After spending my summer at Easter Seals, I don’t think I could clearly explain what the camp intern’s job actually is. It does, however, consist of: silly-voice storytelling, funny dance choreography, mustaches, crazy hats, paparazzi-level photography, dirty laundry patrol, coveted golf-cart keys, a bit of goofiness, and a lot of love. I applied just looking for a job, and I had seen Betsy, Lindsey, and Margaret intern before me, so I knew how it worked. But being camp intern is so much more than what everyone sees. It’s witnessing over 200 kids accepted for who they are despite physical and mental differences. Camp has this crazy effect on people. It allows you to be who you truly are behind masks and insecurities.
There’s one unforgettable conversation I had with a Camp Smiles camper that I would like to share. His first summer at camp, he wouldn’t even let Betsy announce his name at orientation. Every activity made him nervous and hesitant. It seemed like he didn’t want to be there despite our encouragement. But on the last night, at the back of the dining hall during karaoke, that camper came up to me and shyly said, “Sarah, I gotta tell you, I think I kinda like camp.” More than any speech, gesture, or ceremony – that short, whispered sentence was the summation of my summer. Moments like that are why this is the most rewarding work I have ever done. Easter Seals really affects lives, including mine.