Back to Our Heroes You are reading: Meet Owen | Camp Hero Youth Story
26th September 2022 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Meet Owen | Camp Hero Youth Story

If I had to describe Camp Hero, I would say it’s a place where you can be open and be yourself. There’s no judgement and it showed me that I don’t have to pretend to be someone that I’m not. Above all, it felt really empowering and freeing.

The community that I live in is really affected by drugs and alcohol. At my school, there has unfortunately been a lot of suicides and a lot of people lean on drugs and alcohol to deal with their mental health issues. That’s why I wanted to go to Camp Hero. I wanted to see if there was any way that I could help, and gain the experience that I need so I can be the person that someone can come to to talk to.

Prior to going on camp, I was really inside my own head and overthought everything. On the first day I was terrified about not knowing anyone, but when we got to the bus I made friends with one of the other guys really quickly and everyone was so nice and so welcoming. It was such a great thing to be around.

At first I was really hesitant to talk to the mentors, but when we were talking in a circle together, they opened up to us and were vulnerable with us, and it showed me that they’re people just like me. My mentor Steve was there for me through my whole camp experience and I know he’s going to be someone I look up to for a long time.

On camp, you don’t have access to your phone, which was amazing and it made me realise that I don’t need it for everything. I think my generation is really concerned with social media and being a fake person online rather than themselves because it’s so much easier to pretend to be someone on the phone rather than in real life. Having a week away from my screen was better for me than I could have imagined.

At school I normally tend to be friends with girls, but being supported by the group of males on camp felt really empowering and made me feel really comfortable. Camp Hero in general made me feel so supported and comfortable to be who I am.

If you’re thinking about Camp Hero, please do it. Send in your application. I was doubtful of myself at first and I didn’t think I was going to get in but I’m so glad I did because it was such a worthwhile experience. It’s about making friends, but it’s also about developing who you are as a person and it’s such a useful experience, especially as a young person.

I know Camp Hero is going to have a rippling affect. The people who attend leave feeling empowered, so even if they just show one person in their school the attributes and the skills they learnt on camp, then it can spread to other people and other communities. Having the freedom to be yourself is such an important thing as a young person, rather than just struggling and being stuck inside your own head. Camp Hero can help you learn how to do that.