Posted by: Amanda Taylor | April 30, 2010

Hey Boggy, How do you feel?

Throughout this blog I will post pictures. The pictures wont be from my most recent weekend at camp, but from the different times I have been there).

A few weeks ago, I volunteered at Camp Boggy Creek.   I started volunteering at camp my Junior year at Stetson.  Boggy Creek serves Florida’s seriously ill children.  Camp designates each weekend to one illness and children and their families come to play and have lots of fun.  Each weekend also has a theme.  The children come with their moms, dads, brothers, neighbors, aunts, grandparents, or whoever they want to bring.  In the summer months, they have week-long sessions with just the campers (No parents allowed!!)  I have not yet volunteered for a summer session. The weekends are exhausting enough!

This particular weekend was Sickle Cell (Pirates and Princesses.)

Each volunteer gets assigned to a family and you cater to that family for the weekend.  You do what your campers want to do, e.g. “Let’s go swim, now let’s dry off and go to woodshop and make something in 5 minutes, now let’s go to archery but go jump in the pool on the way to the mini-golf course, and then maybe archery later.”  I had a great family!  My “main” camper was  13 year old girl.  It was her first time at camp.  Before we left for the weekend, she told me she definitely wanted to come back this summer.  That made me so extremely happy.  My sweet camper came with her mom, younger brother, and older sister.

It had been awhile since I had been to camp.  It was a weekend that was much needed.  There were several events that happened that made my heart melt, that made me appreciate my health, and absolutely love life.  There is something about teaching someone to swim and hearing, “Look Ms. Amanda, I’m doing it” that still brings tears to my eyes.

It makes me laugh to think of me as a camp counselor.  I am the girl that used to wake up at 5:45 AM in high school to be sure I made it by 8 AM.  My sister was the one that liked bugs, dirt, and sleeping in tents. One morning, I was walking back to my cabin and there was a big spider crossing over the bridge I was walking with.  Normally, I would smash it.  I let it walk on, though. I do have to be honest and say, the one that was crawling on my bed was not so lucky.

After being at camp a few times though, I now laugh, smile at other volunteers. They come with suitcases full of make-up, heels, and formal dresses for the dance.  I, on the other hand, look like this for the dance.

The new counselors don’t take advantage of “rest time” and are to embarrassed to eat with their faces.  Yes, faces.  No hands, no forks, only your face.  It really makes spaghetti taste that much better.

My goal at camp is to make a kid super happy, no matter how goofy I look or how exhausted I am.    These children have tough lives. They are constantly being watched and being told, “Be careful!”  If giving all of my time and energy for one weekend can make a kid smile and say, “This is the best weekend ever”, it’s all worth it.

The first night of camp, there is always a camp fire.  Mr. Spivy, who is like 403 years old, usually talks toward the end of the night.

During this weekend, he talked about the “Spirit” of Boggy Creek and how Boggy Creek is a special place. The “spirit” of Boggy is something that is mentioned during each session.  I wish that I had the words to describe that feeling.

Mr. Spivy said it’s a place where a kid can be wrapped up in a blanket in the middle of July and no one will question him because right beside him will be another kid doing the same thing. Boggy is a place where kids can take off their shirt at the swimming pool and not be questioned about the scar on their chest or they are able to walk around with no hair and not have people asking why or staring.  At camp, kids can feel safe, have fun, and most importantly loved.

The last day is “Morning at the Creek” in the theater.

The kids can get up and do acts for the talent show.  A kid can go a million times if he (or she) wants.  It gave me the chance to rock out to Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber for a few hours without being embarrassed 🙂  A parent requested to do a song on the piano at the end of the talent show.  He told the volunteers and other family members, “It’s so easy to love when there are people like you”.  It’s a great feeling to know you are so  appreciated.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend.

I woke up early to watch the sunrise..

I walked around at night to look at the stars, and I enjoyed the smells of nature, campfires, and even worms 🙂

I was able to reset myself.  I love the healing effects that a few days at  Camp Boggy Creek bring.

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Responses

  1. It looks like you had such a good time! I would love to have the opportunity to do something like that. It really seems as if you’re making the most of it. Great pics!

  2. That sounds awesome Manda! I will have to go there one weekend with you to volunteer. Glad you had fun and got your batteries recharged!


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