From gardening to taking the plunge to getting up close and personal with farm animals, there's no shortage of what children can do to have fun, grow and make friends at any one of the Fresh Air Fund's five camps in Fishkill, New York.
“Without this I don’t know what our summers would have been like,” Mustapha Olatilewa remembered.
Campers even get a taste of what good nutrition is all about and learn the important of staying safe.
And being by the lake brings back vivid memories for 24-year-old Mustapha Olatilewa.
“At camp they have us take swim tests to see how well we swim," he said. "I never swam before so I got in the water and I basically failed and the lifeguard came down and saved me and he said don’t worry you’re going to learn how to swim.”
Mustapha, his 21-year-old brother Ridwan and 17-year-old sister Zainob caught the fresh air bug years ago as campers. Now, these siblings from Brooklyn are back as counselors.
"He it's much more quiet, we see trees, we see green every time we wake up in the morning compared to the city," Ridwan described. "[In NYC] we don't ever see that, it's just straight concrete."
They do remember getting off to a rough start though.
“It was really hard, I’d never been away from home, so it was like a complete different change," Zainob said. "I didn’t want to be here at all.”
“My first summer, I didn’t really speak much, didn’t really interact with everyone else, I was just doing my own thing,” Ridwan explained.
But their mom encouraged them to stick it out and wow, are they glad they did!
“I definitely started to get more and more skills that I need like public speaking and different things like that that’s helped me to grow,” Ridwan said.
"With camp as help, I have a higher level of confidence,” Zainob said.
A giving back came naturally for all three.
“Counselors are the people we look up to when we’re campers," Mustapha said. "I want to make sure I have the same type of impact on the kids who come through here.”
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi