The 2022-2023 program year is in full swing at Community for Youth, and this October, CfY officially welcomed over 60 students and mentors in this year’s Learning Community with a long-held tradition: Camp Launch Weekend!

Every year, CfY takes new and returning program participants to YMCA Camp Colman in Long Branch, WA, where attendees have the opportunity to get to know one another through fun, engaging challenges and games over the course of a weekend-long camping trip. Camp Launch Weekend focuses on cultivating connection and “breaking the ice” to set the stage for Match Night, which falls on the Tuesday immediately following camp. Students choose their mentors at the conclusion of Camp Launch Weekend, and matches are revealed during match night, establishing activity groups and setting the tone for the remainder of the program year.

At this year’s Camp Launch weekend, program participants split into mixed groups of mentors and mentees on Saturday to tackle a variety of activities, including kayaking, climbing, archery, and – perhaps most notably – a giant harness swing! Each activity required team-building and peer support, and our mentors and mentees went above and beyond to lift up their team members – sometimes literally! One activity, Camp Colman’s Giant Swing, required students and mentors to use a rope and pulley system to lift their teammate to their desired height, after which they would pull a release rope and swing freely through the trees from heights of up to 20 feet!

Another activity, the Vertical Playpen, required team members to support their teammate with a harness and rope as they navigated a challenging vertical obstacle course. The team building didn’t stop there – our students and mentors all got a fair shot at archery and kayaking, where program participants challenged each other to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.

At the end of the night on Saturday, YMCA Camp Colman staff members facilitated a truly memorable series of Minute-to-Win-It games. Challenges included seeing who could create the tallest shoe tower, a “weird talent” talent show, and finally, a dance-off to the Cupid Shuffle, which resulted in one big CfY dance party! 

On Sunday morning, all attendees gathered in a big circle, where everyone was given the opportunity to step into the middle of the circle and “spotlight” the students and mentors who shined throughout the weekend. Stories both humorous and touching were shared, and lasting relationships were forged.

When it was time to pack up and go, a few things were clear: our Learning Community members had brought their best selves to Camp Launch Weekend, and had gone above and beyond to show up for one another with openness and compassion.

For three days, our Camp Launch Weekend attendees mixed, mingled, and bonded with fellow attendees of all ages and backgrounds, and over those three days, laughed together, encouraged and shared their stories with one another, and committed their time and energy to co-creating an unforgettable experience. 

The CfY Team would like to thank our incredible students and mentors for making this year’s Camp Launch Weekend a huge success, and for dedicating time and energy to our programming. We would also like to thank the staff and team at YMCA Camp Colman for accommodating our Learning Community members, and for leading and facilitating activities with great energy and enthusiasm. Thank you all for a wonderful Camp Launch Weekend!

We can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things that our students and mentors accomplish together over the next few months. Stay tuned to our official blog for more stories about the awesome things going on at CfY, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for CfY updates and news.

CfY inspires and supports students to be their best selves through mentoring, Learning Experiences, and a powerful community. Want to help us continue to fulfill our mission? Help us raise $7,000 for Giving Tuesday by donating through our secure online portal:

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