"This is an amazing young lady whose strength and attitude have been so inspiring to us," said Kelly Lormand, one of the six counselors for the Second Mile Intensive Learning Experience, or SMILE.
Beamer was among the 34 teenagers referred to the SMILE camp, a leadership skills-building experience for veteran Second Mile participants.
Despite the Second Mile's impending closure, this summer has been business as usual for the State College charity founded by former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted last month of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving young boys he met through the charity.
The charity's board members have filed a motion in Centre County Orphans' Court to transfer millions of dollars in assets and programs for children to Arrow Family & Child Ministries Inc. Texas. The petition says that once the court gives its approval, Second Mile will cease to exist.
Attorneys for victims in the Sandusky case and another who has filed a civil lawsuit in Philadelphia have asked the court to block the transfer. Second Mile's request is on hold as the state Supreme Court has yet to assign an out-of-county judge to the case. The county's four judges have recused themselves.
Meanwhile, a second SMILE camp starts next week for another group of teenage boys and girls from across the state. And a weeklong camp for boys at Juniata College in Huntingdon starts this week.
Leaders say that as long as the Second Mile has the staff and money to run its programs, they will go on until a judge approves the planned closing.
"We don't want to stop the programs and then try to restart them after a transfer because it's a continuous process," said Dave Woodle, who is running Second Mile as interim chief executive. "So I think the best thing for us to do is just keep these programs going.
"It's also driven because parents and the kids definitely want to participate. We had a lot of requests to participate and we want to meet their . . . needs."
The Second Mile has 330 students signed up for its summer camps in 2012, down from about 400 last year. But Woodle and staffer Marc McCann said the scandal was not to blame for the lower number. They said it was the reality of handling a smaller number with fewer staff and less money to pay for the programs.
The atmosphere at Friday's awards ceremony was jovial, as the teenagers cheered for one another and laughed at inside jokes about things that had happened during camp. The story that has overshadowed the Second Mile wasn't mentioned specifically, but the undercurrents were there.
"I know it's been a tough year for everyone," said Second Mile camp director Jeremy Fegert. "All of you felt like you were on an island without a lot of support to go through this."
Campers wrote letters of appreciation to Woodle, staff, and board members for making the camp happen despite the Sandusky scandal.
One of the campers' letters says: "Everything the news and people said about this camp and staff members was very hurtful and hard to understand what people would think of me if I told them I am a part of the camp. Luckily, the people stepping up and standing up for our camp that were not ever associated with it gave me the courage to make sure people knew what the 2 Mile is really about."
The camps took place in the central part of the state and included outdoor activities such as building a zip-line course, canoeing, and hiking. It was also up to the campers to plan their own meals and buy the food, sticking to a budget they drew up.
John Heisey, a camp counselor and teacher in the Philadelphia suburbs, said the campers get to hone their abilities in conflict resolution and develop their social skills while building self-confidence.
The decision to close the Second Mile followed a review by former Philadelphia district attorney Lynne M. Abraham. Woodle has said those findings won't be released to the public and that any questions about what former chief executive Jack Raykovitz knew about allegations were addressed by statements the charity issued on its website last year.