Growing up in a small community, Ben struggled with feeling alone – he felt like he was the only one who was different. He was a cautious kid who preferred to sit back and watch others instead of joining in the fun. At eight years old, Ben and his family hadn’t met many other kids with craniofacial differences.
When Ben learned about Camp Korey, everything changed.
At Camp Korey, Ben connects with other kids and builds new friendships. His camp friends understand. They know all about surgeries, dealing with people staring at them, and the feelings that come with growing up with a complex medical condition. Ben remembers, “Before coming to camp, I’d never really met anyone who could truly understand what I was going through. Sharing stories and talking with others at Camp Korey really makes me feel at home.”
When they picked him up from camp his first week, Ben’s parents described him as being totally transformed from the kid they dropped off. “His face was covered in paint, he was completely engaged with everything and everyone around him, and he was so excited!”
Ben and his family return to camp every chance they get. At Camp Korey, they’ve made lifelong memories and built networks with other families through Summer Camp, Family Weekends, Family Adventure Days, and the Building Leaders Out of Camp Korey (BLOCK) teen program that encourages campers to take charge of their futures.
“Letting loose without being judged is a really good feeling. I take that feeling out into the world, and I feel a little braver about just being me.”
Ben hopes to return to Camp Korey as a counselor, where he can be a leader for other kids who may be feeling alone. “I’ll tell the younger campers it’s going to be an amazing, eye-opening experience that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. It certainly was that for me. I want to inspire them to keep coming back.”
You can help kids like Ben and their families build a circle of support, gain the confidence to be who they truly are, and make new friends. Please join us in making a gift towards Camp Korey’s $125,000 end-of-year giving goal by December 31.
Donate using the form below or call us at (360) 416-4120 to make a gift of stock. Every gift counts! Thank you for helping us bring the simple joys of childhood to kids with complex medical conditions, 100% free of charge to their families!
P.S. A good friend of camp has pledged to match every gift made through December 31, up to $50,000!