It’s the season for giving, so it’s only fitting that I am reminded today of our end of summer service project. The final week of camp is called the “Somer 7” and consists of seven consecutive days of amazing surprises. From “Dirty Day” to whitewater tubing to our final Disney-themed send-off party, each day was truly special and topping it this summer will be a huge challenge!
But no day was as special as our visit to Woodlands Senior Center in Waterville. Following lunch, every camper and counselor prepared a custom gift basket for the residents of their memory center, including a card, sand art, cookies, decorated picture frame, and then some. A few hours later, with the baskets ready, we loaded the vans and set off into town.
To be honest, it was not an easy place to visit. We saw people late in life in extraordinarily challenging situations. And, though it was a lot to take in, the girls roamed the halls respectfully and cheerfully, each stopping to deliver a basket and smile to a resident.
Though our visit was brief, we nonetheless walked out with the magnitude of the moment weighing a bit heavier on all of us. While taking time to give back to those in need is rewarding, it can often be accompanied by the pain of coming face to face with someone else’s struggles. In that, I hope our campers discovered an increased sense of compassion, a greater desire to help others, and well-deserved pride for their efforts.