I first met Alexis through Oasis summer camp in 2012. He quickly became one of the counselors’ favorite campers because he was kind-hearted, cooperative, and compassionate toward everyone. On field trips, Alexis was always willing to give other campers extra arcade tokens when they ran out. I also remember him sharing with me that even though a lot of his friends at school would be troublemakers in class, he tried to make his teachers’ lives easier by behaving well. It was this heart and generosity that made him a welcome addition to summer camp.
Despite these great qualities, Alexis lacked confidence and resilience. Since he was one of the younger kids at camp and had a soft spoken personality, it was easy for him to get stepped on or made fun of. Rather than shaking it off, he would take small comments or actions really hard. During outdoor games, he had a habit of quitting early if he got frustrated or discouraged. One time during a game, he actually ran off camp grounds because he got so down on himself. I had to physically chase him down and sit and talk with him about how to stay resilient through tough situations.
Since that first year I met him, Alexis has been an attendee of summer camp every year and has been involved in many of YES’ other programs, such as after school tutoring, Strength, and mentoring. Through all these programs, Alexis has grown tremendously (both in character and physically). Some of my most memorable times with him were through the Strength program, which is a six-week program where I met up with a group of guys and talked about various life topics and got to share my life experiences with them. It was always such a blessing listening to him share about his life and dealing with difficult situations. The doubting kid I had met in 2012 had matured into a much more confident individual who still held on to his qualities of kind-heartedness and compassion.