A few weeks ago Jacob and I were fortunate enough to spend the weekend as camp counselors at Camp Courage – a camp for developmentally disabled adults. This year was Jacob’s 12th consecutive year going, and my first – but definitely not last! It was wonderful.
I’ve been a camp counselor at youth camps many times before, and it’s always a very rewarding experience – but this was different. This was by far the most fulfilling experience of my life. I have never been somewhere so free of judgement. Even more than that, shamefully i must admit that i don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time not thinking of myself at all. At camp, everything revolves around the campers and their happiness. They’re normal and we’re there to support them, and mostly to just have fun. We went camping, swimming, played bingo, went on nature walks, and made crafts, but the most fun I had was in our cabin. I was teamed up with another girl named Loralyn and we had 4 girls in our cabin – and they were incredible. I have never laughed so much in my life. We joked around and teased each other non-stop. Loralyn even ended up with a surprise in her bed one night (stuffed animal, nothing crazy) from a particularly mischievous camper. In short, it was everything camp should be, and more.
A post about Camp Courage wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the woman in charge of it all, Janet Woodward. As I said before, I’ve been to many camps (at least 1 every summer since 3rd grade), and I’ve never seen anyone as organized as she is. She had a plan for everything and even when mistakes happened on the part of others (like the camp site double booking us on the first day), she took charge and everything was taken care of. The communication between the campers, nurses, and staff was made effortless by her simple and efficient systems. when events like this are administered well, it makes it easy for people to take part and want to volunteer year after year, because all we had to do was have fun with the campers. No pressure.
I loved it and can’t wait to go back.