Eastern Kentucky University’s Camino Camp will be entering its third year in June 2020. This camp is a five-day, four-night camp hosted during the summer for rising Latino/Latina junior and senior high school students during which they can gain some insight of the life of a college student on EKU’s campus. This past year, there were 120 who applied, and 50 were accepted due to the budget for the camp.
If a camper is a junior then they can go through training for the ACT, how to better their scores and will learn more about what goes into being a college student. Seniors, on the other hand, will get the full-on college experience by being immersed in college classroom settings with mock classes, using meal swipes, experiencing dorm lifestyle and getting to know EKU’s campus.
Campers are split into 10 “familias,” which are all dedicated to Latinos who have impacted education in the United States. At the end of the camp, parents will come pick up their student and attend a “graduation” ceremony hosted at Keene Johnson.
Abbey Poffenberger is executive director of the camp with four other co-directors, who include Socorro Zaragoza, Gaby Baca and Liliana Gomez de Coss. As directors of the camp, their duty is to create the curriculum of the camp, recruit students to apply and speak to families in both English and Spanish to encourage their child to go by ensuring that they will be safe as well as benefit from this experience. Poffenberger said that not only do they have students who help with the camp, but professors and other staff members have volunteered in order to make this experience the best for the campers.
Britany Guerrero is a current sophomore at EKU who attended the camp as a senior in high school and is now a facilitator working for the camp.
“It gave me a real insight to the college experience,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero said that she is still in contact with those she met during her time at Camino. As a camper, Guerrero was able to get the college experience, which made the transition from high school to college easier on her. The camp impacted her so much that she in turn became a facilitator during her freshman year at EKU, which meant that she was the one who was mentoring the other campers.
“It felt like I was a mom taking care of my eight children,” Guerrero said.
The camp has not only benefited students in the sense of making the transition from high school to college easier but has developed public speaking skills, sociability and leadership skills.
“You can really see how much this camp offers by looking at Britany and her personal growth from camper to facilitator,” Poffenberger said.
More information and student applications for the Camino Camp visit their website, https://caminocamp.eku.edu/.