The YES Prep North Central Great Hall is filled with 22 counselors writing chants for their campers. Two high school seniors– the camp directors– move from group-to-group, asking: “What will be the beat,” “How will you teach the sixth-graders,” and “How will you help them learn your names?”
The directors, counselors, and three alumni are preparing for 120 sixth graders that will fill the halls next week as part of Pony Camp. The name Pony Camp was derived from the campus’s mascot, the Trailblazers. Pony Camp prepares incoming sixth-graders for life at YES Prep.
“It helps them with the transition. It lets them know they have friends and people that can support them,” said Joshua Molina, a senior who is volunteering for Pony Camp for his second year. “They feel really nervous about coming to school, and they learn that they can talk to us,” added senior Jacqueline Guzman, who is in her third year of volunteering with the camp.
At camp, the sixth-graders will play games and do team-builders. They will also attend sessions on cyber-bullying, respect, team sports, and more.
Ruby Guevara is now a student at George Washington University, but she was once a counselor and, before that, a camper. “I didn’t know most of the people in my group, so it was a chance to get out of my comfort zone,” she said. “After my freshman year, I applied to be a counselor, and it clearly impacted me since I’m still doing it five years later.”