Alondra Quiñones recalls feeling “culture shock” when she first came to Horizons with her group from Puerto Rico at age 11.
“Not culture shock in a bad way, but camp culture shock. We do a lot of things outdoors back home, but we had all of these new activities and outdoor experiences. It was just so cool,” she shared. “Camp has its own culture. There is just this feeling in your heart where you feel full, and the counselors made such an impact on me.”
Alondra returned year after year with the Cultural Immersions program until she was old enough to become a counselor. “It’s unfortunate but a blessing that we get a lot of kids at Horizons who don’t come from a good home,” she said. “For some of these kids, it may be the only week in their year where they feel love, they feel cared for, or even get three meals a day. My motivation is to change the lives of children. I’ve seen it and have had campers tell me that this, being at camp, is the most loved and accepted they have ever felt.”
Now, at age 20, Alondra has spent almost every summer at Horizons, making a difference in the lives of the kids she serves. “Besides how my parents have raised me, I don’t think anything has shaped me as a human being as much as camp. I don’t think I’d be the same person. My empathy, my grace, and my forgiveness have grown from being here. Camp has taught me to dig deeper into my interactions and see the goodness in people. Not just kids but adults, too. Everyone has goodness in their hearts.”
We are so thankful that the Cultural Immersions program brought Alondra to Horizons. That positive impact, patience, and grace that has molded her shines through in her leadership for campers and staff alike.
Thank you to all who support campers through camperships to Horizons. Knowing that your generosity makes a child feel loved, accepted, and safe is the most powerful gift you can give.