SDYS Voices

SDYS Voices: Junior

I Love CampMariposaMeet Junior, a 12-year-old youth counselor at our free camp for youth affected by a family member’s substance abuse. Junior is a Camp Mariposa camper himself, along with his four siblings.

“We got separated from our Mom and Dad, so we haven’t seen them in a while. When my uncle took us in (nine years ago) my parents would call and we would plan things, but then we didn’t see them anymore.

When I first started at Camp Mariposa, I was nervous meeting everybody else but then eventually I started making friends and having a lot of fun. This is my third year. I was the second one in my family to come to camp.

Addiction. We learn it’s never your fault. You can’t cure it. You can’t change it. It’s saying that you didn’t cause your parent to have addiction. It’s not your fault. Some parents might even say it’s all your fault and say mean things about you but it’s not your fault at all. It’s their fault because they are the ones who decided to do whatever they are doing.

One thing we do is we write a letter to addiction. We all sit around the campfire and we respect each other. You can read your letter or just throw it in the fire. When you read your letter, everyone is quiet. We don’t make fun of what someone says or laugh. If it’s funny, we laugh but it’s us talking about addiction, our life and stuff like that. I feel like some people would feel nervous in front of everyone at first but, I don’t know how to put it, it’s a safe place where we can talk about our thing without everyone going around talking about it and telling different people out of camp.”