Hello there, my name is Samantha Arce! I am 17 years old and have been with A BroaderWay since the very beginning. A Broaderway started in the summer of 2011 and I was one of the first campers ever to participate and to graduate from the program. Camp BroaderWay helped me become the woman that I am today. It may sound cheesy, but it’s the truth. When I was younger I was a very shy, reserved girl. I preferred to stay in the back of the group rather than in the front. At camp, it’s impossible to hide which isn’t a bad thing. You may think you’re hiding from the eyes of the Counselors and Creative Team, but they see you.
For my first year at camp I stayed under the radar for the most part, but the second year was when I became more comfortable with myself. It was the first ever talent show and I decided that I was going to sing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. When the day came I was so nervous. I kept thinking of how everything could go wrong. Finally, it was my turn and the song flowed out of me. My nerves were calmed and I felt as if I was in a dream. I even brought other campers on stage with me to sing and dance along. That moment is one that I will cherish forever. The shy girl was stepping out of her comfort zone and embracing being in front of a crowd. My performance led me to be seen by one of our amazing creative directors, Jeanine and she told me in front of everyone I would have a singing solo in the final show that we have when we arrive back to NYC for our parents. I was teary-eyed and shocked. All this time I thought I was going unnoticed when it was the complete opposite. Since then I have become more comfortable with doing anything in front of numerous people, boosting up my confidence majorly.
A BroaderWay is more than just a camp and more than a foundation, it’s a family. Even though camp is only ten days, time flies by. You meet new people and at the end of the whole experience it feels like you have known them for years. Then when you come back together for events in the city and reminisce over memories, your bond with everyone becomes stronger. I was always in the oldest group of campers. Whenever a new group of girls came in, I could see myself in each of them. This was a whole new experience for them and it can seem scary. As the days go by they become less afraid to be put on the spot and embrace the whole experience. They learn more about themselves just like I did. With A BroaderWay you find your own way of self expression, whether it’s singing, dancing, acting, basketball, or knitting (Yes, we also knit).
There is no judgement, no anger, no bad energy. We all come together as one and learn from each other. More importantly, it doesn’t just end after four years, ABW makes sure that everyone keeps in touch and informs campers, past and present, of new opportunities that can be very beneficial to them. I am still involved with ABW, even after six years. I was a camper for four years, a Counselor in Training for two, and now I am an intern for my Senior Year Project. No matter how many years go by, ABW will always be in my heart and every graduate, senior, junior, sophomore, freshman, counselor, creative member and general staff member are all shining stars and family to me.