A summer camp hosted by the Multicultural Alliance in Fort Worth is continuing to empower and grow teenagers, along with showing them the importance of diversity.
The camp, called Camp CommUNITY, began in 1982 with the purpose of uniting students from different “backgrounds, beliefs, experiences and opinions” for five nights.
Faith Blankenship, a senior at Paradise High School who attended the camp this summer, said the experience was life changing.
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“I went to camp, and I didn’t realize how sheltered I was and how unexperienced I was with different people until I got in that room, and there were more ethnicities and religions than I’ve met in my entire life,” she said. “It made me happy. It made me want to experience more of that and more of these people I was missing out on.”
The five-day retreat is meant to impact the lives of incoming high school juniors, seniors and recent high school grads in the Tarrant County area.
"This is the age when we're trying to see who we're gonna be when we grow up," said Anush Pabley, a junior at The Oakridge School in Arlington.
The summer camp’s main goal is to develop leaders to be advocates for social change “in our diverse community,” according to the Camp CommUNITY website.
Seventy teenagers in total came out last summer, and many said they took away important life lessons about unity and acceptance to carry on into college and adulthood.
“Everyone is equal. That's what the camp taught us. You can't judge. You can't do it. We're all humans,” Pabley said.
The next camp is taking place on June 28, 2017. Applications are due by May 1, and scholarships are available.