*As part of an application for a grant to cover counselor salaries for [camp name]'s medcamp programs, I was asked to write a letter of support. Below is the letter that was submitted with this application packet. I am posting it here on the blog because I enjoy the process of reflective-creative writing, and it is a solid description of my feelings toward camp. Plus, summertime will be here before we know it, so I figured this would be a great way to put us all in the summer spirit!*
February 21, 2011
In 2007, I toured the facilities at [camp name] as part of the American Camp Association's annual Heart of the South Conference. From the moment I set foot on the grounds of [camp name], I knew it was a special place. At the time, I was a counselor at a camp in Louisiana for children with heart conditions. However, in that moment, I knew I had to be a part of the magic that is [camp name].
The following year (2008), I joined the [camp name] family as a counselor at summer camp. Myself and another counselor from heart camp were surprised by the “Welcome Home” sign that awaited our arrival at [camp name]. We wondered whether [camp name] could ever be home to us, after such wonderful experiences elsewhere. However, I am writing this today because I want to assure you, [camp name] is indeed “home” – not only for myself and my co-worker from heart camp, but for hundreds of other young people who have joined the [camp name] family over the years.
My experiences at camp solidified my interest in pursuing national certification as a Child Life Specialist. While [camp name] does not currently employ Child Life Specialists, I have learned so much about the importance of working with children and families to provide opportunities for holistic development and normalization. In the future, I hope to find permanent employment with a medical camp or similar organization whose mission is to serve youth with chronic illnesses.
In addition, my involvement with camp influenced the topic of my graduate research project. As part of the requirements for completion of my Master's degree program, I executed a nationwide study that addressed the current practices for serving youth with special health care needs in the camp setting. This project is just one way camp inspired me to do my part in changing the world, so that all children can experience the joys of summer camp.
Almost four years later, I am eagerly looking forward to spending another summer at “my home away from home.” Following two challenging years in graduate school, I cannot imagine another way I would prefer to spend my summer than surrounded by hundreds of giggling, smiling faces – all of us, eagerly awaiting the time of our lives.
In fact, when I reminisce about camp, I often share my philosophy regarding the experience of counselors at camp. Whereas camp staff are often praised for their service to campers, I must argue the opposite; we are the lucky ones. It is an honor to have worked with such vibrant, accepting, generous, and aspiring individuals. With that in mind, I ask you to consider supporting [camp name] – not just for the campers, but for the counselors, too. The impact this experience has made on mine and hundreds of others' lives is more far reaching than any of us could ever imagine.
Thanks for your consideration,