On Sunday, September 8, the Sherwood Forest community gathered together to celebrate our most recent Leadership Program graduates. This year’s graduating class was our largest yet – 22 young people successfully completed our Leadership Program. They were also our first group to live in our new Village – Summit.

The ceremony included speeches from program participants about their experience at Sherwood Forest. One camper, Isaiah, reflected on his 7 years as a Sherwood Forest camper – here is an excerpt from his remarks:

I have been participating at Sherwood Forest Camp since I was in 3rd grade, and I’ve seen camp grow and get bigger. We were excited to be the first ones to live in the new Summit village. I’ve also seen people at camp change for the better because it gives everyone an opportunity to try something new and different, and a chance to have fun. Every year, there are new people at camp for their first year and people who have been there for years, and it’s given me the opportunity to meet many people that I would have never met if I didn’t go to camp.

My group at Sherwood has grown together throughout the years and it’s made a difference for all of them. I know that camp has definitely made me a better person in multiple ways and has taught our group how to cooperate better, how to be leaders, and to build better friendships. Camp has given me a lot of opportunities, like to go see tons of colleges, and go see and explore Philadelphia, and to be around a lot of nice people in general, it isn’t just a camp this is a home for 28 days. The leadership program was meaningful to me and my group because it gave us all a chance to be leaders at camp and to be the people the younger campers looked up to.

Sherwood has given me little pointers here and there about what I might want to do and I know Sherwood will continue to assist me on that path. Sherwood has taught me that everyone has their own backgrounds. I’m thankful for Sherwood most of all because it brought us all together and I know it will continue to have impacts on our lives moving on. We all developed leadership skills, but mostly just all around skills on how to be better people. Thank you.

We are grateful to everyone – counselors, staff, volunteers, families, and our donors – who helped these young people on their journey through the Leadership Program. The journey for this group continues in Supports for Success, our program that supports 10th-12th graders as they decide what path to take after graduation and then continues to assist them as they transition into the next phase of their lives be it college, career or another path.