Name: Cameron James Skaggs
From: Boise, ID
School: Renaissance High School
a high school senior who is within weeks of graduating to the next
stage of my life, it is difficult not to look back and reminisce over
the events that have taken place over the last four years of my life.
While there are plenty of good times to recall, the best memories
that I have stored occurred during volunteering. Committing oneself
to giving back to his or her community is one of the most important
actions that can be performed. Selflessly serving others is
beneficial for every member involved. Although volunteering is
intended to assist the underserved, it is arguably more impactful to
the volunteer. These ideas regarding service have been fostered by my
father, a retired member of the United States Air Force. His actions
and words have inspired me to contribute to my community.
familial ties to the military led me to a volunteer opportunity at
the Boise Veterans Affairs Hospital in Idaho. There are a surplus of
military veterans and a shortage of hospital employees to serve them.
During the summer between my junior and senior year, I devoted 30
hours a week to volunteering at the V.A. I was asked to assist the
nurses in the Pre-Ambulatory Care sector of the hospital. While I was
there, my responsibilities included assembling patient charts, aiding
patients in the check-in process, answering phone calls, and
discharging patients after surgery. As a volunteer, I was clearly not
allowed to administer any patient care. So, my duty was to allow the
nurses the maximum amount of time to care for the patient.
Essentially, I performed the role of a secretary for the nurses. This
meant that there was hardly a dull moment during my time volunteering
there would be slow days during which there was less work to be done.
It was during these days that I experienced the most benefits of
volunteering at the V.A. I faced my biggest challenges and reaped my
largest satisfactions on these days. When fewer patients were
scheduled to arrive, it allowed me to spend more time talking with
each patient. I would spend up to an hour conversing with each
service man and woman who bravely protected our country, many of whom
gladly shared their personal accounts. I heard beautiful love stories
and valiant war stories, along with stories of loss and stories of
fear. These were often difficult occurrences to face with these men
and women. It was undoubtedly the most humbling experiences of my
I gained a new perspective on my own life through this volunteer
experience. I realized that life is fragile and that it is important
to live with a purpose. I was encouraged to adopt a forward-looking
paradigm for my life. To me, this means that I should continuously
progress and strive toward a future that is prosperous for all. While
I do not believe that my individual volunteering made a lasting
difference, the veterans surely had an eternal impact on me.