WHAT KIDS SAY ABOUT CAMP JUMP START

To me camp means a second chance at life. The friends I’ve made here have saved my life. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have gotten here for anything. This place is my safe place; I can be my true self here and have no fear of judgment. What happens here inspires me every day to be thankful for the hard-working people in this world. Thank you for giving me my life back.

Samantha

Ever since I came here to camp, my life has gotten so much better! Back home I weighed 323 pounds, had little to no friends and I was constantly bullied. I had no confidence and I felt useless. I never thought I’d ever get a girlfriend, I never thought I’d ever get married, and I thought I’d always be overweight. Since I’ve been at this camp for the past four weeks I’ve lost 40 pounds, went from a 15 minute mile to a 10:05 mile and I had a girlfriend. I have gained more friends than I could ever have imagined, got back my confidence and then some and I feel like I can take on the world now! All of this is because of the four weeks at camp. When someone tells of the magic and miracles of Camp Jump Start, believe them. This camp really can make a difference in someone’s life—it can save a life.

Callahan

I’m finding it hard to put my emotions into words. This camp is more than just amazing or fun, it’s hope. Before I came here I had many warning signs of pre-diabetes. During my time here I was able to scrape the crust off my neck that warned of diabetes. If I had never found this camp, it hurts to imagine where I would be. I would like to say that I never got homesick and I had lots of fun from day one, but the truth is I cried myself to sleep at night the first week and I wanted to give up. I didn’t think I could or would be able to do it. But at the two week mark things started looking better. Pushing myself felt good! Who would’ve thought it?! I think what I’m trying to get across in this letter is that I needed help and the only place able to provide the help that I needed was Camp Jump Start.

Natalie

Since my first year at this camp, I have learned many things, faced many struggles and had many successes. I have learned self-motivation. No one is going to make you do the work because you have to put in the effort yourself. I struggled with numbers like every other teenage girl. Jean was there to show how important it was to just be overall healthy. At camp I picked up running and that saved my life. I used to be 262 pounds and I have lost 83 pounds since the beginning of my journey here. I plan on doing my first half marathon this year. I hope to inspire others some day with my story.

Katie

Camp is an amazing place. I learned to love myself here. I don’t know what I would do without it. I would recommend Camp Jump Start to any of my friends who wanted to lose weight, the healthy way. I just want to feel loved and accepted in general like everybody else. In four weeks I lost 14 ½ pounds and cut 4 1/2 minutes off of my mile time. I’m so proud of myself and I couldn’t have done it without Jean, her staff and Camp Jump Start.

Genny

Camp Jump Start has been my home for the last four weeks. I am both excited and nervous for my next four weeks. I’m excited because I know that here I can improve myself and I am nervous because I worry about the new four weeker’s and what the future holds living with them. I hope to come back next year if I can for some of the summer. I’ve come so far and have to continue to improve upon my future self.

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.

Lauren

What Camp Jump Start means to me is a home away from home. It is a place of safety and self protection. This where I spent eight weeks of my life and I don’t regret one second of it. Never once have I felt this beautiful or happy about myself and it is not because I lost weight. It is because this camp taught me self-worth and then I am beautiful just the way I am. I do not need to be somebody else because I know I am enough now. This camp told me that they did not want me to change, but rather to improve myself. My new story that I found here at camp is one I want to continue following, one that I am proud of.

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.

Teegan

After spending 4 weeks at Camp Jump Start I feel so much more confident in myself. I realize exercise can be so much more fun than just sitting around listening to music. I feel like I can be what I want to be in life. I’ve made so many friends here that I feel will last a lifetime.

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.

Sidney

Thank you so much for changing my life! You have completely changed my perspective and outlook on my life. The gratitude for what you have done not only for me, but others, is beyond words.

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.

Jazmine

Camp Jump Start has done a lot for me. I’ve learned that I need to try my best each day. I’ve also learned that if you don’t try your best then you will regret it. Jean told me that if I try my best it doesn’t matter if it’s good enough for everyone else. It is good enough for me because it was my best.

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.

Name withheld for the privacy of camper

I really appreciate what you have done for me. I am able to walk into my school proud and happy not embarrassed and heavy set.

Blaine

I remember when I could not even run a mile and then I ran non-stop! I am so happy and proud of myself and you helped every step of the way. This was an awesome summer.

Chris

Not only did I lose weight–45 pounds! I learned a lot of things to help me for my whole life. I hope you know that what you are doing is one of the most amazing things a person can do.

Kaytie

CJS gave me something I don’t get very often which is pure happiness…It gave me knowledge, friendship, trust, belief, a great summer once I got over the homesickness…look how far I’ve come…Thank you everyone for making my life so much better…I learned anything is possible.

Stephanie

Thank you for giving me a month to remember for the rest of my life. Thank you for the greatest gift of all—Health and Knowledge.

Reyn

Thank you for such an amazing summer. I learned a lot about food and exercise, but more so I learned life lessons. I could go on and on, but you both know how much you have helped. Thank you so much!

Elise

I am so glad I went to camp after all! A lot of my family members are either overweight or obese…..Its funny because now that I have been at camp everyone comes running to me with all these questions about what they should eat or how they should eat.

Jasmine

I want to thank you for everything that you have done for me over the summer. I will truly remember every thing you taught me and in the future I will teach those same life lessons to my children. I am forever in your debt for what you have helped me achieve. Thank you!!!

Sarah

I have had the most fun of my life! I started to notice that I was getting smaller. I was so happy and you could see in my pictures that I have changed. I am so happy that my life has changed.

Casey

Your camp has made me feel like a winner and I’ve grown to realize that I am. I’m not sure what my weight is because the weigh-in is tomorrow, but for the first time in years, I don’t care. Thank you!….You have changed my life and showed me what I’m really capable of being and doing…Thank you so incredibly much. This is the best summer of my life.

Kayla

The other day I caught myself calling this place home, and it hit me that it is really a home now. I love it here. I love everything about it. You have created an amazing place and I feel blessed to have met you and to be a part of this special place. Thank you for your constant interest in all of us and thank you for always loving us for who we are. Most of all thanks for giving me the best experience of my life.

Rachel

I didn’t believe you when you said this camp wasn’t about weight loss until I saw my mile time. I will remember every step of that mile for the rest of my life.

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.

Janie S.

To me camp means a second chance at life. The friends I’ve made here have saved my life. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have gotten here for anything. This place is my safe place; I can be my true self here and have no fear of judgment. What happens here inspires me every day to be thankful for the hard-working people in this world. Thank you for giving me my life back.

Samantha

Ever since I came here to camp, my life has gotten so much better! Back home I weighed 323 pounds, had little to no friends and I was constantly bullied. I had no confidence and I felt useless. I never thought I’d ever get a girlfriend, I never thought I’d ever get married, and I thought I’d always be overweight. Since I’ve been at this camp for the past four weeks I’ve lost 40 pounds, went from a 15 minute mile to a 10:05 mile and I had a girlfriend. I have gained more friends than I could ever have imagined, got back my confidence and then some and I feel like I can take on the world now! All of this is because of the four weeks at camp. When someone tells of the magic and miracles of Camp Jump Start, believe them. This camp really can make a difference in someone’s life—it can save a life.

Callahan

I’m finding it hard to put my emotions into words. This camp is more than just amazing or fun, it’s hope. Before I came here I had many warning signs of pre-diabetes. During my time here I was able to scrape the crust off my neck that warned of diabetes. If I had never found this camp, it hurts to imagine where I would be. I would like to say that I never got homesick and I had lots of fun from day one, but the truth is I cried myself to sleep at night the first week and I wanted to give up. I didn’t think I could or would be able to do it. But at the two week mark things started looking better. Pushing myself felt good! Who would’ve thought it?! I think what I’m trying to get across in this letter is that I needed help and the only place able to provide the help that I needed was Camp Jump Start.

Natalie

Since my first year at this camp, I have learned many things, faced many struggles and had many successes. I have learned self-motivation. No one is going to make you do the work because you have to put in the effort yourself. I struggled with numbers like every other teenage girl. Jean was there to show how important it was to just be overall healthy. At camp I picked up running and that saved my life. I used to be 262 pounds and I have lost 83 pounds since the beginning of my journey here. I plan on doing my first half marathon this year. I hope to inspire others some day with my story.

Katie

Camp Jump Start has meant so much to me. It has been my second chance at overall health. It has been a support system, a training facility, a family. Camp Jump Start is such a strong, tightly bound, community. So much so that it often seemed ridiculous that we have only known one another for four weeks. Camp Jump Start taught me everything that I need to know in order to continue my weight loss. It’s like Jean told us on our first day, “in order to win the game, you have to know how to play.”

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.

Alexa

Camp Jump Start his helped me in many ways especially showing me that I could be proud of my body. Camp Jump Start means a second chance for me because now I have a chance to make things right. When I think of making things right it gives me hope. Maybe people who are mean won’t be mean anymore. Maybe I won’t have to mean because I will have more friends. CAMP JUMP START means a better life style and a better life period.

Garrett

I am that girl who came here full of negativity. I could not see this camp for what it was.
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!

Emma

I want to thank you for supporting me throughout this month. It was only four weeks but it is a time that I will never forget. I learned a lot here.

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.

Shelby

This place has changed the lives of all of us in some way. I want to say thank you for having me come here. If I had stayed home for the last month I would have gained weight. Instead I have lost 34.1 pounds.

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.

Jakalyn

When I first heard that I was coming I was mad. But once I came here I had one of the best summers of my life. I’m glad I lost so much weight.

Tyler

I have become more confident and I have learned if I work hard I can do anything. I have friends that I KNOW like ME.

Kate

Camp Jump Start changed my life and prevented me from going down a wrong path in life. I learned soooo many things at your camp that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Megan

Thank you for teaching me everything I need to do in order to live to be healthy and 150! Ha Ha I never had so much fun at any other camp! All in all, thank you for changing my life so drastically.

Jennifer

…what I will miss is how much you cared about me and everyone else. How personal you got with us. No other camp–weight loss or not–has ever cared as much as you. You were like a home-away-from-home, a mom-away-from-mom for me. All in all I want to thank you for helping me make this one of the most worthwhile summers of my life.

Lisa

I have learned so much about my health, nutrition and about myself. I have realized good qualities in myself. And I am thankful for the environment you put out for me so I could exercise those good qualities of mine in a healthy manner. All you ever asked is that we try our best and that alone kept things challenging enough that every day I wanted to see what I could accomplish for that day. I appreciate and am grateful for all that you have done for me.

Ashley

You cannot know how much happier I feel. There is no way I can ever possibly thank you. There’s this new girl at my school and me and her and my friend Anna were talking about volleyball and how when we ran I was always last and now I am first. I always get done with sprints first!!!!!!!!That’s never, never, never happened before. Ever! And the new girl goes “what? YOU used to be fat?” which means I must not be now. It feels so gooooood! I don’t guess you can understand this but coming in first on those sprints is like winning the olympics for me. Last year it was all I could do without dying after one lap. Now I am FIRST on sprints! I cannot thank you enough.

Emily

Just being here has changed my life forever. You have taught me new things and new ways of thinking and doing and living my life. I truly do appreciate my stay here and all the good times we shared.

Jenay

I have grown up so much in these past 2 months and I have made the greatest friends here. I will never be able to forget anyone here. Thank you so much for everything and I love you.

Audrey