Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 4: Project Reflection

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” –Steve Jobs
This summer I have certainly found something I love to do. It isn’t easy; it takes more emotional, physical, and mental energy than I ever thought I had. It isn’t for everyone; you learn things about kids on a daily basis that break your heart into a million pieces. No week is the same; even if the activities are similar week to week they never play out the same because the kids change so drastically. What may work one week would be a failure to try the next because of the campers you have. Quick thinking is necessary to make adaptations that allow the kids to have a blast and not know what they missed. During immunology week there was a little boy who could only come in contact with water that had been filtered completely. We played water games outside one morning, and realized too late that he would be unable to participate. A couple of staff and counselors quickly created his own slip-n-slide and water game stations by dumping out water bottles. It was an extreme solution, but he talked about it for the rest of the week and listed it as his number one moment.
With all of the constant change, it feels like I am doing a completely different project every week. However, when the parents come to camp to pick up their child on Thursday, it is incredibly evident that we are making a difference. Parents know that kids learn how to be themselves at camp, it is a totally judgment free zone for everyone and it truly gives them a week to be them and to be free of the labels that hold them back in the real world. Not only do parents know that they will be getting happy and more mature kids back, they also have had the opportunity to have a week to themselves. For some families, it isn’t as big of a deal because the camper’s disease does not affect them on a daily basis. However, for some it is a welcome relief that gives the parents a chance to have a short recharge. I am constantly in awe of all that these parents deal with, whether it is the emotional challenges of campers from neuro week, the physical challenges of spina bifida, or the physical challenges of diabetes, these parents lovingly deal with more than they should have to. I have so many stories told by and about campers that show just how life changing their camp experience is. Staff that has been around for multiple years tells me about the changes that have occurred and how cool it is to see campers who are 16 now and started coming to camp when they were 6 years old. I have loved every moment of this summer so far and am excited to see what is to come!

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