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Camp Counseling for Change

Posted on Friday, August 08, 2008

Caleb Campbell ‘11 became a camp counselor to help kids have a fun summer – and to change lives. Campbell has worked as a counselor at 4-H Camp Overlook for the past three summers, after being a camper there himself for six years. At Camp Overlook, kids gain educational experiences by taking different classes such as sailing, archery, crafts, rocketry, music, dance, and more. Campbell is a lifeguard and teaches sailing, canoeing and swimming. “The camp is open to any child ages 8 to 18, but purposely keeps its cost low and provides numerous scholarships so as to make itself available to low-income families,” Campbell explains. “It can be life-changing for a lot of kids who have never been away from home and have grown up in very harsh conditions.” Campbell, a public policy and political science major, shares the story of one boy whose life he touched. “My first year as a counselor I met a little boy named Avery who was literally dropped off by his mother and left to fend for himself. She didn't kiss him goodbye or help him make his bed or help him get situated; she registered him and left,” he explains. “I was the first person he saw, and therefore latched on to for the week. It became very clear to me that Avery, then 8 years old, grew up in very harsh conditions. He told me about the numerous boyfriends his mom would bring home, and how awfully they would treat him. He had two changes of clothes to last him for a week, and had no idea how to shower by himself.” “He was an absolute nightmare for other counselors and a terror to other kids, but would literally do anything I asked of him,” Campbell continues. “But as the week progressed, he got better and better.” By the end of the week, Avery was begging to stay with his new friend. “Needless to say, that was a week I will never forget,” Campbell says. On campus, Campbell is the Bonner Leader for What Do You Stand For?; he is also involved in HWS Votes, Amnesty International, and is a member of Chorale. “Often times when I tell people I work at a summer camp, they laugh at me and tell me to get a real job,” Campbell says. “But nobody can really understand just how special this camp is for both campers and counselors, and that it's not about the money, it's about the experience.”

 


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