Two people are about to embark on a journey that will change them forever.
When you arrive at camp you have to get a lice check; nothing feels nicer. I love lice check, and it only gets better after that. Such a simple task…the running of the sticks through your hair, checking for the dreaded eggs. Yes, if they found anything I would be mortified, but thus far I’ve been spared.
Nate McNeil, freelance shooter, editor and graphic artist, and Jenni Beharry, Project Manger, for Videotelephony will be going to Camp Quality. This is a camp that will provide a week of fun for children who have been affected by cancer or some other rare disorders. Despite this fact, being sick rarely makes it into the equation, because camp is all about having FUN. Anyone who has been there knows this.
The point of camp is to provide a safe, fun, nurturing environment and to allow kids to just be kids! The counselors, or as they are better known, “Companions”, are also there year-round to support their campers and spend time with them.
Ultimately, it’s not about cancer, or having a disease, or anything other than enjoying the company of others that are around you. Laughing, playing and concentrating in the moment. Living for the DAY and basking in the awesomeness of the people around you is what it comes down to.
Sometimes volunteering can seem daunting, as did this experience for Nate and I at first. You’re scared and nervous that kids or even other volunteers won’t like you…But imagine walking into a room full of people who love you, despite your loud laugh, or your immense shyness, or your love of weird, old movies or any other quirks. Being accepted and being who you ARE is embraced and celebrated at Camp Quality.
Walking into a place where you have NO IDEA what is going to happen is scary, but is an experience everyone should have so they can be taken aback, taken away and have their hearts soar.
When Nate and I return, we will bring home something tangible: a video memory for the kids that will be screened at Ottawa’s Mayfair theater so that they can see themselves on the big screen and feel like superstars. A week spent living in this environment will also bring out immeasurable, inexplicable feelings. Those of satisfaction, of love and joy, and missing people like crazy. Feelings of strangeness and the knowledge that we’ll be right back in the same place next year.
Returning to a world where saying “Hey” to everyone you see is not the norm, will be the hardest adjustment for me.
It’s like being on another planet for a week, and to me that’s just fine. See you in a week!