This summer, I have volunteered as a counselor at two different day camps for kids. One took place at my church Queen of Heaven in Green, Ohio.
My church is about 15 minutes from my middle-class neighborhood, so it is safe to say that it is a relatively nice area. Most of the kids at this camp were white. In fact, I don't remember any kids of any other race there.
About a month later, I volunteered my time at a camp at a church in downtown Canton, Ohio.
I spent a good majority of my time growing up in downtown Canton. This was mostly because I have performed in many shows at the community theater downtown. I love it there, and it almost feels like a second home to me. But people who do not spend the majority of their time in this area would say that it’s a little “scary.”
This camp was called Camp Akwaba, which I was told translated to "Peace Camp."
The goal of the camp was to promote peace in a violent part of downtown Canton. The message I got from my two days there was that you can do anything, no matter where you come from.
Most of the kids there were African American. In fact, I remember only noticing one little girl who was white. However, I felt just as at home with these children as I did at my church camp, with the children I see in church every Sunday.
Although I explained all of these details about the two seemingly different camps, nothing was really all that different about them.
The kids were all sweet and loving. They begged to braid my hair and stole my phone out of my pocket to play games. I have also given an endless amount of piggyback rides this summer.
They misbehaved at times, and they annoyed me often. But for the most part, I had an amazing time at both camps and find myself thinking about the kids and wonder how they’re doing.
My point in saying all of this is, despite the fact that the children at the two camps came from different backgrounds and had different colors of skin, I couldn't see it. They are just children. All they really wanted the whole week was my love and attention.
I think we should remember this as adults. Although we are no longer children and have become accustomed to all of the violence and hatred that this world has to offer, I think we should remember that all we are really looking for is love.
All any of us are really looking for is to be loved, no matter what the color of our skin.