By Nichol Ellis
Spring is here!
We hosted seven amazing families last weekend. It was such a joy to fill our weekend with one single condition group and watch the power of connection organically happen.
Sitting around the table at Parent Coffee Hour and helping to create honest, open, and real conversations, I was reminded of the power of camp and, more specifically, the power of Camp Korey. As the tissue box was passed around the table, parents were able to share the real and honest struggles, fears, and impacts of what it is like to have a child with a life altering medical condition.
The parents were able to ask for advice in a safe space and express their unique journey to others who truly understood. That one hour of connection fed out into the entire weekend and beyond. This weekend was the foot in the door for so much more.
These families bonded so closely that they independently created their own private Facebook group to keep the connection growing and supply the much-needed support beyond the gates of camp.
More specific highlights from the weekend:
Friday night while I was hosting Campfire, I kept looking out into the shy and reserved crowd wondering when I would get them to join in. Saturday it happened, and I couldn’t get them off the stage! Singing, dancing, performing gymnastics and skits, dressing in costumes…you name it, they were doing it!
We hosted some creative archery activities to spice it up a little bit. ARTchery was a huge hit with campers trying to pop balloons with paint in them to create art. It was harder than we all expected, and I joyfully admit that the PARENTS were the ones who were most into it! We had parents competing against each other and cheering each other on. And when a balloon was hit, the entire group erupted with the loudest cheers I have ever heard!
We had some amazing volunteers this weekend! Juliana, a former camper turned summer staffer, stepped up in a huge way and helped on the program side of things! She was a rock star!
Jadon was a former camper and is now a Camp Korey intern, served as a volunteer for the first time. He was our photographer for the weekend.
During Cabin Chat on Sunday morning, a mom, with tears in her eyes, said, “This is the first time my son has been able to be his true self.”
One camper who had been shooting the crossbow for the entire activity period, finally hit the bullseye. She looked around. And in a sweet, authentic moment of joy, yelled, “I did it!”
As everyone was saying goodbye on Sunday morning to head back home, I overheard a camper (who was bullied in school and struggled to make friends) look at her mom with the biggest grin say, “I made a life-long friend!”
Simply said, this is why we do what we do! Helping to create the transformational moments described above, are the reasons we spend hours:
- Cleaning and getting ready
- Setting up tables and tents
- Prepping food
- Raising money
- Recruiting amazing volunteers
- Creating innovative programming
This is camp, and we are Camp Korey!