Lose Yourself In Selfless Service
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Lose Yourself In Selfless Service

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service" — Mahatma Ghandi

11
Lose Yourself In Selfless Service
Champions Special Ministries / Facebook

The early summer of 2014, my neighbor emailed me a flyer for a special needs camp that was going to happen in the end of July. The camp was called Champions of Special Ministries, a weeklong day camp for kids, teens and adults with special needs, ranging from people who could care for themselves to individuals who would be completely dependant on someone else to care for them. I decided it would be a good experience for me.

Sunday was the training day, which made me nervous for the week. That is when it became clear to me that the majority of these campers rely on someone to take care of them. We had to be trained on many scenarios varying from helping them in the bathroom to what to do if one of them had a seizure, which became my number one fear because my camper had epilepsy.

My first year as a volunteer I had a little boy who had brain injuries. He lit up my day every day. He had a thing for microphones and megaphones, which made each day was a new obstacle of learning about self-control and making good and bad choices. Each morning we participated in Rally Time; the time each morning that we sang worship songs, praise the lord and learned a new bible story. Some mornings he wanted to be involved with the songs and games, and some mornings, it was a different story. Several times throughout the week we would end up in the sensory room with one of the staff members because he wanted to run up on stage and talk into the microphone. When the staff and I told him it wasn’t microphone time, he would have a meltdown, which would land us right in the sensory room. Sometimes we would just lay on the floor real quiet, which was nice because it was the only calm we would experience for the majority of the day. One specific day we spend a large amount of time discussing good and bad choices and self-control. He liked to be given choices, so a lot of times I would give him the choice of spending 3 minutes in the sensory room or 5 minutes. The time didn’t actually matter, he just liked having the option to choose.

That little boy is what inspired me to volunteer again the next summer. When I went to fill out the volunteer forms, I reflected on how tired I remember being and how I had a big swim meet after camp for two days, but I wanted to be a part of the experience again. I was hoping my sweet little boy would be coming back, as well as many of the other campers and volunteers. A couple of the staff members returned but not the ones I was close to, not the ones that had been there for me when I need help. I knew that this time it would be different.

At training, we got our camper cards, and I knew the drill since I had done this once before. The card had almost everything you needed to know about your camper. This card meant very little to me since my camper ended up being my neighbor who has autism. He was the whole reason I volunteered at this camp in the first place. It was a relief to have a camper I knew and had grown up with. He was my inspiration in the beginning and was my inspiration once more. The week with my friend went smoothly, I knew what to expect with him. Some days were challenging because it was different than my experienced before. At training, they taught us not to treat the campers like little kids, since most of them would be the same age as their coach or older, even if their mental age was younger. That meant no baby talk or head pats — it’s degrading. My first year my camper was a little kid, so it was okay to treat him like a little kid. But my neighbor was closer in age to me. I respected him and saw him as an equal, but I was also responsible for caring for him.

Camp went smoothly that summer and the experience greatly impacted what I want to do with my life. With my love for kids, and even a bigger lover for kids, teens and young adults with special needs, I wanted to continue that work. I contemplated apply for a staff position the following summer, but I knew I would be leaving in the fall for my first semester of college and didn’t want to spend the whole summer away from home. I chose to stick to my routine and be a volunteer.

Originally that summer I was put into a group of all girls, but after some of the campers arrived, one of the camper’s mom wanted an experienced volunteer, and I was the lucky one who got to spend the next week caring for the best little boy in the world.

He was always full of laughter and smiles. He loved to be silly. That made the week so much fun, and our time together flew by. At the end of the week, I was almost in tears knowing that the next time I saw him wasn’t going to be for a while. Fortunately for me, his mom gave me her number and told me to come see him anytime I wanted, which I took full advantage of almost every time I was home.

People with special needs are some of the most loving, caring people I have ever met. They light up my day with their optimistic attitude. They see the world through rose-colored glasses, so to speak. They make me want to see the world that way.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

75370
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

138990
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments