Behind the scenes of Mariah Carey's summer camp for underprivileged kids

For 25 years, the superstar has quietly been the main benefactor of a summer camp north of New York City that helps low income kids reach for the stars.
7:02 | 08/07/19

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Transcript for Behind the scenes of Mariah Carey's summer camp for underprivileged kids
Reporter: Screaming fans, standing ovations, Mariah Carey is used to that. This audience is different. These little fans are actually at summer camp. Specifically, camp Mariah. Thank you, camp Mariah, I've been wanting to see you guys forever. Reporter: Mariah's followers worldwide are familiar with her music. Sweet, sweet fantasy baby Reporter: She's a fantasy to some, heartbreaker to others. Heartbreaker Reporter: A hero to many. A hero lies in you Reporter: But fans might not be used to seeing her like this, hanging out around a fire pit, making s'mores. A designer tee shirt and jeans and stiletto heels qualify as her camping gear. She's here celebrating 25 years of her camp, where every year hundreds of low income city kids get to experience a rite of summer passage, summer sleep what do you see when you walk in that room and look at the faces? It was afterwards when we came out here and we met a couple of the kids, and they said they wouldn't be who they were if it hadn't been for the camp. That's pretty mind-blowing. Reporter: 25 years ago, why a camp? I went to a publicly-funded camp when I was growing up. I had some difficult experiences with, and I thought you know what? Kids should be able to go to a camp where they feel safe and they feel like they can learn something. And this is a career awareness camp. Doo, doo, doo doo, doo, doo, doo Reporter: You might not realize it, but you've probably seen camp Mariah before. It was featured in her iconic video for "Always be my baby." Why that video? Why did you shoot it here? I just thought it would be something sweet. I think there's like an innocence to that song, and I wanted to feel, you know, just free and easy and like summertime when you meet, you know, your first, that first little crush that you have. Reporter: Camp Mariah sits about 70 miles north of New York here many kids get their first taste of life in the wilderness. We are at camp Mariah which opened in 1994. Reporter: Fatima is part of the non-profit organization which runs six camps for underprivileged kids, including camp Mariah. Over the last 25 years, more than 3,000 kids have spent their Summers here. She's visited our young people, come to our benefits, been a member of our board. This is not just a name. Reporter: For three and a half weeks, they take robotics and coding classes. They study dance and fashion. They also get the typical summer camp stuff, too. Gregory is a camp Mariah graduate, back this year as a counselor and instructor. He says learning to swim changed his world. After I completed swimming, I said nothing's imssible for me. That was one of the hardest things for me to do. Reporter: He's now the legacy of this place, a 19-year-old college student studying robotics and mechanical engineering and inspiring the Ah, I didn't see that. Reporter: As the day ends, Gregory and the kids head down to a special anniversary dinner with Mariah and her special surprise guest. Ground-breaking ballet dancer misty Copeland, a Mariah Carey super fan. I wouldn't be a ballerina if it wasn't for her music. It sounds so crazy. Reporter: ABC cameras were with misty 20 years ago when she was an up and coming ballerina, choreographing to her favorite Mariah song "Looking in." Being biracial and I saw myself through her. She took hold of her career and had her own voice. Reporter: Misty hosted an impromptu dance party with the kids, including Mariah's twins. But Mariah herself was stranded an hour away. The sprinter that we're in has stopped. Reporter: Her van broke down on the way. We're trying to get there, guys. We're waiting for the other car to come. Reporter: The music legend stopped by a local corner store and surprised a fan inside. There were street shout outs. Oh, thank you. I love you, too! Reporter: And a sidewalk why are you so obsessed with me boy I want to know Reporter: And after hours of delay and a roadside rescue, she finally arrived. The kids presented Mariah with an anniversary cake, and this it was outside for campfire s'mores. Oh, mine is on fire. I like them burnt. I'm always late. My publicist was saying they're exploring helic going to do? I couldn't not be here. Reporter: You were considering helicoptering into camp. Why not? Reporter: When you started did you think you'd make it five years, 15 years, did you have that kind of foresight? When I put my mind to it, this is for life, I'm not doing this just for laughs, know what I mean? We're doing something for real. Reporter: That passion shows in her work. One sweet day Reporter: Her single with boyz II men held a legendary chart-topping record for nearly as long as her camp has been around. Take my horse to the old town road Reporter: But she graciously ceded her title to little nas X. One sweet day is a record and song that means a lot to me and obviously, boyz II men and myself did the record together. I think that's why the song stayed the top song of all time for a very long time. And now we have "Old town road", so that's great. Reporter: Though this place is called camp Mariah, don't expect Mariah to be camping ever. You don't consider yourself You know, with the right bug repellant, hair and ensemble, I could be outdoorsy -- in a photo. Reporter: But she wants kids to keep coming and experiencing life in a way they have never before.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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