Name: Ben Roben
From: Golden Eagle, Illinois
School: Brussels High School
What is volunteering? Volunteering is when someone takes the time to
selflessly help someone else in need. The volunteering that I do may
not be the kind people usually think of when they think of volunteer
work. Yet I get just as much out of my experience as the people I
When I was thirteen and fourteen years old, I went to a summer camp called
Camp Ondessonk. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
Once I was 15, I decided to go back to camp and be a C.I.T., which
means Counselor In Training. When I was 16, I went back again to
actual give back to the place that gave me so many memories and be a
camp counselor. As a counselor, I had to rotate from doing a
different job every week for five weeks. My first week there I was
working at handicrafts. Though I’m not the best person to be
asking about handicrafts, I still succeeded at my job. I had to
memorize how to tie all of the boondoggling knots so when the time
came to explain it to the campers I could. Though this was a real
struggle for me, I pushed myself and managed to do it by the time the
week was up.
During my time at camp, I was also with one of the many groups of campers
the camp had per week. I had to go through the struggle of learning
all of the kids names by the time the week was up. I managed to make
close relationships with almost all the the campers in my cabin.
When the day came for all of the campers to pack up all of their
stuff to go, one of the campers walked up to me and said something I
will never forget. He said, “When I come back here to be a
counselor, I want to be just like you.” He then gave me a hug and
went off to go home with his family. The feeling of knowing I made
an impact in someone else’s life cannot be put into words, but I will
never forget the feeling.
I realize this is not the kind of traditional volunteering most people
do when they want to help, however, this was one of the best ways I
could have given back to the camp for all of the amazing lessons that
the camp had taught me when I was a camper there. I inspired someone
else to come back to that place and make a difference in someone
else’s life just like I did his, which is what true volunteering
means, doing good to others so they one day will help someone else in
need as well.