Being Truly Happy

Sarah - Signal Mtn, Tennessee
Entered on January 20, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that true happiness comes from helping others. Being selfless brings me a joy that I could never get from doing something purely for myself. I realized this one summer after working at a camp with small kids. I wasn’t paid and it was exhausting work, but it helped me realize how fulfilling serving someone else is.

When I was younger, I attended camp every summer. At that camp, there were young leaders, “Leaders in Training.” These teenagers came to camp every summer to help all over camp for no pay. After nap time every day, we campers had tree house time; a full thirty minutes when we got to go down to the waterfront and swing on the swings, take out canoes in the lake, play in the tree house, and eat a refreshing snack. This was one of the times in which we got to see the “LITs” in action. I looked up to these leaders and wanted so badly to be one of them. Finally, the summer came when I made the transition from camper to “LIT.”

During the two summers when I worked, there was hardly a moment in which I thought about myself, and I was truly happy. Helping with activities made for some humorous encounters with the campers, and the younger ones were always eager to get to know me. I also helped with meals. Setting up for the campers was always enjoyable. I spent almost an hour preparing the dining hall for the campers to come eat. I didn’t get to eat until after the campers had left, but every time a hand shot up from one of the tables indicating that the campers needed more food, it was a race to see which of the LITs could get there first. It was a fun game we played with each other. As we handed out desserts every day, we each had our usual tables; it gave me a chance to learn a lot of the campers by name.

I fell in love with these campers. The days were exhausting and the work was hard, but every time a camper slipped their hand in mine and wanted me to walk them to the next activity, it gave me a truly happy feeling that only comes from doing things for others.