Thanks to you, I’ve become unapologetically proud. - Ten Oaks Project

Thanks to you, I’ve become unapologetically proud.

Atlas

 

Age 17
Camper since 2010

My name is Atlas.  I am 17 years old, and for 51 weeks a year I live in Toronto.  But for the other week, my home is at Camp Ten Oaks. 

Seven years ago, my Mom came home and told me I was going to go to Camp Ten Oaks.  As a timid, unsure, 11 year old, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  When I got on the bus that first year, I was nervous, shy and scared.  But all of those insecurities disappeared when I met all the amazing CTO campers and staff.  Now I can’t imagine my life without camp.

Every year we play a game called Across the Grass.  One of the staff makes a statement and if you identify with the statement, you walk to the other side of the grass.  The first time I played this game, it was amazing to see that there were other kids whose lives were similar to mine.  I never thought that was possible.  As an older camper, I still like playing Across the Grass, but now it’s a way I can express my pride in myself and my family.  Camp was the first time I felt like I could talk openly about having two moms and a dad.  By meeting so many wonderful people who are unapologetic about who they are, I have also become unapologetically proud. 

Ten Oaks changes lives and sometimes even saves lives.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone become a completely different person in just one short week.  If I hadn’t had the opportunity to go to camp, I probably still wouldn’t have the confidence to talk openly about my family.  Even though I love my moms and dad, I would still have worried about how people would react.  I also wouldn’t have some of the amazing friendships and support that I built at camp.