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A truly miraculous transformation at Teen Camp

Here’s an email that was sent to us unsolicited from a mother a little while back. Will’s story has really stuck with me, and I wanted to share it with you here. It really is amazing what young people can do when they are given a clean slate and a loving community. Without further ado, Will’s story:

“I have wanted to write to about Will’s experience at camp and our experience of him when he returned. Some background – Will was “diagnosed” by the public school as “ODD” – oppositional, defiant disorder. He had gone from an interested student and talented actor to an angry, sullen kid in a very short time. He was no longer able to stay in the public school system so we moved him to an alternative program. We had him take the Landmark Teen Forum, speak to a therapist and looked into many other programs. His older brother, Zach, had attended as a camper and later a counselor and suggested the camp for Will.

Will reluctantly agreed to attend camp for two weeks and we were very concerned that he would not stay. His first few days were rough and it took meeting a girl for him to begin enjoying camp. We came to pick him up at the end of two weeks, but he wanted to stay! I spoke to some of the counselors about his abrupt change from superstar to sullen and defiant. They said they would take care of him – one of them said, “that was me five years ago”. We picked up Will two weeks later and suddenly he wanted to talk to us again. He said that he didn’t apologize or say thank you enough to us, but that he wanted to. He said that he was committed to working with us and working out issues. Instead of having confrontation, we began having conversations. The maturing process has continued and we feel like our son has come back to us. We don’t agree with every choice he makes, but we know he is open to hearing what we are thinking – and we have had to let go and trust him more as well. We felt that he was headed in a very negative and destructive direction, but that the camp helped him see an alternative. He has turned a corner and is finding his way forward. We can’t thank you enough.”

Powerful stuff. Thanks so much for sharing!

It’s easy to underestimate the power of even a short time at teen camp, but not once you’ve been a part of it. If Will’s story sounds like yours, or your child’s, we hope you’ll investigate around the site further. Read about our summer camp here, or go ahead and register now. What do you have to lose, besides a little sullenness?

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