Gustavo was once a camper. Now he is a camp counselor. Something good keeps him coming back.
Gustavo grew up in the Ciudad Nueva youth programs and throughout those years, summer was an annual highlight for him. He looked forward every year to new adventures, new friends, and deeper relationships with current leaders and friends.
As a leader now in Ciudad Nueva’s youth programs, he is excited to go back to camp and share his experience with the young people he works with. This will be his fifth summer going as a counselor for the incoming sixth grade students.
“I love seeing the kids’ faces as they experience new things,” says Gustavo. “As a kid, you get to go out on your own with your friends and meet other kids from other states. Seeing the diversity and experiencing all the fun activities is amazing. It is really good for you and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out!”
Everyone remembers their first time at camp!
Gustavo is in the unique position of knowing what it is like as a camper, and he remembers clearly that he and his parents were nervous the first time. He is able to help calm the fears of his new students and their parents by sharing his memories with them.
“They are nervous for their kids to leave town without them,” says Gustavo. “Since I have gone before, I can give them my previous experience. My parents felt the same way, but I can assure them their child will be in a safe environment.”
His goal is to help make that first camp stress-free for everyone by explaining how everything works and helping the students get excited about exploring new places and activities.
His perspective may have changed a little since middle school, but he still loves summer camp
“As a camper, I was checking things out and seeing what was new,” says Gustavo. “As a leader, it is more about guiding the campers. It is so cool to be a part of their experience. Everything is a surprise for them, and I love being able to give them the tools to really have a good time and fully enjoy the whole thing.”
Last year one his favorite memories was helping the campers get comfortable with the zipline. One particular student wanted to do it but kept getting scared at the last minute. Like a great leader, Gustavo offered to go with the student.
“I told him, ‘If we go climb up there, I am not climbing down. We are going to do it,’” says Gustavo.
Once they got up there, he and the student both froze for a minute, but then they both took the leap together and had an awesome time flying across the zipline.
“He said it was really fun,” says Gustavo, laughing. “He actually wanted to do it again. I said ‘Great! But I am not doing it with you.’ Once was enough for this camp counselor.”
Looking forward to another summer at camp
Gustavo is looking forward to another great summer at camp. One of his favorite parts about working with the incoming sixth graders is getting them ready for the middle school program since they will be moving on from Launch Pad in the fall. The bonding at camp really helps them feel comfortable moving into a new program.
“I am just super excited to be able to be a part of another kid getting to do new things like I did when I was a camper,” says Gustavo. “I got so close to the kids last year, and they still remember all the fun we had. I am looking forward to doing that again this year — getting to know them all better, creating friendship and bonds with them so they can be more comfortable coming into the middle school program.”