Written by Abby Blaine
I first heard about Camp Encourage from an instructor at my university. I am from Iowa so I am not that familiar with the Kansas City area, but when my professor recommended that I volunteer with Camp Encourage I was instantly intrigued. I went back to my room and researched the mission and what the camp is all about. I have 6 years of experience in working with children with Autism and I thought this was a perfect fit for me. I chose to volunteer during the October session and I was assigned to two teenaged girls, one was a peer and the other was a camper. However, another camper really connected with me and I ended up spending a lot of the weekend with her. I have never attended a camp for children with Autism so this was a different experience for me but one I thoroughly enjoyed. The atmosphere was so welcoming and loving and positive, it was truly amazing. The people I met at camp had equally positive experiences and really enjoy working with these children.
I volunteer with these children because they bring so much joy into my life, each day is different. They are all so loving and caring and they never fail to make me laugh. This is meaningful because every single person in attendance leaves feeling loved, full of joy, and gratitude.
This organization fully embraces each person as a person, not a diagnosis, which is one of the many things that I love about Camp Encourage. They show the campers, staff, volunteers, and peers so much empathy, love, encouragement, and care that it is hard to leave thinking that you do not matter and that your work does not matter. If you are thinking about volunteering with Camp Encourage, I 100% recommend it!
Read about volunteer opportunities and find the form needed to join the goodness at https://www.campencourage.org/volunteer!