Scenes from a Day at Camp Tuku in Arizona

If your child hasn’t been to Camp Tuku, there’s no better way to get a sense of what happens at camp than peeking into one of our older camper’s photo diary entries. We hope you enjoy this entry.

If you have questions about sending your child to Camp Tuku-Arizona (June 2023) or Camp Tuku-Catskill Mountains (July 2023), please contact us at 928-224-5855

Camp Tuku-Arizona Camper Photo Diary Entry

June 20, 2023
Our days at Camp Tuku begin with a mindfulness activity that is based upon lessons that help me enhance my social and emotional wellness and learn how to make choices that are not only beneficial for me, but also consider others who might be affected by a choice I make. (I learned that this comes from something called SEE Learning: Social, Emotional, Ethical Learning).

Morning Mindfulness at Camp Tuku

Today, program director Cyd led us through an activity with the MIND JAR. The big jar is filled with water and represents my mind. I learned that each moment of the day, from the time I wake to the time I go to sleep at night, all kinds of thoughts, emotions, and experiences come into my mind. I have the power to label my thoughts: Some thoughts are neutral (represented by sand); glitter represented positive thoughts; and pebbles represented negative/heavy thoughts.

Throughout my day, all these thoughts can affect one another. If I focus only on negative things (like
getting a poor grade on a test), then my mind and emotions get stirred-up and the negativity keeps spiraling. This is shown by the swirling liquid in the jar — all the glitter, sand and stones mix together and the liquid in the jar–or my mind–becomes cloudy.  This can make me feel overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious or angry. If I stay like that, it becomes hard to focus on other things, such as my school work or  soccer practice, or even something good like going to a friend’s birthday party. I might even make poor choices like not doing my homework or skipping practice or not going to the party.

Mindfulness practices can help me settle my mind, which makes things more clear so I can focus on what is true (One poor grade doesn’t mean I will always get poor grades or that I am stupid) and what is important for me to do in that moment (talk to my teacher, ask a friend or grown-up for help).

Mindfulness on Horseback: Insight from a Young Camper

I really liked when Taylor, one of the younger campers told us what she learned during horseback riding: “Not being in the present moment when you’re on the horse can upset the horse and maybe cause you to get hurt.”

I realized that can happen when I go into a test worried about something else (like my parent being mad that I didn’t clean my room). Or if I go to a soccer game thinking about a bad grade on a test. I’m not in the present moment and that can make things worse (my friend will be upset with me, I might miss a goal or get injured).

After the mindfulness lesson, we raise the Camp Tuku flag and head to breakfast. (By the way, the food here is awesome!)

Throughout the day, in each camp activities, we not only learn new things while having tons of fun, our amazing camp counselors remind us of the mindfulness lesson of the day. We do this through group talk, using our journals, or being reminded about paying attention to the activity if we are caught goofing around or getting distracted.

Sometimes another camper gets frustrated and that can affect the group activity. Our counselors do a really great job of helping us use our mindfulness skills. Because of this, I think the campers here all get along with each way better than any other camp I have ever been to. We are more patient with each other and kinder, too. Even if we don’t always get along, we have more ways to figure out how to resolve things because of what Camp Tuku is teaching us while we’re out in the beautiful Arizona mountains.

Here are my photos from the first few days at Camp Tuku!

My group in mindfulness circle to help us calm down after a very long morning of activities.

campfire cooking at camp tuku


The best popcorn ever popped from kernels over the open fire. Also, banana boats that we get to drizzle with chocolate, and quesadillas using leftovers from dinner last night. So yummy!









Capture the counselor is a game we played one night at dusk. Our bunks have to work together and strategize to find counselors hidden around campus. When we find a counselor we receive a stamp of an animal. Each is worth points, with the toucan, the Camp Tuku mascot, being worth the most points. The team with the most points is the winner.

These are local astronomers who brought their powerful telescopes to camp one evening. We were able to visit each telescope and see the moon, Venus, and several constellations and even a nova up close. Us older kids then got to camp out on the field…photo below.