They Taught Me

When I was 20 years old, I spent my summer working as a counselor at a summer camp.  For one week our campers were burn survivors.  Our camp was overtaken by several nurses, doctors, firefighters, and children who had been through a lot and who taught me so much!

Some burns were minimal, while others were severe.

Some scars were external, while others were internal.

Some burns were accidental, while others were purposeful.

They taught me about courage…

I watched as one of my campers inched forward on the diving board, absolutely terrified.  She wasn’t scared of heights, she was scared her wig would fly off if she jumped.  Two seconds later I watched her plug her nose with one hand as she placed her other on top of her head and jumped bravely into the pool.

They taught me about self-confidence…

Leon was 7 foot of attitude stuffed into a 3 foot nothing little boy.  “Jessica, you’re my date to the dance.”  Of course I agreed, until I found out I was one of many ‘dates.’  After I confronted him (with a smile) he simply replied, “Playas gotta play.”

They taught me about devotion…

Those nurses, doctors, and firefighters took the same week off of work every year to attend camp.  Firefighters dressed up like cheerleaders, nurses left their families, and doctors cooked amazing meals so that every one of those campers could have the best week of the year.

They taught me about acceptance…

Those campers did not care how anybody looked.  These fellow burn victims were their family.  The firefighters, nurses, doctors, and  counselors were their family.  It didn’t matter that they only saw each other for one week a year, all that mattered is that during that week, they weren’t the kids with the scars and the burns, they were just normal, every day kids going to camp and having fun.

They taught me…

That my problems are small by comparison.




3 thoughts on “They Taught Me

  1. This camp sounds like a wonderful place for the kids as well as all the volunteers. It’s incredible how much we can learn from kids who have been through something so terrible.

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