One of the beloved programs Banyan Community offers youth is an overnight summer camp experience outside of the city. Banyan staff accompany youth on two different overnight adventures: a middle school outing and an elementary youth outing.

This year the elementary youth adventured to Camp Fire for FIVE NIGHTS! Camp Fire is just thirty minutes west of the Twin Cities but it feels like a new world. Drawing from over 100 years of providing camp experiences, they have a passion for youth to experience nature as a catalyst to energizing their own personal spark in order to build a brighter future.

Fifteen of our Banyan youth and three staff explored everything Camp Fire has to offer. We are especially proud of our five youth who bravely participated in their first overnight camp experience ever! There were so many formative experiences over the week that it is hard to pick one to share.

“I have two new friends at camp now.” – Josiah

Banyan youth were offered the opportunity to conquer the high ropes course. The element included climbing up a telephone pole, walking across a wire, and belaying down. Many youth were understandably nervous, but Jazmin was especially concerned. She decided to wait and watch the other youth go to in order to assess the situation. When it was finally her turn, she was still very nervous. Both staff and youth cheered her on as she quickly climbed up the telephone pole. She was hesitant to step out onto the wire, but with some encouraging she began and walked to the middle of the wire. After Jazmin reached the end point, the instructor slowly lowered her down. Back on the ground she started to cry. Staff and youth went to comfort her. A staff member asked her if she was happy or sad. After taking a moment to compose herself, she said that she was happy and really proud of herself. Then, quickly asked if she could go do it again!

“I don’t care about the mosquito bites, I want to stay here forever!” – Jay

Two of Banyan Community’s youth-centered goals are to

  • Provide opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills, engage in positive relationships with peers and adults, and have new experiences.
  • Create an environment of support around youth, through the encouragement and investment of the adults in the community.

This elementary school week away beautifully checked all the boxes. Youth experienced many new things, built self-confidence, and engaged in encouraging positive relationships with their peers along with the Banyan staff who accompanied them. Thank you for investing in Banyan Community to ensure these great memories are made.