Have you ever asked your mom for money to buy a new pair of shoes? Well I have and I got upset when she said no. But then for a high school club volunteer project I went to a place that changed my mind on the way I view life and the morals I live by. I was taught many life lessons that altered my ego and my heart. The children changed me by showing me what I need to value the most in life. Camp Sunshine taught me to believe in the value of giving.
Two summers ago I volunteered at a camp for children, toddlers to teens, with life threatening diseases. The week I attended was for children with kidney dysfunctions. A child can only go if they are physically able to participate in the activities we have them do. They are accompanied by their family who also take part in daily activities designed for adults. Some children come back every year, some get better and don’t come back, and some either are too sick or die and can’t come back.
I signed up for the 9 to 12 year old group. They may be sick, but they have just as much energy as a typical preteen has. During the week, the kids engaged in activities that they were able to accomplish. These included swimming in the lake/pool, playing beach volleyball, mini golf, and ice breakers to get to know each other. We ended the experience with a camp out, and what an experience it was. Sick or non-sick, giving 9 and 12 year olds sugar and soda late at night is a terrible and regrettable idea. By the time the counselors got every kid to bed, the fire was dwindling and dawn was approaching.
At the closing ceremony the counselors, parents, and the children all said their goodbyes. I thought that the counselors and I would get teary because these children had taught us to believe in life, but the strangest thing happened. The children, especially the boys, broke down. Not because they were leaving, but because they realized that there are people out there that take time out of their own hectic lives to come be with them and give them heart-warming memories that they can value forever.
Now when I look at the new shoes in the window display, I think about the children who ask their mom for a new kidney so they don’t die. Volunteering at that camp was one of the greatest things I have ever done. These children taught me to appreciate the things I have and not take life for granted. All the materialistic things in the world couldn’t measure up for a second chance at life for these children. This I Believe.
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