One measure of success for the Arrupe Summer Program is students who return to serve as counselors after having participated in Arrupe programs as a student. For this year's Arrupe Summer Program, no fewer than eight high school people were returning to be the mentor after years of being the mentee.
This "coming-of-age" marked one of the highlights for the 2017 Arrupe Summer Program.
Over five weeks, the 70 total high school counselors spent time one-on-one or one-on-two with neighborhood children. They attended classes together, played sports, completed art projects and went on four field trips. Through all of these experiences, the campers and counselors form a connection that is rare in many other summer camps.
"ASP puts meaningful relationships as the top priority," Michael Chopra '20 said. "The way that the staff promote bonds is amazing."
The Arrupe Summer Program is free for all participants and makes field trips to places like FirstEnergy Stadium or a movie premiere at Tower City Cinemas possible for children who otherwise couldn't afford it.
"When my campers asked me how much money we need to go to the movies, the look on their face when I told them it is free is priceless," said Timothy Lewis '20.
Longtime Theology teacher Paul Prokop guides the high school counselors through a daily Formation class, which is part of the Sophomore Service component. One counselor said, "Formation began every day with prayer. During formation we had a prayerful mind and mentality as we came to realize some of our campers lacked many of the things we take for granted. Formation really helped make camp the prayerful experience it was."
The Arrupe staff thanks all who helped make this summer possible, especially the many generous supporters and foundations who continue to make this special experience possible for free to all participants.