Mariah Carey imparted some words of wisdom when she visited the kids at the Camp Mariah summer camp to celebrate its 25th anniversary last week.

The Heartbreaker singer established the annual retreat in association with non-profit The Fresh Air Fund in 1994, and has continued to sponsor the program every year since, and to celebrate the camp's 25th anniversary, the diva paid a surprise visit.

After being forced to walk the streets of New York in the rain when her car broke down en route, the singer made up for her tardiness by delivering an "inspiring" question and answer session for the young campers.

"I went to one camp that I hated. I really did not have a good experience," recalled the singer, as she spoke about the highs and lows of life. "I try to make the best of whatever situation I'm in, and sometimes I had a lot of fun, sometimes I didn't."

In addition to recreational activities, Camp Mariah is also a career awareness camp, which Carey told campers was "the most important thing" in life.

Explaining how she started her singing career at age 12 as a result of her childhood, the Always Be My Baby star added: "I had kind of a tough time growing up with my family and stuff like that, so music was my sole inspiration really.

"I kind of didn't have that one person that I said, 'That's who I want to be.' I had to figure it out on my own. So I started working very young, I worked, I did background vocals... learned about the studio, really put the time in."

And the singer was thrilled to have finally made it to the camp.

"I've been wanting to see you guys forever; it's taken me so long to get here," she told the youngsters, adding to People, "To think that it's been going on for that long is unbelievable."