Rose and Camryn

TeamMates of the Month: June 2020: Balancing Fun and the Future

“Camryn!”  It has been over two months since Rose and Camryn’s last in-person visit, typically a weekly occurrence during every school year since 2013.

“Hi Rose!”

The excitement to be reconnected, albeit virtually, is palpable as these TeamMates see each other for the first time over Zoom. Due to school closure preceding summer break, their cherished craft-making and college-planning sessions were put on hold.

Camryn just completed her junior year at Southwest High School, but was still in elementary school when she and her mentor, Rose, first began meeting. Camryn recalls, “I was kind of scared at first because she was a new person. Now I think of her as someone really close to me who I know I can always turn to, who’s going to have my back.”

Forming a strong mentoring relationship is a process of “baby steps,” explains Rose. She finds that their trust was built from “consistency, always being there, always being encouraging, and not judging the other person.”

Camryn remembers, “First I just started talking to her about smaller problems that came up at school. Then after I knew she would listen to me and give good solutions, I would talk to her about any problems.” Over the years, Camryn says Rose has helped her become more open and honest with her feelings, a process she says she’s still working on. 

“Aren’t we all?” Rose warmly adds.

While the pair has discussed serious life lessons and experiences, including loss of a parent, they enjoy being silly together, laughing and playing games. They describe the balance they have established between discussing Camryn’s future and maintaining lightheartedness and fun. “Jenga is a great game that you can do together and talk,” says Rose. The pair also enjoy sports, especially volleyball, and arts and crafts. 

Rose finds Camryn’s diligence and organization that help her succeed in school and prepare for a future studying to become a registered nurse, also serve them in coming up with ideas for weekly activities. “It’s fun because she’s always got an idea,” says Rose. “I’ve been seeing a lot of things on Pinterest we can try,” laughs Camryn.

Rose holds up a journal in which she and Camryn have been documenting memories since 2014. There are holiday-themed spreads, drawings, a collage of toothy smiles commemorating when Camryn got her braces removed, and most recently, a list of potential colleges to attend. “We’ve got many more blank pages between now and the end of next year, so we’ve got some work to do,” says Rose. A screenshot of their Zoom call amidst the unprecedented global pandemic will be added, they decide.

The match looks forward to their next video call, as well as school resuming. “I really like that we have this bond. I know she’s always going to be there for me even after high school,” explains Camryn.

Rose agrees. “No matter if she’s near or far I am going to be here for her.”