Temple YAL President Aranzasu writes about the impact FamCamp has had in her life.

Making Me a Strong Leader and Community Activist
By Aranzasu Caballero

FamCamp gives me the opportunity to get out of my usual boring routine. My mom doesn’t like me going out of the house too much. Mostly due to how the area is. I like going to Calaveras State park because I am able to go for a morning jog with no worries. The morning hikes through those giant trees is something I look forward to for a whole year. I might hike with a group on those mornings but in our thoughts, we’re all alone. Taking in the scenery and just taking in the free air. Duarte is a great place, but for being such a small town, it feels so good to just get away for a while. FamCamp has been a great resource that I have been able to use in my life. I want to grow and explore what this world has to offer so that I can come back to Duarte and give back to the community that helped me grow.

Something I want from this program is to introduce a new kid into it. One day they might even follow in my footsteps. A big part about the FamCamp program is that this new kid will have to learn is that with all the beautiful places, there will always be something new that they have to try. My first trip to Malibu Creek had me learn how to be a member of the team. It also taught me to speak up when a problem starts to arise. The older members in our after school program were in charge of us while we were there. So when I was old enough, I went to OYC (Outdoor Youth Connection) which was the training that gave us the access to the FamCamp equipment. We set up the lanterns and the stoves that are connected to gas cans. We set up our tents along with our sleeping bags and sleeping mats. In between the three days that we are there for, we play team building games and we even go kayaking for a bit. At the end of the three days, we get a certificate from the program and are officially able to use the FamCamp Camp trailers where they are available.

The trips had also taught me that my parents won’t always be by my side to help me. They can’t always be there to fix my mistakes. I have to do things on my own and fix my own problems. Like I said before, my first trip with the program had me in a team as just a member. Our leaders were the veterans of the program. But after the OYC training, I had seen myself only as a leader and nothing else. I was given the motivation to speak up more and learn from the mistakes of others as well as my own. I feel as though I have matured through the few years that I have been here. Giving a teenager like me the power over my peers is something that can be hit or miss. In my case, I think it was a homerun.

I have camped with people older than me. I camped with people younger with me. I camped with people my own age. I have the opportunity to camp with kids from other cities.

Now I have friends from Hawaiian gardens, East Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Walnut and Oxnard among others. Friends that I talk to till this very day.
Some of the campsites that my YAL have stayed at are Malibu creek, Castaic Lake, Leo Carrillo state beach, Calaveras big tree state park, Silverwood, San Simeon state park. They are all really pretty, and have their own unique features but my favorite is Leo Carrillo because we are able to walk to the beach in the morning and it is something I will never forget it is a beautiful experience.

Thanks to FamCamp I have learned to live in the outdoors without cell phone services which is something that teens today know nothing about. There’s nothing I would change about FamCamp I have had many great experiences. FamCamp Camp is a great program and I hope I am still able to go on a lot more camping trips in new places with my YAL.