CAMP Rehoboth May Save Your Life
Okay. So it’s an exaggeration that CAMP Rehoboth may save your life. The only way that might happen is if you conk out in the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard and some young hunk starts CPR until the EMTs or the ambulance arrives.
But CAMP Rehoboth, not only may, but will prolong your life. If you don’t believe that, you should read a recent article in the New York Times by science writer Jane Brody. Her “Personal Health” column appears each Tuesday.
Recently she wrote about the loss of her husband after forty-four years together. For her, the second year after his death was harder to deal with than the first during which she had a lot of support from family and friends. “Things quieted down a lot the second year,” she wrote. “People returned to their lives and, I guess expected I had learned to cope on my own. And to a large extent that was true.” Continuing, she writes, “… But something was clearly missing. There was an emptiness that may be hard to understand unless you’ve been through it.”
While trying to understand and fill that emptiness Ms. Brody came across a book on her library shelf, Healthy at 100, by John Robbins. “I’m not sure how I missed perusing this marvelous book when it was published in 2006, but I’m awfully glad I found it now.” In addition to the expected advice on diet, exercise, and mental stimulation, Robbins devotes a major portion of the book to relationships and the importance of others in our lives.
He quotes a study done by a Baylor University psychologist, Larry Scherwitz, who taped conversations with 600 men, a third of them with heart disease. “Dr. Scherwitz counted how often the men used first person pronouns—I, me, mine—and found that those who used them most often were most likely to have heart disease and, when followed for several years were most likely to have heart attacks.” The clear lesson Scherwitz points out is, “Give your time and energy to others; let others have their way; do things for reasons other than furthering your own needs.”
In another study Robbins cited, called the “Beta Blocker Heart Attack Trial,” 2,300 men who had survived heart attack were analyzed for multiple factors. Those with strong social connections faced only one-quarter the risk of death as those not socially connected, even when factors like smoking, diet, alcohol, and exercise were taken into account. “In fact social connectedness had a greater influence on survival than the heart drug being tested.” And what better way to be socially connected than as a CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer? That’s why CAMP Rehoboth may help extend your life, if not save it.
CAMP Rehoboth is all about connectedness—with each other and with the community. And now, in its twenty-second year as a community service organization, CAMP Rehoboth is dependent on the commitment of its volunteers in a myriad of ways. In each issue of Letters, Chris Beagle’s Volunteer Spotlight column highlights a CAMP Rehoboth volunteer. It’s a wonderful way to get to know some of your neighbors and to discover what CAMP Rehoboth means in the lives of many of the volunteers. The welcome mat is always out. “...there’s always something to do. ...We always need new volunteers,” according to the CAMP website.
Venture out of your cobweb encrusted comfort zone and sign up as a CAMP volunteer today knowing that social connectedness may have a greater influence of the length of your life than any of the drugs you’re currently taking. Additionally, connectedness will enhance the quality of your life as well.
Volunteer! It’s good for your health.
John Siegfried, a former Rehoboth resident, lives in Ft. Lauderdale. He is the author of Gray & Gay, A Journey of Self-acceptance. Email John Siegfried