College is starting early for some Hawaii high school students.
They're only juniors, but they're getting a crash course in college life at the Atherton YMCA.
"I just feel very proud of myself. I hope that I inspire many young teens, like myself, to try and go down that right path that I'm doing as well," said camper Kayla Marrie Thomas.
Thomas is a junior at Nanakuli High School Junior and says preparing to attend a four-year college is a tremendous accomplishment.
"No one actually in my family ever went to college. I'd be the first to graduate from high school too," said Thomas.
That's the case for many students participating in the YMCA College Camp this summer. An extensive application process earlier this year narrowed a group of 100 at-risk students down just 38.
"They come from areas where they have a hard time affording even a meal, so to think about something like college isn't even a possibility," said Ananda Chou Director, Director of Atherton YMCA.
The camp is a week long program that offers confidence-building exercises, networking opportunities and gives students a chance to live the college life.
At by end of the camp -- each student receives a conditional letter of acceptance to a University of Hawaii campus.
"We help them through everything like financial aid, starting their personal statement – all important things and we support them through that journey," said Chou.
All made possible by donations from the community and time from volunteers. It's something Kayla is happy to have.
"I enjoy being around them making new memories and meeting new people," said Thomas.
Students say camp gives them an extra support system with dozens of new brothers and sisters aiming for one goal: higher education.