Adventure camp helps teens build self-confidence, leadership skills
Members of Warwick’s Adventure Camp only had one complaint when the second camp session ended July 21 – they didn’t get to stay overnight.
Previously, campers slept over at Camp Fogarty but it was not possible this year due to lack of space.
“I’m going to campout here because sleepovers are better and you have more time to do activities,” said camper Brianna Boyd, 13, who was joined by her peers at the Buttonwoods Community Center for the final day’s activities.
Currently in its 12th year, Adventure Camp, a four-day program run by the Warwick Police Department, R.I. National Guard, the city and the Warwick Youth Advisory and Prevention Task Force, allows campers to learn valuable life lessons in teamwork, confidence and substance abuse.
“It exposes kids to things they would never be exposed to and it teaches them the value of working together, leadership, cooperation, self-discipline and it also makes them feel good about themselves,” said Director of Warwick Human Services Patty St. Amant.
Campers spend three days at Camp Fogarty in East Greenwich performing numerous activities such as a high ropes course, zip lining and obstacle courses. On the fourth day, they learn about law enforcement and familiarize themselves with police equipment and an armored car. The camp ends that day with a cookout. There are three sessions of the camp: two in July and one in August.
The camp activity allows campers, who are between the ages of 11 and 14, to experience different challenges and teaches them to face their fears head-on.
“The ropes course was scary because it shook, but once I was on top, I realized it wasn’t that scary and I knew that I could do anything,” said camper Catherine Brennan, 13.
Officers Sue Gautier, Dennis Amerantes and Leo Tetreault are resource officers in Warwick and serve as counselors at the camp. The officers help to encourage the group of between 30 and 40 campers to try things they never have before and teach them to support each other.
According to Tetreault, teamwork came naturally for this Adventure Camp group.
“This was the best group I’ve seen at working as a team,” he said. “From day one they understood teamwork.”
“They were very willing to listen to each other’s ideas,” added Gauthier.
St. Amant credits Mayor Scott Avedisian and Col. Stephen McCartney for making Adventure Camp possible.
“If it weren’t for the vision of Mayor Avedisian and Col. McCartney, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” said St. Amant. Camp members pay a $30 fee.
The campers said they made many friends and that the rope course and zip lines were “awesome.” With the campers only disappointment being they couldn’t stay at the camp longer, it’s really no surprise that many will be returning next year.
“I’m definitely going next year,” said Brittney Boyd, 13. “I’m going until I can’t come anymore.”