Camp Starts With You…The Volunteer

Easter Seals Greater Houston Camp Smiles is off to an incredible start, and we couldn’t do it without our volunteers.  They arrived on Saturday at Camp For All before Campers for more training and team-building.  The 60 volunteers range in age from 16 to 26, from first timers to 9 year veterans (wow!), and nearly half are sibling sets.  It’s all in the family when it comes to volunteering at Camp Smiles!

“I’m so excited about my little brother being here as a volunteer,” said one.  “I have gotten so much out of volunteering at Camp Smiles and I know he will, too.  I can’t wait to see him with his camper!”

As their final team-building activity, the volunteers gathered in a circle.  The first timers talked about what they were most excited about and the veterans talked about what keeps them coming back.  They had in common wanting to create an atmosphere of welcoming and celebration, and of making each camper feel like the coolest kid at camp.

Jessie, a former Camp Smiles camper and a first time volunteer, knows Camp Smiles’ impact from both sides.  She was the last to speak and she said, “The cabins, the activities, this awesome site that we’re on, and the fact that we’re away from our families – all that is really great.  But camp starts with you, the volunteers.  You make that stuff go from really great to amazing, and you help make memories that stay with a camper their whole life.”

Christine Ellery, Program Director, Camps Counseling & Case Management

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