‘From the outside you can’t understand it, and from the inside you can’t explain.’
After only two weeks of being here at Victory Junction (VJ), I can’t imagine a better phrase to describe the magic that occurs in this place. VJ is a camp for children ages 6-16 with chronic and terminal illnesses to come for a week and have the opportunity to be ‘normal.’ Every week this summer we will have the opportunity to work with an amazing group of children from a different disease group, each of whom gets to experience it for free. Children that have never been in the swimming pool before have the opportunity to get in our temperature controlled waterpark with special wheelchairs and other accommodations, allowing them a new freedom. Many children never imagine having the opportunity to ride a zip line because of physical disabilities that prohibit them from climbing up the stairs to reach a higher level. Here, at the only facility like it in the country, they are able to because it lowers the rider directly to the ground, or straight into their wheelchair. Whereas most canoeing and kayaking venues require a person to be able to climb down into it, here at VJ we have a sliding system that allows campers to be transferred into it on land and then the whole boat is slid down the bank into the water. With all of the accommodations and opportunities here at camp, there is nothing a camper cannot do.
I think that this summer, my goals are going to change drastically as we move through. Everyone says that your entire outlook on life will be changed after being here, and I am so ready. As of now, my goal is to make everything I do for the kids. I want to see their eyes light up as they enter these gates and then see tears of joy falling from their eyes as they leave and to know that I played a part in that. I can’t wait until laughter and excitement fills every space. Another goal is to work as a cohesive team with the other counselors in my cabin and to do all I can to be a team player. The last goal I have at this point is to give my all to this place this summer. I hope that I can look back in August and be proud of how much of myself I put into every child and every moment. As my friend said the other night, my ship has already left it’s safe harbor of home, and now I’m here, so all I can do is give it everything I have. I hope I come back in the fall sobbing because I made memories and friendships that will live in my heart forever.
As we say here at camp, we are getting ready to feel our heart race on Sunday when the first campers start to arrive! So think great thoughts for me, and I hope all of your summer projects are going fabulously as well! :D