Yep, I'm departing work in about 15 minutes to head to Camp... Camp STARS at Camp Twin Lakes to be exact. I am a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, and we all have community placements in a non-profit organization where we volunteer 50+ hours per year. After my first year, I found the Hospice placement which allows you to volunteer at their headquarters or at one of two bereavement camps they hold each year. My first year, I wasn't able to attend either camp, so I volunteered at the center which was a humbling experience. I think my own experiences with close family members dying (and witnessing those declines while under Hospice care) gives me the ability to know how to interact with the families who are going through the same grief.
But, two years ago I got to do my first Camp STARS. Wow. It was awesome. I volunteer as a cabin counselor with 12 and 13 year old girls (I was 12 when my dad died), and I just really love it. I didn't know anyone else who was going through what I was at the time, so it is so awesome to bring these kids together so that they know they are not alone. Some of them are so shy at first or really have a hard time expressing their feelings, and it is miraculous to see how they come out of their shells in less than two full days at camp. Besides having group sessions facilitated by licensed counselors and psychologists, we do TONS of fun activities, and being a kid at heart myself, I love it.
So, yeah I'll miss what should be a really good college football game this weekend (Alabama at LSU) and weekend time with my husband which I cherish, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. This is one of my favorite weekends of the year, and I can't wait to meet our cabin and hopefully see some old faces from the last two years. And hopefully I can serve as encouragement to the girls that there's a lot of life ahead of them no matter what obstacles they've had to overcome so far and those trials only make them so much stronger.