“I learned to trust. I learned it’s OK to talk about it. I learned it’s OK to cry.”
There’s more to Amanda than meets the eye. In many ways, she’s a typical 16-year-old: she does well in school, enjoys playing softball, has good friends and makes her father very proud. But Amanda has overcome a great deal in her life, with help from Camp Mariposa.
Amanda began attending camp when she was 10 years old. Her mother, who she lived with off-and-on until she was 6, is addicted to drugs and alcohol, and Amanda experienced abuse and neglect from an early age. An Oaklawn therapist who was helping her work through some issues stemming from those experiences recommended she attend Camp Mariposa.
Throughout every camp, kids learn the seven C’s: “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it. But I can take care of myself by communicating my feelings, making good choices and celebrating myself.” That was a lesson Amanda took to heart.
“I learned it’s OK to cry, and that it’s not my fault,” Amanda said, “because I used to blame myself every day for that. I used to think if I had been a better daughter, my mom wouldn’t be like this. But that’s not true. She was already hooked.”
Amanda now returns to Camp Mariposa as a junior counselor and attends reunion events held throughout the year for kids who have aged out of the camp. She plans to study social work in college and wants to be a therapist.