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Mentorship Comes Full Circle


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Jul 6, 2009, 12:46 PM

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Submitted by Club Xcite

We recently came across a story from one of our member camps that we thought was an inspirational kick-off to the start of summer camp season.

Camp Rise Above, a San Diego based summer camp (part of Club Xcite), has seen their mentorship model come full circle for the first time: one of the first children to be mentored by founder Stefan Hochfilzer has joined their roster of counselors. Camp Rise Above is a uniquely modeled day camp serving youth with social, academic, and athletic struggles.

Brad Fenton, 20 year old former camper, now counselor, explains, “When Stefan and I first met, I was only 8 years old…I had lost my father when I was much younger, and meeting Stefan was a life-changing experience. Stefan really felt like an older brother, without the fighting part.”

As a counselor, Hochfilzer saw a shy kid who had a hard time approaching fellow campers to make friends. “I could tell that Brad would benefit from more one-on-one attention,” he confides. “So we worked on his confidence in addition to tennis skills, and he ended up making several good friends and having a great time.”

School was tough for Fenton, and he struggled heavily through elementary and most of middle school. “In 8th grade, thanks to Stefan’s influence, I started turning things around,” says Fenton. He went on to play water polo competitively for Torrey Pines High School, known regionally as an athletic powerhouse.

Currently a full-time student studying sociology, Fenton works with struggling kids as a counselor at Camp Rise Above, putting his own experience into practice. Recently, Fenton’s mother passed away suddenly, a misfortune that could have caused him to turn his back on his work encouraging and inspiring local youth. Instead, he credits being a mentor and counselor with helping him through this challenging time. “It really makes you reflect on your own life and gives you a good feeling of who you yourself are as a person.”

“I know how the kids we work with get excited about having a fun, positive role model because I remember how much I looked forward to hanging out with Stefan,” says Fenton. “It's the same way for these kids today.”

Club Xcite is a private afterschool mentoring program offering support to kids and teens struggling in school, at home, or on the sports field. College-aged mentors work one-on-one to address the individualized goals of each family. Summer camps, including Camp Rise Above, Xcite Sports Camp and Camp Xcite for children with bipolar disorder provide further opportunities to have fun and foster healthy friendships among peers.


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