the farthest I’ve ever gone. I ran the whole first lap.
Lap 2: I’m more tired, and I don’t know if I can make it the whole 2 3/4, but I know that I will push for as long as possible. I ran the whole 2nd lap.
Lap 3: I’ve made it. I have no clue how, but I jogged past the golf cart, and I didn’t stop. I can hear people cheering for me, but I feel so good now that I don’t even need it. I ran the whole 3rd lap.
Lap 4: I don’t know what’s carrying me now, but it isn’t my legs. I’m going to run until I can’t breathe. Ambica joins me, I run right up to the golf cart.
Lap 5: I walk to the end of the bush, but I’m going to run again. Ambica is pushing me to run gently but firmly, and I do, all the way to the golf cart.
Lap 6: Allison tells me I have one lap left, and Ambica is ecstatic. I stop running but we plan a point to start again “Don’t let me stop running” I say. “I won’t” says Ambica. And she didn’t. I ran the rest of the mile.
This camp isn’t about weight loss, you’re right. It’s about what carried me through the 4th lap, and honestly, the whole rest of the mile. I was right- it wasn’t my legs. It was the community. It was the fact that I know that someone would notice my progress. That people cared and are invested in me, and will not let me give up. I don’t know how you did it, but you built something beautiful here. There are so few places like this in the world, please don’t let this one disappear.
Jean has been the glue holding everyone together here. She is so inspirational, which is very clear in Wellness in Teens (WIT) class. She gives great advice. One of the most meaningful things she has to say to us is that you only fail when you quit trying. She also leads by example when she goes running with us and does physical activity with us. She is a truly hard-working leader and role model of mine. She supported me through my endeavors as a Camp Jump Start camper and I know she will continue to as I move through the next phase of my life.
Camp Jump Start has been a high activity place. Our cardio Hillsprints and runs to the gatehouse have proved to be quite the challenge. Run club mornings meant hiking the hill and trying our best on the gravel track. Our canoe and swim races in the lake will be some of my favorite memories here. Camp Jump Start has been a place of much education both physical as well as emotional. Meal planning and nutrition classes helped me enormously and I’m happy to share that experience as I will be out of the camp soon.
Lastly the community at Camp Jump Start has been so motivational and caring. We all realize that we have struggled with similar issues and have similar goals. We all push one another to do our best and we all reap the benefits in the end. I feel so comfortable around my friends here. Because of the
judgment- free zone, I can share any problem of mine and know that I’m safe. My cabin mates have helped me through some tough times and I love them for it. I will keep in touch with them after camp.
Camp Jump Start gave me hope for my future and it set me on track to reach my goals. It brought me so much more along the way. I am eternally grateful for all that is happened here and the impact it has had on my life.
I thought this was just a fat camp, but I loved meeting you. You are inspiring and a hero to every child at this camp. I felt like I hadn’t been happy for years before I came here. I thought my life lesson here was not to judge a book by its cover. But then you focused me on my life. You made me realize that I was not a very good me and that I was doing it all for attention because that is the only way I got attention. You made me realize who I want to be and now who I am is completely different. I wish I could have stayed with you longer to find out even more about myself. I want to see who I can become. I plan to go home and have a real conversation with my parents. I’ve met so many amazing people here. I just want to say thank you. I need to change my life and you gave me a start (and a push) on the right road. Thank you!
When I first came here I thought that I was confident in who I was and what I looked like. I guess you could say that I accepted that I was just that way and I could not change. I expected that I would always by the way I was. I now know that I can change and that I already have.
I have lost almost 22 pounds and cut 2 minutes and 4 seconds off my mile. These were things that I did not think could ever happen. I am the same person that I was, but this time I am going into life knowing that I can do more than I give myself credit for. So thanks again. You have seriously changed my life when no one else could.
I felt like I could not fit in anywhere I went, but I found my place here at Camp Jump Start. I may not have done my best every day, but I did try.
The one quote I love the best is “when you want to be healthy, there is no SOME day—there is only TODAY and the days after. There are seven days in a week—and someday is not one of them!
For me to find my place and make many new friends while losing weight is good enough for me. I love it here! This is like a home away from home. I will miss everyone. I will hopefully continue this lifestyle until I die. I want to teach it until everyone is healthy. I will always remember how you helped me accomplish my goals. Thank you for everything that you have done for me.