Monday, August 25, 2014

Lessons from Them

I knew I was going to learn a lot at the camp for adults with intellectual disabilities that I work at. But I never imagined that the biggest lessons I would learn would be from my campers.

 Mark called his name out from across the field, to let his counselors know that it was time to say goodbye. But before he headed up to the parking lot, he stopped by the volleyball court to give me a quick hug. After pulling away, he looked me in the eye and said “Don’t let anyone hurt you. I hate when people I love get hurt.” Floored by his kindness and sincerity, and I could only smile and reply. “I won’t. Don’t let anyone hurt you either.”

Only you can decide who hurts you. Don’t let anyone.

About a month before, camp started up again, I received a letter from a male camper, who’s name, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t recognize. It was a typical, I-did-this-today-type letter. But it ended differently than most notes: “Keep hanging on. Don’t let go. I’m hanging on. I won’t let go.” It was as if he read my mind and knew that I was going through a rough patch at that moment. It wasn’t until recently that I realized, of course he knew: everyone’s going through something right now.

Keep hanging on. Don’t let go. You’re not alone.

One of my favorite week eight campers was having a rough day one time. I was comforting her as she cried on my shoulder: “I hate when people call me the r-word”

Your words will be remembered. 

I love when campers make me things and I wear them everywhere. So I was so excited when one of my ladies made me a bead necklace before she left for the week. But this particular craft came with a message: “Wear it to remember who you are.” And I promised I would.

Remember who you are. You are the best you in the world.


  1. This is beautiful and you are beautiful :) this restores my faith in hummanity