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Summer camp

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Leaders come in all shapes and sizes

As many of you know I run a nonprofit that is a youth leadership organization. During the summer we run three separate weeks of leadership camp, where middle school students stay on a college campus for week away from their parents, learning, having fun and having time to reflect on who they are and where they want to go. This past week we just ended our first session of camp with one hundred and fifty students transformed by their experience.

So often in the nonprofit space we are running a business like almost any other with budgets, timelines, goals and the list goes on. What makes our work (nonprofit work) different is that unlike a company when your numbers are down, less people profit. In the nonprofit world, when you don’t make numbers, someone doesn’t go to camp, get fed, receive medicine and the list goes on. The stakes are real and there is person effected by each choice, for better or for worse.

The other challenge in the nonprofit space is that you can often feel separated or removed from those you serve.  We work all year (our staff of two and 150 amazing volunteers, who will serve 3,000 students) to send one-third of our students to camp with scholarships. Then the moment happens, we see their faces, we watch them grow and learn all week and our efforts beyond worthwhile. Children who live in the inner-city, who have never been on a college campus let alone stay on one and then to hear them share their experiences….well there simply are not words with how incredible it feels.

Each volunteer gives of themselves to change the life of another. You can feel the love, the kindness, the joy, the gratitude between our campers and our volunteer staff. Regardless of what is happening in the world, I know that our amazing college and high school volunteers are transforming hundreds of children’s lives for the better….renewing my faith in humanity and inspiring me to strive to serve more.

charity matters

 

YOUR REFERRAL IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT,  IF YOU ARE SO MOVED OR INSPIRED, WE WOULD LOVE YOU TO SHARE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER.

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What is summer without camp?

Spirit rally 2013I never went to sleep away camp as a child. I have to confess, I was really happy hanging out with my friends and being at home. However, whenever my friends who went to camp returned, they always seemed different, more grown up…as if something had shifted in them in the short time they were away. It did make me wonder, what really happens at camp?

Flash forward a few decades and finally it is my turn to go to camp. No, not just because its summer, but as many of you know, I run a non-profit summer leadership camp. A crazy wonderful twist of fate that gives me a summer full of camp and answers all those questions I pondered so long ago.

This past weekend, as I watched the counselors arrive, most alumni of our camp, their excitement to see one another, their life long friendships and deep connection to one another and our camp….I realized that if these amazing individuals were the product of what we do, then I had really missed out.

Its taken time to now know what camp is……. showing up afraid, alone and making a friend. Camp is arriving as a blank sheet with no prior history, labels or expectations and re-writing your story, any way you want. Camp is being able to find and be your best self with a group of like-minded students that are simply trying to do the same. Camp is independence away from your family and proving to yourself that you do know what your toothbrush is without being told. Most of all camp is really, really fun. The games, the dances, the talent shows and competitions.

So, this summer as I prepare for camp, I am excited, nervous, happy and hoping that your never too old for camp and that just maybe I will seem a little more grown up when it’s over.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Charity Matters Quotes

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.”

Ada Louise Huxtable

summer afternoon lake jump

I am still at my Summer Conference this week and feeling excited by the beautiful work we are doing. I love this quote because while it is summer and I am working, seeing these amazing young people remind me that all is right with the world.

My turn to jump into the lake, will come soon enough.

Hope you are heading off somewhere wonderful this weekend and wishing you blessings for a beautiful summer!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2014 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.