January is National Mentor month, a time to celebrate and encourage the positive relationships that are critical to the development of children and youth – the positive relationships that are developed and encouraged each year at camp. 

The idea of a mentor is an ancient one. In Greek mythology, when Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went to battle in the Trojan War, he placed his friend, Mentor, in charge of his son and his kingdom. Today, Mentor has become synonymous with someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced person. Mentoring relationships are special and often life-changing.

The camp experience is uniquely designed to foster these relationships. When counselors and camp staff engage with campers, they are not just teaching – they are using the core elements of positive mentoring relationships.

These relationships aren’t just a nice addition to childhood and young adult development – kids need them. They need nurturing mentors – people outside of their family that take an interest in who they are, root for their successes, and help them learn that failures are critical stepping stones on the path of success. https://www.acacamps.org.