Every year in October, the fifth-grade students in the Payson Unified School District attend a youth leadership camp called “CHAMPS,” which stands for “Champs Have And Model Positive Peer Skills.”
This overnight camp experience is presented to all fifth-grade students in Payson, to prepare them for the transition from elementary school to middle school.
CHAMPS Camp is very important to the youth in the Payson area. Upon entering fifth grade, these young students look forward to their opportunity to attend “CHAMPS” Camp.
At camp, Payson High School students currently enrolled in a peer counseling class, work to create a positive impact on these youth. They teach lessons and present activities about stress management, handling peer pressure, feeling good about one’s self, being considerate to others, and making healthy decisions, such as staying away from drugs and alcohol.
The overall goal of CHAMPS is to reach the youth of Payson at a critical point in their lives, helping them develop leadership skills and healthy decision-making skills.
Teachers will attest to the fact that after camp, their students return with more self-confidence and a determination to be active and positive leaders in their school and community.
In the past, CHAMPS Camp has been conducted at Camp Tontozona, located 15 miles east of Payson. The advantage of holding this overnight experience at Camp Tontozona offers many students the opportunity to experience camp for the first time as well as the chance to bond with their peers and their teenager role models. Here, staff and campers are provided the opportunity to focus on the goals of CHAMPS free of distractions.
Recently, due to funding cuts and the assimilation of the three elementary schools, the CHAMPS experience has been impacted.
Last year, camp was held at each of the elementary schools changing the dynamics of the experience.
Because there are approximately 180 fifth-graders, we would like to host two camps.
The cost for the two camps would be $8,600, which amounts to $48 per student. Camp Tontozona has offered assistance by matching funds with money collected from the Payson community.
We need to raise $4,300. This is where we could use your help. If you are a former peer counselor, have had a CHAMPS experience — either yourself or your child, or wish to assist in sending a kid to camp, every dollar counts.
Donations may be made to P.U.S.D. “CHAMPS Camp,” c/o Judy Michel, Payson High School, P.O. Box 919, Payson, AZ 85547. Camp dates are Oct. 20 and 21 and Oct. 27 and 28.
peer counseling teacher