If we were to summarize in a word why people, especially teens, wear masks, it would be FIMAGE. What's FIMAGE? It's short for Fear of Image. You don't have to look far into a group of young people to see examples of all the things they do to create an image. It's in their clothing, music, language, attitude, hair, make-up, hobbies - even in their choice of friends. Why do people have an image? To keep themselves looking good.
Some people spend a lot of time creating and preserving their image. They avoid things that make them look uncool; things that aren't good for their image. They fear damage to their image. That's FIMAGE. SuperCamp grad Sarah Samuel wrote, "If you have FIMAGE, it means you aren't comfortable doing certain things because of fear of what other people will think of you. You don't have self-confidence and you're always worrying.
As teens go deeper into their exploration of their own FIMAGE, they come to a major realization - by constantly fearing what will happen if they don't maintain their image, life will pass them by. If they want to branch out, try new things, and find out who they really are, they have to let go of their image! Camper Dominique DeRoche told us, "It was hard at first to let go of FIMAGE, but it made me feel better after I let go, and now I'm not paranoid about how I appear to people." In our process, teens have the opportunity to do some wacky things in front of their peers to practice letting go of their FIMAGE. In the context of a bunch of fun high-energy games, they can make crazy faces, ridiculous sounds, or fall on the carpet writhing and screaming. Nobody can look cool doing these things - that's the point. They can have the experience of looking uncool in front of their peers and being totally okay with it.
We facilitators do it with them, so it's all a big group experience. We take it to the extreme so they know they can take it to the middle on their own. In the end they realize that not only did they not get ridiculed or rejected, they actually had a lot of fun. Teens speak with a lot of enthusiasm about life beyond FIMAGE.
"Letting go of FIMAGE makes your life greater because you let go of the insecurities you have about what others think of you," camper Bre Steinbarth told us. "You open up and let others see you without your mask. I created my own style, and I'm not afraid to act like myself and talk to other people." "It feels good letting go and being able to be a 'weirdo' and have no one judge you," wrote camper Joe Dugan. Camper James Ohnoki told us, "It's like taking a 100-pound bag of rice off your shoulders, like finally being free after being chained to a tree." Camper Jordan Walton said, "I was able to show who I truly was for the first time.
SuperCamp is held at eight beautiful colleges across the U.S. throughout the summer. Quantum U takes place at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. More information on our programs is available at http://www.supercamp.com and http://www.quantum-u.com . We also offer a unique 3-day Parent Weekend at which parents of kids in SuperCamp gain an insight into what their children are learning in their programs.