As we celebrate National Volunteer Month, we are so grateful for volunteers like Evan, who took a chance on something new in joining camp and whose dedication now as a long-returning volunteer makes the camp experience possible for our campers! Read on to hear from Evan about why he volunteers at Camp Korey:
When I first heard about Camp Korey in 2015, I was not particularly stoked on volunteering, but I knew it would be a learning experience so I went ahead and jumped in. Man, was I blown away when I volunteered the last two weeks of 2015 summer camp!
Not only was I able to affect so many campers’ lives, but I also learned a lot and grew as a person. After my experience, I decided to join Camp Korey as a counselor the whole summer the following year, and I have continued to volunteer repeatedly as both a summer counselor and a Family Pal.
My favorite part about volunteering as a counselor or a family pal is the opportunity to be present. At camp, it is so easy to forget about all the normal day-to-day woes and truly experience all the spectacular moments at camp. Another one of my favorite parts about camp is that I am constantly humbled by the strength of the campers. So many of the things you take for granted are things that campers struggle through day to day. I am so grateful to be able to learn from each camper.
Campers, no matter how many times they come to camp, gain confidence in themselves and their abilities. At camp, each camper always has the opportunity to try something new and grow as a person from it. For some campers, camp is even their first time away from home. I see the most growth from first-time younger campers as they go from “I’m scared, I miss my family and can’t sleep” to “I feel like I don’t even need my Mom” (both are actual quotes).
I have learned so much from camp that it is hard to pick just a few things. The biggest lesson I learned was to “Rip up your cool card!” You really are not serving yourself or others by having a cool card. Do silly things, smile your brightest, and do not be afraid to fail. Happiness is contagious and when you are a goofball, others will brighten up, smile, and laugh and the world becomes a better place. “If we all light up we can scare away the dark.”
Camp has taught me to try and always be my genuine self in every interaction. It does not matter how different any person is, they are still a person, and you are as different from them as they are from you. The more different a person is from you, the more you can learn from them and “love without fear in your heart.”
I look forward to continuing to come back to camp, and see the campers grow year-by-year. I look forward to seeing the amazing people they become as they go through camp. I look forward to meeting all the new people I meet at camp. I look forward to trying new things and having fun!
If you are going to volunteer at summer camp, try to come for at least two weeks, that way you get to experience 2x the camp, get to know the staff better over the weekend, and become closer to camp in general.
If you are interested in the transformative experience of volunteering at Camp Korey, check out our opportunities here.