Nico Garmendia had never been to a camp before. Born in Venezuela, Nico grew up in India and now attends art school in Vermont.
“Camp isn’t a thing in India. I have many friends in Vermont who’ve talked about their experiences attending or working at camp in the summers, and I thought that would be really cool. I’ve always wanted to work with kids. Then I came across the artist position at Bethel Horizons.”
“Community building has been incredible this summer. Forming these unique bonds with children you don’t get to do otherwise has really impacted me.” Nico shared. “You grow up and go to college and are constantly surrounded by adults and expected to behave like an adult, but at camp, you are surrounded by all of these great kids and can just be your true self, and it’s just wonderful.” Nico continued.
“Learning how to say goodbye has been something I have had to grow into. You meet all these new kids each week who look up to you, and you form such an intense bond for a short time. It’s so wonderful to have this time and build a relationship with them, and also really hard when we have to say goodbye.”
“Being the artist specifically, I’ve been able to learn and research so many new things, creating lesson plans for the kids I usually wouldn’t have the time or motivation to do. It’s great to see how someone so young can look at art, express themselves freely, and find ways of doing things I would’ve never thought of. The campers have shown me new ways to do things, and this experience has really helped me grow as an artist and person.
We are so thankful to have been a part of Nico’s journey as an artist and to experience the unique and powerful bonds that Horizons provides for our campers and staff. The impact that working at camp offers can get overlooked at times when we think of how to support the campers best. Still, the transformative experience of the summer leaves staff members forever changed, inspired, and empowered to bring meaningful change in their communities. Thank you to all who generously support Bethel Horizons so that stories like Nico’s continue to be experienced.