A Summer Camp Like No Other: Camper Photo Journal

It’s no exaggeration that Camp Tuku is a summer camp like no other:  At Camp Tuku you’ll find all the traditional activities of summer camp (sports, arts, outdoor excursions) plus the opportunity to learn mindfulness practices that support each camper’s social-emotional wellbeing.

Every year I’ve gone to Camp Tuku (I’m on my third year), I’ve learned something new–a craft, a hobby, stress management skills and found a way to use it in my life back at home. More than that, I’ve learned how to navigate difficult situations with a lot more calm and a lot less stress. And that says a lot, for me, anyway, because I’m kind of a high-strung kid. My home life had been really rocky, especially during and after the pandemic. And, I don’t always have the best grades. Since I started coming to Camp Tuku, though, a lot has changed for me.

Don’t get me wrong…I wasn’t at all sure about the mindfulness stuff when I started with camp at age 10–and it was online because of the pandemic. I made a deal with my mom to give it a go and she promised me a new basketball hoop (not a small thing for her, as a single parent). I did learn a lot that first year–about focussing, and being open-minded about new things, and giving myself a chance to learn more about myself.

I learned even more in year two and in this past summer at Camp Tuku in Arizona. I really gave the mindfulness practices a chance. It was really neat to see that I could use those skills while studying or in class, or even while practicing or playing soccer. Not only that, I was becoming less high-strung and that made me a better brother to my little sister and easier to get along with my mom.

Take a look at these photos from Camp Tuku Session 1, June 2023 and you’ll see why I love being here.
— Jamie, age 13*

Excitement at Camp Tuku

The excitement of being dropped off at Camp Tuku can’t be described with words–this camper’s expression says it all!






Kayaking always looks easier than it really is. Here are some friends learning to communicate and collaborate, mindfully, so they don’t tip the kayak and wind up in the muck!


Horseback riding is a favorite activity for a lot of kids at Camp Tuku. We learn horsemanship skills along with horse care. The most important lesson–keep calm and ride on. Horses are very intuitive about people’s emotions. This is why horses are used in therapeutic programs, which I think is really neat!


Paintball is an exciting sport that I don’t get to do back home. I love the stealth aspect, working as a team, and winning!




Believe it or not, mindfulness can often be the best time of the day. It gives everyone a chance to settle down. For me, it gives me a chance to let go of some of the harsh things I sometimes say to myself. I always feel better after mindfulness.



The counselors at Camp Tuku are absolutely amazing! These guys supported me and my bunkmates all the time–even when we gave them or each other a hard time. They kept their cool and were great role models. Plus, they really got into the color wars during Toucan-a-thon…the big event at the end of the week. That’s what’s going on in the photo below…


*Jamie’s journal entry is a vignette of several camper’s statements made during interviews and conversations with our camp communications team.