Each year I’m involved with camp, I realize how lucky I am to be a part of the experience. Camp has changed me forever. The friends I’ve made and the bonds that have been created are for a lifetime. My first year as director was amazing. I’m always inspired by the Adult Adoptee counselors who volunteer 6 weeks of their summer to be counselors for the youth Adoptees. I suppose it’s their way of giving back, hoping they can help a younger Adoptee through struggles they themselves lived through.
During this past summer, I saw hundreds of Adoptees smiling, laughing and creating beautiful relationships. In the same instance, they would talk about struggles, challenges and triumphs. I see myself in so many of their faces and lives; the shy, timid camper becomes unafraid to share their story about adoption, racism and identity. Their story IS my story. Because like me, many of our campers grow up in white families in small towns with little to no diversity, and because of those environments, identity can be a confusing issue.
The community of adoptees we are a part of is so important. Every summer when the camp week is over, dry eyes are sparse and hugs are abundant. It’s proof to me of the tremendous value of normalizing the Adoptee experience at a time in their lives when they need it most. They’re not alone, and that’s the priceless gift of community we have the privilege of being part of at camp.
To see videos of the 2013 Camps: