Camp Laurel was such an amazing and unforgettable experience. I first stumbled upon the Laurel Foundation through an email from my college. I read the short synopsis of what they do for children affected by HIV/AIDS and when I looked more into it, I found the camp counselor position to be very interesting and something I knew I would love to do. I called six months before camp and through talking with Lauren, The Laurel Foundation’s volunteer director, got to know a bit more about the organization. After passing through two very intense interviews, I was finally accepted as a counselor at Camp Laurel’s Summer Camp program.
During camp, I felt like I got to know myself better and noticed the extent I can open up to people. In general, I know I’m outgoing and can be crazy, but I never knew I could act like this in front of people I barely knew. I did things I would never do such as wear face paint that made me look completely ridiculous for the Halloween-themed day, dance crazily and enthusiastically, and sing my heart out which, for the most part, I only do in the shower. Also, I had to kill bugs and be the brave adult to guide kids in the dark to go to the bathroom, even though I fear bugs and get anxious in the dark. I did all these crazy things I wouldn’t normally do outside of camp for the kids. I wanted to make sure they were happy and safe.
Overall, being a camp counselor was such an awesome experience that I can’t wait to do again, hopefully, next summer! I really loved the feeling of making kids laugh, being depended on, and being part of this family. I really did learn so much. There were struggles during camp that were inevitable but I pulled through it, learned how to act in those situations, and grew stronger because of it. In addition, I will forever love the camp songs and miss the sound of kids singing “There Ain’t no Flies On Us” during meal time, until I hear it again.