Hey, Camp Fans!
As we make our way through the captivating stories of summer camp from this year’s 'Share Your Camp Story' Contest right here at Everything Summer Camp, each submission is getting its own spotlight right here on our Blog. Today, we're thrilled to introduce you to Lauren D. who wrote in to share her relationship with camp for the past quarter century at Camp Fatima EC Week. Check it out:
“You probably don't get a lot of camp stories from adults that go to camp, but I get an experience like no other! I have been volunteering at Camp Fatima Exceptional Citizens Week in New Hampshire since I was 18yo and I'm 43 now. It is the one week a year, I look forward to the most. Camp Fatima is normally a boy's summer camp, but one week each summer it is reserved for EC week. The campers range from ages 9-100 and all have special needs. This camp is run completely by volunteers and is 100% free to campers. Each camper is paired 1:1 with a counselor for 24 hours/day for the entirety of the week.
Some of the campers’ parents or caregivers have never had a week off, so this week is as much a gift for them as it is for the campers. Caring for someone with special needs is a 24/7 responsibility and we only have them for a week. Some campers have never been away from their caregivers, even well into adulthood, so each year I try my hardest to give my camper the best possible experience. It doesn't matter if they are in a wheelchair, have Downs syndrome, autism etc. This week none of that matters.
They are treated like royalty. They get to ride horses, go on speed boats, shoot a bow and arrow, sing in a talent show... The list goes on and on. They don't have those limitations for that week. They can't always verbalize their feelings, but the smile tells all. EC week really is heaven on Earth and I consider myself lucky that I not only get to experience it every year, but I leave there with a new, very exceptional friend!”
What a touching camp story, Lauren! You’re right! We rarely get stories from adults who have actually gone to camp and certainly none quite like yours. That’s awesome that Camp Fatima provides an annual week-long getaway for campers with special needs and how awesome of you that you volunteer to spend a week every year to spend some one-on-one time with an exceptional camper! Thanks for all the care and fun you’ve shown these Exceptional Citizen campers for the past 25 years, Lauren! And thanks for sharing your experience with us!
For anybody interested in attending or volunteering for Exceptional Citizens Week, get a closer look at the experience by clicking right here. Thanks for reading, everybody. And, as always, Happy Camping!