Valley non-profit offers virtual summer camp for teens to learn about coping skills

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 20:53:42-04

PHOENIX — It is a program meant to direct a child or a teenager on a positive path.

Arizona non-profit, notMYkid, usually holds a critical camp every summer to work with students on coping skills surrounding anxiety and stress.

Things have changed with the coronavirus pandemic, but the group believes that only means the need for the camp is even greater.

That is why notMYkid representatives decided to take action and move their platform to a virtual summer camp for tweens and teens in 6th to 10th grade.

"We needed to give teens something to do," said notMYkid Prevention Specialist Tomas Barraza.

He thinks it is important to beat the boredom.

"We just want to be able to plug some really important things to keep on their mind," Barraza explained. "That way, they can power through or even change a thought that isn't necessarily serving them."

It is about changing the way they cope with the constant changes with the new “amplif(i)MYsummer” program.

"We're bringing this all on the virtual world, where they get to still meet new people of their own age and get interactive and make that connection," explained notMYkid Operations Manager Ahriza Martinez. "I think that's something that they really miss."

Martinez is one of the team members working to make those tough conversations feel fun.

"We also have those experiential learning where we have activities and some of them we get competitive with," Martinez said.

One example is how the program created a virtual “Escape the Room.” It is where the students work to solve riddles and puzzles together through the computer screen.

"They're able to see how they show up, or even how they felt," Barraza explained.

That sparks conversations and important dialogue about how we can all react during a time of uncertainty.

"Life is filled with different opportunities," Barraza said. "Things that happen to us or for us and, you know, perspective is a huge part about that. But, also being able to identify, 'Okay, there are things that are in our control and there are things that are not in our control,' and what can we do with that that's in our control to change it or shape it or look at it in a way that truly does serve us, right?"

The program runs for two weeks from Monday to Thursday for about 90 minutes.

It is split into two groups: one group is for students who are entering 6th grade through 8th grade while the other group is for students who are entering 9th grade through 10th grade.

Registration is now open for the next session that begins on July 13.

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