Blog Post: Pathway TRUST Camp

Trust in Balance and Support

  • July 19th, 2023
  • By Pathway Caring for Children

Do you remember learning about a fulcrum in probably about 4th grade? It’s the central point of a teeter-totter and all about leveraging so something can stay balanced. The simple definition: the pivot about which a lever turns, something that supports or sustains.

Pathway kids often do not know support, balance, or stability. Too much, too little, always tipping over- chaos is normal. But TRUST Camp allows teens to leave behind the stress of their daily lives and experience the fun of just being a kid with new friends and adults who will invest in their success.

Pathway teens from all over Northeast Ohio come for a week of adventure in the woods at Camp Koinonia in Geneva, Ohio. Nature is the first thing to restore balance. Driving into camp there is no cell service- just the sound of birds, the stillness of the creek, inviting tall pine trees, and the friendly smiles of the camp staff. No outside distractions.

It was day one at camp and nerves were still present. Names were still being learned, and teens still had first-day jitters. Randy, the Camp Koinonia director, yelled, “Follow me!” And teens and Pathway staff trekked into the woods just trusting Randy knew where he was going. He brought all the campers to this large wooden platform perfectly balanced on a central beam. Randy explained the seemingly simple challenge, “ Keep the platform stable and straight with every camper on it. And if the platform totters to one side to the ground, teens must start all over.”

During their first try, lots of ideas were thrown out and teens were eager to climb on up. And you guessed it, the platform teetered to the ground.

One young man named Andrew was hesitant to participate and watched quietly. He has some physical limitations and previously experienced low self-esteem. Randy noticed Andrew and gave the group a new challenge. No one could stand in the middle of the platform and Andrew was now the team leader. Without hesitation, every camper gave their full attention to Andrew.

Everyone gave encouragement to one another and gave respectful suggestions to Andrew. As more and more campers got on, it really seemed like this was going to work. The last teen stepped on and inched to the right to keep the middle clear. Randy was right on the heels of the last camper and said, “Andrew, tell me where to go!” The platform stayed balanced! Everyone cheered!

Then Randy said, “Alright Andrew it’s your turn!” Andrew stood up and instantly another young man reached out his arm to help Andrew up. Everyone moved carefully to steady the platform and shouted encouragement to Andrew as he slowly was pulled up. The platform was still balanced!

In the end, no one placed blame for the first round, no one wanted to give up, and everyone listened and respected each other. Teamwork is all about balance. It is a heartwarming experience to see teens communicate effectively, show kindness and express encouragement, and form bonds while working together toward one common goal.

This is what TRUST camp is all about. Support and stability form a foundation for success. YOU are part of each teen’s success and their journey to reach their potential!