Kora recently shared the below college application essay with us and it absolutely touched our hearts (just as she has through the years). We thought you, too would love it. What an honor it is to watch our young campers mature through the years into precious adults. And how fortunate our community is to have loving humans like Kora.
I have always had a passionate and undeniable love for all humans. I love to talk to people, learn about them, and help them in any way I can. I love them so much that I want to be a psychology major and keep helping people for the rest of my life. There are many reasons behind this love.
The first reason is I have an amazing family that has shown me continuous love my entire life. My father is a farmer and my mother is an artist. In other words, I have an extremely practical dad and an incredibly creative mom. With my dad being a farmer, I have learned the value of hard work from a young age. Because my mom is an artist, she has helped cultivate my creativity and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Along with my diverse parent personalities also came an abundance of support that has helped grow this love as well. Being able to watch my parents lead a life of love, is one of the main reasons I want to as well. It has helped me learn to appreciate the good in life every day.
The second reason is because of a camp I have been a part of for 10 years. The camp is called Camp Encourage. When I was 8 years old, my mom asked me if I wanted to go as a “peer model”. She explained to me that the camp was for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I have a cousin with ASD and love him dearly, so I was excited about the opportunity. My role as a peer model was to simply be a camper and have fun. I was supposed to be myself and make new friends. As an eight-year-old girl with a love of all people, this sounded so fun. My first camp experience changed my life forever. I learned the value of being inclusive and how to lead a life judgment-free- and I learned it all at a very young age. After my first year, I continued to go each year after that. Once I became old enough, I started volunteering as a counselor. This taught me how to be a great leader. At the sessions I wasn’t a counselor, I was a photographer. It fills me with so much joy to capture beautiful moments at camp.
The values I have learned at camp have carried me through my whole life, the first being the value of friendship. I made many friends at camp and that has taught me to be open-minded to any person put into my life. It has also taught me to not judge a book by its cover. As a neurotypical teen, I experience hard like everyone else, but nothing like what my friends at Camp Encourage endure. As teens with ASD, they experience unimaginable challenges. Being able to experience the resilience displayed by the campers has exposed me to empathy that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to experience. It has helped put my world in perspective and taught me that some problems are not as extreme as they seem. Camp has also played a role in my potential career path. Because Camp Encourage has helped me foster my love of people, it has helped me realize that I want to help people every day for as long as I can. I want to be a psychology major so I can learn how to help people on a professional level. I mean seriously, learning how to help people, and then getting to do that as my job while getting paid? Sounds like a dream to me. Without Camp Encourage, I might have never discovered that dream. It has played such a big role in my life. It has helped shape me into the best version of myself, and I hope to only keep going from here.