I Am Somebody Camp lets children know they are special and loved

Brittney Staley said she started the I Am Somebody Camp in Polk County after seeing a growing number of people within the community losing their lives to suicide. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A local day camp aims to help children gain confidence and process their emotions.

The I Am Somebody Camp was started last year by Brittney Staley. She felt compelled to start the camp after seeing a growing number of people within the community losing their lives to suicide.

"I just feel like kids need an outlet. They need to feel like someone does care about their circumstances and situations that they deal with on a regular basis that maybe they are not comfortable telling mom and dad," Staley said. "They will come to this camp and let them know there is hope and love for them."

Most of the children are 11 years old or younger. Campers talked about things they love about themselves and what to do if they feel sad.

Eleven-year-old CJ said school was sometimes hard because he was bullied.

"I felt like they're just bullying me to have fun. I felt like a test dummy. I was angry, upset, and depressed," he said.

CJ said being at the I Am Somebody Camp has made him feel special. He said the best part of it all was meeting new friends.

"I think I want to make this a tradition, coming to this camp every year," he concluded.

During the program, the kids wrote inspirational notes to one another. Eleven-year-old Ivan said he has learned important lessons from the camp.

"We get to make people feel better when they are really shy. I learned to be nice to people and never let people down," Ivan said.

"Our main goal is to make sure they understand we are all created equal, and there is no one better than you. You have to love yourself through it all," Staley explained. "Sometimes we are bullied, hurt and let down, but there are people here to uplift us and help us through this thing called life."

Staley hopes the camp inspires the kids to open up and uplift one another.

To learn more about the I Am Somebody Camp, contact Brittney Staley at 828-817-9290.

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