the summer of my junior year of high school, in order for me to be
inducted as a member of the National Honors Society, I had to acquire
community service hours. I had already participated in service events
like marches, organizing, etc. but I had never volunteered towards
children. Since it was summertime, a lot of summer camps were taking
place. There were two going on at the same time near my house, Legacy
was a tennis camp and the kids who were in that camp were from all
different parts of the world. Some had really wealthy parents, others
had traveled to places I had never heard of, but they were all still
fun loving kids. I was introduced as one of the counselors. The kids
respected me and looked at me as one of the adult counselors even
though I was significantly younger. Most of our time consisted of us
playing on the tennis court. I tossed balls to the kids and gave
light words of encouragement when they hit…and even when they
missed. I was there for 4 weeks, visiting every Thursday and Friday
for 3 hours. I loved it there. The kids were great and it was fun
mentoring them and just a short distance behind them was Gustine’s.
this camp, they weren’t as culturally diverse, the center wasn’t
as prestige and more than half of them would often ask if I could
give them a dollar for a snack from the vending machine. Whereas the
other kids would always have money for extras if they wanted.
I was introduced as one of the counselors but this time the
counselors were either my age or slightly younger. The kids and I
colored, did flips in the gym, and played hand games all the time.
The kids respected us however because we weren’t that much older
than them, there was a slight power struggle. Other than that, they
had visited them between 2 or 3 times a week for 4 weeks and when it
was time to go, the kids were so sad. They gave me the biggest hug
and it warmed my heart. After that experience I had realized that
kids don’t care about the material things, they just want to feel
cared for and have fun. Even though both camps had different
experiences, none of that mattered as long as they were having fun.
original career plan was to establish my own business and give money
back to my community. Although I still want to do that, I also want
to volunteer at several low income summer camps every year. There’s
no better way to connect with the future than to be there with them,
hands on; mentoring them, guiding them, and motivating them. I’m
looking forward to making this a reality; and hopefully in the next
10, 20 years, there will be more smiles than there were previous.
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