Name: Devin Farmiloe
From: Akron, OH
Grade: College Junior
When I look at my own life, and those around me, I get overwhelmed with how busy and cluttered those lives seem to be. With work, school, families, social functions, and the necessity for personal time, it seems like everything becomes a chore. With all of this convolution, it can be difficult to imagine giving our time to someone or something else for free. The concept of helping others turns into the concept of hindering ourselves. How can we make time for anything else? Growing up in a city with plenty of community service opportunities, and going to a high school where forty hours of community service was a graduation requirement, I was given the gift of forced volunteering. It was a gift, because it showed me that while it may seem like a chore, it is just as rejuvenating as time alone with a book, time with friends, or movie night with the family. One of my favorite volunteering opportunities is being a camp counselor for our sixth grader’s camping trip. To prepare the sixth graders for their transition to middle school, our intermediate school allows them to independently choose their camp activities, find their way to each activity on their own, and have the responsibility to participate and contribute to theirs and their class mate’s camp experience. When I was in sixth grade, it was not such a big deal to spend two nights in the woods without snap chat and other social media, but for the sixth graders of today, this sounds like prison.
It is amazing to see the kids forget about their cellphones and video games after departing from the school, instead joining together to play card games and singing camp songs on the bus ride. Once at camp, we unpack into our cabents (pavilions with tarps on the sides for walls) and after a brief tour of the camp grounds the kids are on their own to find their activities. While I am the one who is volunteering, it is the children themselves who show such depth for humility by helping each other find their activities. While at the activities that I help teach, I witness the kids breaking through shells they never knew were inhibiting their growth. With archery the kids learn their strength and the power of concentration, at crayon art they learn the beauty of mistakes and the masterpieces they create, and at henna tattoos they learn history, intricacy and patients.
Camp teaches the kids a great deal of life long lessons, while also reminding me of one of the most important lessons of all. While it is hard to make the time for others, it is more intrinsically rewarding than most things I could do for myself. The connections and experiences I have made through volunteering for camp and other organizations have inspired a life time of giving.