“They sent me onto a hill by myself with a backpack, a tarp, food, and a sleeping bag to spend the night by myself. It was hard but it helped me in the long run, making me think on my feet and be self-reliant.”
The 24-Hour Solo is a trip City Kids 10th graders still do today. Vanessa’s 6 years with the program helped shape her adult life, including her role as a parent. Now, she’s passing the torch of adventure and personal growth to her 13-year-old daughter, Alejandra, who is in her second year at City Kids. City Kids not only fosters lifelong community but also offers a space for middle school and high school participants to embrace new challenges and grow. Alejandra echoed this when she reflected on her time at camp last summer.
Vanessa and Alejandra demonstrate our program’s transformative impact over generations. Vanessa notes that City Kids has made her daughter “tougher and more resilient.” It has instilled a sense of independence and belonging in Alejandra, and has taught her to embrace new challenges.
City Kids’ long-term approach, engaging with youth for six years and beyond, allows us to set youth up for success. As Vanessa points out, “When you go to City Kids, it’s a real experience that you take with you forever. I started planning from early on how to get my daughter involved.” It’s this unwavering belief in the power of City Kids that continues to inspire legacy families, passing on a tradition of resilience, friendship, and adventure that is bound to shape the lives of generations to come.
Vanessa and Alejandra are one of three legacy families who have had multiple generations in the City Kids program. Legacy families showcase a beautiful cycle of growth, connection, and resilience. Their stories remind us that City Kids is not just a program; it’s a lifelong journey.