Jordan Brickman has been a volunteer since 2016, and can't wait to come back to our Pennsylvania camp for summer 2019. Thank you Jordan for coming back year after year, and always putting a smile on everyone's faces.
I first became involved with Experience Camps about 6 years ago. I was working for Wiley Cerilli (ExCamps Board member and volunteer) at SinglePlatform and he often spoke about Experience Camps. In an attempt to get valuable face time with my CEO, I decided to attend a few camp fundraising events. I quickly realized how amazing the Experience Camps program was and after learning they were opening a program near me, I knew I needed to be a part of it.
I am now entering my fourth year as a volunteer, and my time at camp has been truly transformative. The strength that these children (and volunteers) possess keeps me inspired and motivated not just for the one week of camp but throughout the entire year.
I love all of my campers, and to see them mature each year is very special. There is one camper who hits really close to home for me, because he is actually my best friend's step-son, Bobby. To be able to help him grow, and come to terms with his deceased father has given me great pride, and a special relationship that we will both carry for the rest of our lives. Bobby's sister, Isa, is also a camper on the girls side, and it's been amazing hearing her counselors talk about her growth over the past few years.
One of my favorite stories from camp involves the game Nukem. My bunk was playing another bunk and another boy, Josh, showed up wanting to play. Josh is the youngest and smallest kid in camp, and also the most shy. During College League introductions he didn't want to stand and high five his teammates because he was so shy. When I told my bunk that Josh was now on their team all 7 of them, at once, yelled "JOSH!!" and gave him a big group hug. In that moment, Josh was no longer shy. Instead he had a huge smile on his face, and for a few minutes forgot that he was scared to be away from home and was just happy to be a kid playing with his new friends.
From College League, to watermelon wrestling, to downtime (yes even downtime), to the final bonfire, to the counselor party, camp is an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I hope to one day pass down the lessons I've learned to my children.
I wear the purple wristband on my wrist all year as a reminder of the lessons camp has taught me. It's normal to laugh, to cry, to jump around, to scream, to be quiet. It's definitely normal to ask for another round of chicken nuggets, but above all, it's important to remember that no matter what you are going through in life you can always get through it.