Summer. The kids are out of school and families are planning trips and making time to spend with one another. It is the perfect excuse for being outdoors. All across America families engage in a multitude of ways to enjoy the natural beauties we are so fortunate to be afforded. Whether it is patrolling a mountain stream for trout, rafting down a raging river, climbing treacherous rocks, kayaking in a calm bay, or just sitting around a warm campfire roasting marshmallows with family and friends, people are thousands of Americans take advantage of the energizing properties of the Great Outdoors.

Unfortunately, there are far too many American children who rarely, or have never experienced the wonders of the natural world. They have never had the opportunity to spend quality time with a parent, or mentor learning how to build a campfire, tie a lure, load a pack, or prepare a meal for their group. They have missed out in the joy of hiking to a secluded lake and setting up a campsite while they impatiently eye calm water filled with trout that have waited all winter for their lure to hit the water. Most importantly, they have missed out on the valuable life lessons spending time in the outdoors can provide.

At Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps, we attempt to fill that void for our campers. This past year several at-risk teens had a chance to come together and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others they touched. They overcame fears on a high-ropes course, rescued team members from a mountain accident (staged), build boats out of cardboard to race in, pummeled one another (and their coaches) with paintballs and participated in a variety of other activities, all while building their character and leadership skills. They also performed service to their community and learned the tremendous value they offer to those in need. Our campers experienced valuable personal growth in the ten months we spent together.

It is now time for a new team of campers and the recruiting process has begun. It is only a few short weeks before the first camping excursion will take place, so we are poring through applications. This season we are focusing on 7th and 8th graders due to the feedback we have received from previous campers who unanimously agreed they wish they had started Arrow-Heart in middle school. They felt they would have avoided many of the choices that put them on a more difficult path.

As always, our campers are fully funded through the generosity of our donors. Ken Corday, of Corday Productions, has been our biggest and most ardent benefactor. We greatly appreciate his generosity and the kindness of all those who have contributed to Arrow-Heart Adventure Camps. You may never know the true impact of your efforts, but they are making a difference. If you would like to make a difference in a young person’s life, please see the details on how you can donate on our website. We are currently working on building our first permanent site and need to purchase equipment for our high ropes course, paintball course; as well as, river, camping and climbing equipment. Your gift may also be used toward our Midvale, ID camp.

It is time, once again, to hit the trail. Until next month, may we all experience the joy of making someone else’s life just a little bit better.