CAMP OASIS

14 08 2010

So I’m not what you would call an outdoorsy person. I hate dirt and bugs and love air conditioning. Sweating makes me cranky. Swimming in lakes freaks me out.

What do I decide to do? Oh yeah, be a camp counselor in August!

Camp Oasis is a camp for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis between the ages of 8 and 17. I was so nervous about going. This was the hottest week in the history of the world and I was sure I was going to pass out. BUT. I made it through. And it was wonderful!

The kids at camp are amazing. I met someone whose family drove 5 1/2 hours to camp so that he could attend. This was his first year and he is already counting down the days for next year.

One of my campers said something about how the kids at her school act around her. They make fun of her disease, and it seems to her that they deliberately misunderstand when she tries to explain what goes on. She had the chance for the first time in her life to be in a situation with people who understood. A WHOLE CAMP full of people who understood.

Everywhere I went I met kids who couldn’t stop smiling. They were so excited and happy to be there. For the first time, they could go to camp. They could go on a zip line, climb the wall, swim in a lake every day, go tubing, all with a disease that could stop them from going to most camps.

I am so glad I got to be a part of all of it.

As a counselor I got to see the excitement and I got to help be a part of making this experience truly special. I had forgotten the feeling that I had when I was a camper there so many years ago.

With a disease that makes you feel weird and wrong, Camp Oasis makes you feel a part of everything. It gives you an instant community, a support system of people your age, someone to vent to and understand the stuff you go through.

In short, camp was amazing. I look forward to going back next year!

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