LT Reflection: We Like to Give Back!

 

On June 30th, I inarguably had the best experience of my life. It was the day of the Leadership Training Program’s Service Day. We went to Camp Friendship, one of five locations that resides underneath the organization True Friendship. True Friendship specializes in camps working with campers’ ages ranging from 6-70 that have special needs. The Camp has a similar schedule to that of Camp Lincoln’s, except that the schedule allows campers more ample free time. They have a rest hour and designated times for meals at the Dining Hall, but during the period in between meals, campers are free to ask their staff to take them to many different activities. Campers are free to fish at two different locations, go to arts and crafts, go to the gym or go swimming, chill in their cabins, or many other options. Thanks to the cooperation of Camp Lincoln and True Friendship, we got to experience the life of a volunteer at Camp Friendship.

Starting our day off, we woke up at the crack of dawn at 5:30 A.M. We then proceeded to get ready for the day, and then set off. It was about an hour and half drive to Camp Friendship, which is situated near St. Cloud, Minnesota. Once arriving at the campsite, we witnessed the beauty of the camp sitting on the bank of a gigantic lake. The cabins were similar to those of small houses found on lake fronts. I was already impressed and ready to experience a one-day opportunity at Camp Friendship. After breakfast and introductions, we were tasked with our morning activities. I was assigned fishing alongside Matthew Watowich and Tom Solano.

At the docks, I met many new faces. I met a middle-aged adult named Aaron that wanted my assistance in his first catch of a large fish, preferably a Pike or a Bass. I met a set of brothers, Josh and Jacob, that loved the morning sun and the opportunity of catching a fish at the waterfront. I met another volunteer named Sarah that was spending her summer assisting at Camp Friendship. I also met a 12 year-old camper named Mason, who I spent the entirety of my morning with. After enjoying basking in the morning sun, Mason asked if I could play ping-pong with him at the Gym. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to spend more time with such a fun person to be around. We then proceeded to hold hands as he lead me to the Gym. During our short trip to the Gym, Mason told me about his experience as a ping-pong master and shared with me his title as the Camp Friendship ping-pong pro! After reaching our destination, Mason and I proceeded to play a few rounds of ping-pong. He was right; he was a pro and aced me multiple times! I then played a man named David in pool. Josh and I were on the same team, and each held on to the pool cue. Both teams got to eight ball, but David ended up winning. Even though we lost, Josh couldn’t stop laughing and smiling throughout our game, he definitely had a blast. I then talked to Mason more. I have never felt such a rush of happiness before. During the afternoon, I went to the Gym with a ton of the campers and had a blast playing basketball and soccer and much more.

Throughout the day, I met so many new faces while having a blast. Every person I met had a warm smile covering their face, and was friendly and welcome. I experienced so many different types of fun activities with a handful of the greatest people I have ever met. I truly experienced the meaning of friendship.

Blog by Adam Ungvarsky, LT1