Youth supporting camp in their future
After youth age out of camp, there are different was they can give back and support the camp.
Participating in a camp during the summer or any time of the year can have a positive impact on youth. This impact can come in the form of making new friends, learning something new, having fun, having a more positive perspective on life and other benefits. After camp is over, youth can continue to build on their experience through service learning projects, attending a pre-college program and preparing for their future career. MSU Extension suggests that once youth age out of a camp program, either due to the age requirements of the camp or because they graduate high school, they can find ways to give back or show support for the camp programming that impacted them.
It is suggested that once youth graduate from high school and enter college or go on to the workforce, they can find ways to give back and show support for the camp.
Past participants can first show their support for the camp they participated in by being an advocate to promote the camp or recruiting other youth to attend. Target areas where they can go to advocate and promote are the school they attended or youth groups they participated in like 4-H, past sports teams and other community groups. When it comes to recruiting for camp, past participants can simply share their experience and the positive ways that the camp impacted them. If they are interested in recruiting for the camp, they should make the camp directors aware and get the information needed like flyers, brochures, websites, etc. to share with their peers and/or their parents.
Another way to support camp is to return as a camp counselor. Past participants can be good for this role because they know how the camp operates, they can share what made their experience great during the time they attended and they can use their skills to create or facilitate activities. They can also serve as a mentor to current youth and a resource or guide for other camp counselors based on their experience. Returning as a camp counselor can build skills for college and a future career.
Camps are sustained financially through various sources of funding. Past participants can give back financially with monetary donations and be an advocate to get others, such as foundations and businesses, involved in giving financially to the camp. A way to facilitate funding for the camp would be to coordinate a fundraising activity so the proceeds can go to the camp with the permission of the camp directors and faculty.
Finally, does the camp have an alumni network for past participants? If they do, joining the network is another way to give back and show support. If there is not an alumni network, reach out and contact the camp directors or staff to explore ways to start one. It can have different focus areas such as various volunteer roles, recruiting, promoting, advocating and giving financially.
Participants who had a positive experience in camp can give back to the camp not only as youth, but also throughout adulthood in some way.