Building Trust and Overcoming Anger: Charles’ Inspirational Journey 

Charle's on a Fishing Trip

Before Attending Fair Play Camp School

Charles’ life was in turmoil. He had a difficult relationship with his mother, marked by constant arguments and misunderstandings. His grandmother was his safe haven, but even she couldn’t bridge the gap between Charles and his mother. This strained family dynamic left Charles feeling isolated and rebellious.

Charles admits that he was not in a good place before camp. “I would lie and talk back,” he recalls. “I brushed off my mother’s feelings, and it just wasn’t a good place for me or her.” His school life was a mixed bag. While he was a good student academically, his attitude sometimes got him into trouble.

The Decision to Attend Camp

The decision to attend Fair Play Camp School was not an easy one. A mutual friend recommended the camp to Charles’ mother and grandmother, and they decided to check it out. Despite initially thinking it seemed like a cool place, Charles was vehemently opposed to going. “I had a fight with everybody,” he remembers. “I was in that office for three hours saying no, walking out, and yelling.”

It took a lot of convincing, but Charles eventually realized that his life wasn’t working the way it was. He needed a change. His mother and grandmother saw this too, and they hoped camp could provide the help he needed.

The First Day at Camp

The first day at camp was tough. Charles describes it as one of the saddest days of his life. “All I remember from the first day is crying,” he says. “I just cried and cried.” Leaving his mother in the parking lot and meeting the other campers was overwhelming.

Challenges and Growth

Charles’ time at camp was marked by significant challenges. For the first six months, he was extremely stubborn. “I wouldn’t do my chores, wouldn’t work, wouldn’t eat with the group, and wouldn’t talk to the group,” he admits. His chief would have likely described him as the most stubborn camper.

However, a breakthrough moment came during a group discussion. Charles realized that his behavior was making life harder for himself and others. He began to see the need for change.

Trust was a significant issue for Charles. He only trusted his grandmother and had difficulty trusting anyone else. The camp environment, however, began to change that. When a dear friend of his passed away, the support and understanding from his group and chief helped him open up and start trusting others.

Learning to Trust and Overcoming Anger

Building trust was a slow process, but it was pivotal. “My chiefs pushed me to be the person they knew I could be,” Charles reflects. Along with trust, he had to work on his anger issues. “I had a nickname in my group, ‘Chili,’ like the red chili pepper because of my temper,” he says. His first few months were filled with incidents where he was ready to fight anyone who crossed him, leading to multiple restraints.

Turning the Corner

About six months into his stay, things began to improve. Charles started enjoying his chores and even made it a game to see how quickly he could complete them. “After six months, I loved doing my morning chores,” he says. His attitude shifted, and he became more positive and cooperative.

Charles felt ready to graduate about a year and three months into his camp stay. He had learned to live successfully and felt prepared for the outside world. Transitioning back into normal life was a challenge, especially with the impact of COVID-19. “Reentering the world was difficult because you had been secluded for so long,” he explains.

Life After Camp

Since graduating from camp, Charles has continued to grow. He graduated high school and was accepted into the nursing program at Greenville Tech. During the summer, he worked with his grandmother’s estate sale business, which helped keep him busy and productive.

Charles expresses deep gratitude to the donors who make camp possible. “You helped make my life a better place to be,” he says.

Thanks to you, Charles’ journey at Fair Play Camp School is a testament to the transformative power of trust, support, and perseverance. From a troubled home life to finding his path and preparing for a future in nursing, Charles’ story is one of hope and change.