What it is like to be in CAMP

CAMP imageMany students I went to school with overlooked Crowder College on account that it’s a community college. Those who’d paid attention like me would have noticed the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholarship.

Unlike Foundation or Division scholarships, CAMP is federally funded and helps over 2000 students each year in the United States.  For those who aren’t financially stable but are pursuing attending college, CAMP is a great option.

The program helped me out with tuition, room and board, and even books. When I struggled with a subject, CAMP even helped provide me tutoring. Most importantly to some students, if the student was doing well and attending workshops, CAMP provides an “allowance” to help with the necessities, or entertainment, of students.

I had the privilege of receiving this scholarship. In the beginning I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like being away from Arkansas, or around strangers, but I was over it after a couple of days. CAMP had what they call “CAMP ROCS” which takes place a week before school starts and the entire CAMP crew meet each other. Those first three days helped me get over my fears, since we introduced one another, did a lot of teamwork activities, and became comfortable around each other.

From this experience, we found out about each other and where we came from. Of course I said I came from my mom! Doesn’t everybody?

We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses through teamwork. Many overcame many of their fears their surrounded by people who cared about them. We made new friends and once we realized we were all on the same boar, we didn’t feel alone anymore.

Mentors, former CAMPers, were our age and made us feel comfortable to ask them any questions. They made me feel capable of graduating and becoming a college student, rather than a high schooler who was scared to talk to people.

By the time classes finally came, the CAMP staff would keep up with, try to help, and guide us. I still don’t know how they can handle so many things and so many different students all at once. They would ask us if we were doing well if we liked our teachers or if we had any kind of trouble, and I felt they knew us.

CAMP has made a difference in my college career because it allowed me to belong to a group and make friends from the get-go. I am a shy person otherwise, so I don’t think I would have found a group as quickly as I did.

Also, being in CAMP has allowed me to be able to concentrate on my studies for the first year of college. Some other students in Crowder are taking out loans, or maxing out their cards, or even sacrificing family or work time for more education. I am grateful my family and I haven’t had to struggle, and this has allowed me to completely dedicate myself to being a good student. The CAMP program is an exceptional program, but many around this area don’t even know it’s available for them, or don’t apply.

Araceli Gomez is a freshman Business major. She is part of the College Assisted Migrant Program.