I recently had the amazing experience of being a camp counselor for a Christian-based kid’s camp. This camp was specifically for children involved in foster care. Each child was so special and made an impact to me in one way or another.
Hearing the stories of what they had been through and what they had seen at such a young age was heartbreaking. On the other hand, each and every day my heart was warmed by how loving, kind, helpful and understanding these children were. They went each day with a smile on their face, they ran like kids run and screamed with joy like kids do. What struck me the most was how grateful these children were. They cherished every moment like it was their last, every laugh was filled with so much joy. Every day was eye opening.
At the camp I had a partner, we took care of four lovely little girls; (names have been changed) Maria, Kelly, Sarah and Natalie. They were the nicest girls I had ever met.
Maria was so sweet. She never said no and loved to do things for others. When Maria first met Kelly, she had come up to me and told me she wanted to make something for her to make her smile. Maria never did something to hurt someone and if someone was sad she would stand by them until they got better. She did everything for everyone else and it was beautiful to see such a small child, do something so wonderful.
Maria taught me selflessness.
Kelly was very independent. Growing up, she took care of her two younger siblings, therefore she was the “parent”. She was very confident and loved to be the center of attention. She would constantly run to the “DJ” to pick the music, then run up to the stage and dance. Every night her and I talked about Jesus and she had so many questions for me. She never once held back any question and was very open about talking about her story with me.
Kelly taught me independence.
Sarah was very sensitive, she cried a lot. I often had to remind her that we all wanted her to have a good time and she was okay. She was so sweet and loved to play. She was always making sure that if she was having a good time that the other people around her were too. She did not like it when others were left out.
Sarah taught me kindness.
Natalie was the oldest, she was the most loving. She made me cry, often, not because of anything bad but because she would nonchalantly speak of the horrific times she went through and then run off and play and laugh. She loved everyone and was always uplifting. She was so polite and upright in everything she did.
Natalie taught me a lot about strength.
The four girls together, they had taught me love. I used to think love was just a strong feeling someone felt about another, but through this camp I learned it was so much more.
Love is a verb. To love someone is to work with them to make sure they never feel abandoned. Love is a noun. To give someone love is to do something nice for them not to make you feel good but to make them feel great. Love is an adjective. To feel love is to feel peace, happiness, and, as Maria would say, “all the good feelings.”
Love does not depend on time. This camp was only five days and I can say that I love these girls with all my heart, I pray for them daily and when I said good bye I cried for days.
Going into the camp I had never expected to be changed or come out seeing life differently, but I guess the best things occur unexpectedly.
Side note: If this interests you find a camp near you, http://rfk.org/