Camper Noah Hammouri caught his first fish ever at Fishing Camp. Trivial... or not!
When Noah reeled in his first fish on the first day of camp, he shouted my name and ran for joy toward me for a double high five as if he had just won the NBA finals. I had hardly known him for a few hours, and until that moment, he had been on the quiet side. I celebrated his success with equal or even higher enthusiasm as if he was my younger sibling.
When I caught my first fish, I was 6 years old. I have a somewhat unpleasant memory about it. My teenage siblings were too busy with their own fishing and, though my first fish meant the world to me, they hardly recognized my deed. I was too young to understand that it was just a fish… Or not!
Photo of Environmental Educator, Miguel Santos, teaching about amphibians at Trailblazer's Summer Camp in Three Bridges Park.
After teaching at UEC Summer Camp for many years, I truly believe that camps are transformative experiences for children, providing them with opportunities for personal growth, new friendships, and exciting learning experiences. Unfortunately, for many kids, connections to nature and experiences outdoors are needed but not guaranteed. Thanks to generous donors, the UEC offers need-based scholarships on a sliding-fee scale based on family income and the number of children in the household. Let’s make this upcoming summer another great summer full of favorite activities for every child.
Summer Camp brings joy and gives us a chance to slow down, get to know one another better, and make more meaningful connections, which is key to our roles as mentors and nature ambassadors.
-Miguel Santos, educator and nature ambassador