FGI Campout 2012 in August provided time to set expectations for the year and develop the sense of “familia” and camaraderie that research documents as crucial for the success of first-generation college students. Two days of recreation, strategy sessions, presentations by upper-class colleagues, and talks with Janet Willis, Dr. Jane, and Brother Ed ended each night with a campfire, talent shows, and scary stories.
Although the beds were hard–whoever calls those slabs “mattresses” must have a sick sense of humor–the relationship building was invaluable as our Scholars start the 2012 academic year determined to succeed. And one of benefit, although unanticipated, of our state park Campout 2012 was the lack of Internet connectivity. Two whole days of no cell phones!

Burning regrets, setting goals. A personal reflection time was one of the most memorable experiences of the FGI Campout 2012. On one sheet of paper, each Scholar listed regrets for actions taken (or not!) during the past academic year; on another, three goals for the 2012 academic year. Regrets were burned during the evening campfire, and goals were posted in the FGI office as the Scholars continue their journey to college success.

Letters from camp A highlight of FGI Campout 2012 was a letter-writing session, Letters from Camp, in which the Scholars introduced themselves to the donors who have made their dreams of a college education a reality. Octavia expressed her gratitude thus:

Dear Donor: Thank you very much for your generosity in funding my college education. This is one of the greatest blessings that I have been fortunate enough to receive. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart because without you, I would not be where I am today:one step closer to making my dreams of becoming a dentist come true.

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