Here is a little window into the volunteer experience from our last camp. Thank you to Mike Harris and Millie Cox for their time at camp and for taking the time to answer some questions.
Q:What was your favorite memory?
A: I would have to say my favorite was getting a camper to sing ‘I Can Fly’ to our cabin after lights were out. It was quite moving, as the campers respected his work, and he took the opportunity very seriously.
A: Seeing Scott do the Zip line. Being asked to dance by one of the campers.
Q:Favorite Camper quote(s)?
A: ‘Ughhhhhhhh’, ‘How tall?’. And ‘Hey Mike, I will take care of you. We have to smell good for the ladies.’ And then he sprayed me with his special John Valvartos cologne.
A: I was extremely surprised at how close I became to the campers. Separating at the end of camp was surprisingly hard.
A: Feeling so at ease and comfortable around the campers. One, I had never been to camp in my life. Two, I had never been around adults with developmental disabilities. Three, I had always walked funny and crooked my whole life and felt self-conscious about this. On games day, I got to join a team and do the egg walk and other fun things. I had never had the courage to do this before. I figured that everyone would be staring at me but at Camp Blue Skies, no one cared — and there were others who walked funny like me!
Q: Anything you would do differently?
A: The camp did soooo many things right. I did offer up a number of suggestions during camp. I do like the idea of helping make the campers have a higher sense of value via hair cuts, mani and pedicures, etc.
A: Can’t think of a thing. I think it’s great the way you have it.
Q: Proudest moment?
A: When virtually every cabin member came up to me at one time or another and said things like “Love you Mike.” Or, “You are a great friend Mike.” This gave me a feeling of adequately fulfilling my role.
A: One of the campers (who throughout the week, was not having much fun) came over and sat down with me, during free time, outside the cabin and after a few minutes, opened up to me and started a conversation. I feel like I really connected with him.
Q: One thing that surprised you?
A: I was totally surprised at how functioning most of the campers really were. It was just great to communicate with them, to hear their honest feelings on many different subjects.
Q: Something you would never change about camp?
A: Somehow you have created a special ‘family feel’ that makes the experience so special. Never change that.
A: Location. Camp Harrison is THE perfect place.