Dustin Welshman has been attending the YMCA’s Camp Glenburn for six summers, but his summer of 2017 experiences have been the best yet.
Thanks to a Memorial Fund set up by the Walker family in memory of their son, David (Fyn), Dustin was able to take part in Glenburn’s Leader in Training (LIT) program, which included creating memories on the Fundy Footpath and canoeing the St.Croix River.
“I was seven when I first came to camp and I still remember my first counsellors,” Dustin explained while sitting on Glenburn’s Bellisle Bay beach after 2 weeks of exploration. “I think that shows how much impact the people here have on you.”
The LIT program takes place over three weeks in the summer. Campers learn leadership skills and develop lasting relationships throughout this time.
“Camp is like home for me,” Dustin said. “You really do get to be yourself at camp.”
The 2017 LIT campers have a special bond. Their voices become louder and eyes brighter as they share memories that were created this summer.
“This program has allowed us to develop skills and put them into action. We were able to run a camp wide program and it was really cool to watch that come together,” Dustin explained.
In 2017, many youth capture their summer memories on Instagram and communicate through social media and text. But for this group of teenagers, there is something special about the way they connect and create memories.
“At camp, you learn how you don’t really need material things in life,” Dustin said. “Last time I went home from camp I sat down to play video games and thought, ‘why am I inside right now’? Instead I went outside and explored, which was much more fun.”
And Dustin isn’t the only one leaving camp feeling a sense of growth this year. His mom, Rhonda Welshman explained how the David Walker Memorial Fund provided Dustin with more than she could ever imagine.
“He had lots of stories from leadership but one of his fondest memories was meeting Fyn’s Dad. He told me after learning about Fyn, he thinks he would have really liked him,” she said.
“The whole leadership experience has changed his life forever, guaranteed to make him stronger and more resilient.”