Camp Seymour and Tacoma High Schools Partnership
This January, YMCA Camp Seymour partnered with the three Tacoma High Schools, SOTA, SAMI, and iDEA, for the second year in a row to provide current junior and senior students with the opportunity to train and serve as cabin leaders during their January term. During this term, students can participate in non-traditional educational experiences. Camp Seymour and teachers from three schools worked together to create a program that allowed students work as cabin leaders. Over the course of two weeks, thirty-six participants took part in training where they learned team building skills, behavior management, and safety procedures. Through this training, students gained the knowledge and skills needed in a camp environment. The students were then able to utilize this knowledge firsthand as cabin leaders.
Many lower-income Tacoma elementary schools struggle to find volunteers to serve as cabin leaders for their fifth-grade camp experience. This is where the SOTA, SAMI and iDEA students came in. The students served as cabin leaders, which gave schools the opportunity to go to camp who otherwise might not have gotten the chance. Camp Seymour's Outdoor and Environmental Education program welcomed 214 5th graders from Arlington, Sheridan and Mann Elementary over the course of two weeks. The visit to Camp Seymour was funded with a Russell Family Foundation grant as well as scholarship funds from the Y's Annual Campaign. In total, Camp Seymour awarded over $22,000 in financial aid to ensure every 5th grader that wanted to attend camp was able to.
While this program impacted the lives of the many fifth graders, it also had a lasting effect on the high school leaders. Student Cole Richardson explains, “Being alongside those kids at Camp Seymour was an experience I will never forget, and the lessons I learned along the way will continue to help me in many aspects of my life throughout the future.” Some students even hope to go into teaching after this experience, like Daniel Torres. “The kids really made an impact on my experience at camp Seymour, and that showed me that I really do want to go into teaching. Without this experience, I probably wouldn’t have found my passion for outdoor education.”
Overall, the partnership between the three Tacoma High Schools and Camp Seymour helped foster meaningful relationships and lifelong memories. “I am blessed to have been able to participate in a program like this, so I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity” (Stephanos Mavrommatis, Student counselor).