Naley (Boukhanty) Gonzalez and Ylaizah Boukhanty
We attended Camp Courant since we were in first grade at MDFox Elementary. There, we met other kids from Hartford who, like us, attended on Camp Courant because of all the opportunities camp provided. We did crafts and played sports, but the most fun part was the pool especially in a hot summer’s day – and the ice cream. As we got older, our interests changed, but we continued participating in as many activities as we could.
“When I was too old to go to camp, I signed up participated in the Junior Leaders program where I developed my leadership skills and learned how to work with the younger kids who attended camp. We also did fun activities like going skating to get to know each other better. I did not enjoy skating. I still don’t… but I know people who do.” – Naley
We did not know it at the time, but our Mom could never attend summer camp as a youngster because her parents could not afford it. She wanted for us to have a summer camp experience, and by chance, she was able to sign us up knowing we would be well taken care of by the staff and counselors, that we would be safe while she was at work, and that we would get to have that experience she did not get.
“I still run into people now who were part of some of my camping years. Some were other campers and some were my own counselors. It is nice to reconnect and remember those days.” Ylaizah
In 2011, we graduated from Manchester High School and we are both now working on our degrees: Naley at Manchester Community College and Ylaizah at Eastern Connecticut State University.
We understand that having a free campership for so many years would not have been possible by the help of everyone who gets involved to make it happen: the volunteers, the donors, the sponsors. It is our hope that once we get established in our careers after college, we are able to give back so other Hartford kids can have the same opportunity.
Are you a Camp Courant Alum? Tell us about your time at Camp!