A couple months before Youth For Freedom, the staff and I met to have a 3-day training, and I was asked to give a presentation. I decided to tell them to do what they want for 10 minutes. When I asked them how they felt about how they used their time, most of them lamented that they didn’t spend it like they wish they had. Many of them spent much of that time wondering how to use their time, and ended up doing nothing! We had a great discussion afterwards about the limitations we put on ourselves, and to not be afraid to start things and even just play!

Then at the camp, I gave them the same activity to each of the youth sessions. As soon as I told them to go, it seemed like they all knew exactly what they wanted to do. One youth quickly jumped into the pool and came back inside, others formed a massage train, one rolled down the hill and ran through the sprinklers, and another had a great one on one conversation with one of the counselors.

I stopped looking at the youth as these like helpless little ducklings who needed me to tell them what to do. Instead, they became my mentors, reminding me to acknowledge and be kind to my inner child!

I love the youth so much! They’re my best friends and they’re always teaching me! Thank you all so much!

Daniel Aranda

Share This