Working Together We Can Make A Difference
“It’s so wonderful to be treated special. You get a chance to see what life is like when you are important. It is not ‘pity me’ because I am sick, but because I count, my life counts, and it does matter that I am here and alive. Some of us that are sick may never grow up, but for just this one special week out of our lives, the world is given to us.” Keaton, Age 14.
Those are words describing a young boy’s experience while spending a week at Give Kids The World (www.GKTW.com). Give Kids The World is a 70 acre, non-profit resort in Kissimmee, FL for children with life-threatening illnesses. Their one wish is to visit Central Florida’s famous theme-parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World.
Keaton, 14 at the time he shared these words of inspiration and hope, lost his battle with cancer a year later.
At the age of 7, I spent an extended period of time in the hospital, so I can relate to some of what Keaton shared. The children in the ward I was in at the time did not have the opportunity to go to a place like GKTW. We did, however, feel important due to the work of volunteers who visited our ward spreading words of encouragement, reading books, and playing with us. I share this story because I personally gained from that experience, and saw the impact that volunteering can have on someone. And it lingers, and has become a pro-active part of my own life.
Everyone who volunteers has their own story to tell. It may be a personal experience or it may be more general, such as a desire to give back somehow to the community in which they live or visit.
Volunteers. CAMP Rehoboth has been able to offer all of its programs throughout the years because of volunteers, supporters and sponsors. I could list all of the programs that CAMP offers in a bulleted format, yet I think it is more effective to share some stories, as it adds a face to the reality of the message.
While working at the convention center for Sundance this past September staffing a table, and providing information to those who stopped by, a young man came and asked for some area information. He left, then quickly turned around, came back in and hesitantly asked me what does “this organization” do?
A friend had mentioned something to him about it. I reviewed some of our services and then he again hesitantly stated, “My friend mentioned testing.”
“Yes,” I responded, “CAMP Rehoboth offers HIV/AIDS and other testing.”
At a CAMP event, a question was posed about what CAMP offers other than dance parties. Avoiding confrontation, a Board member of CAMP Rehoboth said, “Let me give you an example of the important work we do and the services we provide. One of you sitting at this table came to me last summer, and asked me about getting tested for HIV. Within 24 hours, that person had contacted CAMP, scheduled a test, and had his fears calmed. I know what it meant to that person and hopefully none of you will experience that fear. But I encourage all of you to use our services in the same fashion. Get tested regularly and help us get the word out about CAMP.”
At CAMP’s end of summer Volunteer on Vacation (VOV) celebration, as Angel Cox signed a photo she had taken at one of the VOV events, the other youth from the West Rehoboth Community Center were whispering and pointing with pride. CAMP Rehoboth offers programs to build self esteem.
I serve on CAMP Rehoboth’s Board and chair the Volunteer Committee. The Committee consists of Steve Hoult, Jane Blue, Chris Beagle, and Cory Johnson. We are charged with recommending policies and procedures relative to volunteer development, oversight, and recognition, as well as conducting volunteer recruitment, training, and evaluations for CAMP Rehoboth programs, events and projects.
We are looking for two other community members with volunteer coordination experience to serve on the committee with us. In addition, we have a need for several volunteer coordinators for various CAMP events.
Whether you volunteer at a CAMP event, work with the Rainbow Thumb Club, or participate in the Volunteer on Vacation program, each volunteer is vital to CAMP Rehoboth being able to continue fulfilling its mission.
This is an official CALL TO ACTION, folks. Please complete the volunteer form online if you would like to volunteer with us. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer coordinator, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I can explain the responsibilities in more detail, and hopefully inspire you to join this dynamic group of special people doing special things for other very special people.
With all of the headlines these days focusing on the negative, wouldn’t it feel great to become an active part of the solution? Part of a positive, productive community organization focused on Creating a More Positive (CAMP) Rehoboth? Together, with your commitment, we can—as that’s the true power of CAMP Community.