It’s been almost a decade since I first went to Special Camps. Each year there’s always one moment that sticks out in my mind. Sometimes it’s during a crazy dance party, or in between cannonballs at the pool, or shooting a bullseye with a camper for the first time at archery. I look around me and I’m just hit with that Special Camps magic. It’s the genuine, unconditional love of the campers, and the tireless efforts of the counselors to give them the best week possible. It’s witnessing the pure joy of people, who are often judged and outcast for their differences, in an environment where they are loved and celebrated for who they are as people.
I’ve never, ever viewed camp as volunteer work. I don’t think I’m a “special kind of person” for wanting to go year after year. I wish you could experience what I get to each summer:
-I wish you could hear a camper say how they’re having the best time ever when you’re doing the Wobble together at a dance party.
-I wish you could see campers and counselors cracking up together during dinner.
-I wish you could experience a camper hugging you good night and telling you they love you after knowing them for approximately 1 day.
-I wish you could hear the counselors sharing stories about the hilarious mischief their campers got into that day.
-I wish you could see the campers beam with pride after performing at the talent show.
-I wish you could see the tears that flow when it’s time to say goodbye.
I wish more people knew. I wish we lived in a world that had the capacity to return these campers’ love, no questions asked.
Maybe one day we’ll get there; maybe people will stop fearing what they don’t understand. Until then I am honored that for one week, at White Pines Ranch in Oregon, IL, we get to create this space for these people who deserve it more than anything. Special Camps holds my whole heart- I’m already counting down the days til next year. 💜[wonderplugin_gallery id=”3″]