Vicente Becomes a Leader at Parks in Focus

Vicente has been a part of Parks in Focus at TrueNorth Community Services for over four years. From being a participant to becoming a returning leader, Vicente has stepped outside of his comfort zone and become a leader for the other kids.

Parks in Focus is an outdoor youth mentoring program. Kids like Vicente go on outdoor trips to connect to nature through photography while also receiving additional support from TrueNorth staff and volunteers. Vicente has grown as a person and leader through the additional support and experiences from the program.

“It was one of the first times that I stepped out of my boundaries or outside of my comfort zone,” says Vicente about his first experiences at Parks in Focus. Going on the week-long trip for the first time was both exciting and nerve-wracking for Vicente because it was the longest he’d been away from his family. But by the end of the trip, Vicente felt accomplished. 

Throughout his time in the program, Vicente has become more curious and well-spoken. He enjoys learning new photography skills while interacting with kids he may otherwise have never met. Having the support from TrueNorth staff and the other kids in the program enabled Vicente to thrive as he went on many trips over the years.

Vicente flourished through these experiences as he connected with the other kids and became a role model for them. Dawn Dechand, a long-time volunteer for Parks in Focus, has seen Vicente grow over the years he’s been in the program. Now that he’s a returning leader, Dawn has enjoyed working with him as they both support the new kids in the program.

“It’s really nice to see how they grow  into their ability to lead and be role models for other kids, Vicente is a really great example of that,” says Dawn about her experience with Vicente in the program. “He was a really good example of how the returning leaders really developed into being great people, great leaders.”

Vicente’s positive attitude as a returning leader has helped create a community in Parks in Focus. Not only has he helped everyone get involved in the activities, but he also has grown in his own leadership skills that will set him up for success beyond Parks in Focus.

When reflecting on his favorite parts of being a part of Parks in Focus, Vicente says, “I love just walking around, taking pictures and going on hikes, but I also love the small community that we have. I love the way the workers interact with the kids and then I love the way the kids get along.” 

Click here to learn more about Parks in Focus and TrueMentors.