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The Third Week Of June This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The third week of June I return to my bus stop, but instead of school, it's time for camp! By the time bus comes and we reach our destination I'm starting to feel the effect of the six o'clock wake-up.

Camp Confidence isn't the average summer camp; it's designed for mentally and physically handicapped children. The campers have different disabilities from a mild learning disability to severe birth defects or life-threatening health problems. Ranging in age from three to twenty-one, no one is ever turned down.

Each camper receives a counselor so there is constant one-on-one attention, and believe me, one isn't always enough. The counselors are teenagers from surrounding areas who volunteer their time and energy to make this camp happen. Camp Confidence is a nonprofit, and everything from the busses, food, the boy scout camp to the t-shirts the kids are awarded at the end of the week is donated.

After the welcoming hello, I'm assigned to a seven-year-old named John, who was diagnosed as a "crack baby" and has attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). John is one of many veteran campers returning this year and, this being my third year, I know I'm in for an exciting week.

After the flag raising ceremony, we're off to the first activity. John is already ten yards in front of me saying hi to old friend and making new ones as we head of to "Sunshine Corner." Sunshine Corner is put on by a bunch volunteers from the community who are very grandmotherly and teach the kids about health and nutrition. This activity is one that takes quite a bit of sitting still and listening quietly - needless to say, not one of John's favorite activities. Within 15 minutes I have been beaten by a seven-year-old since the only way he'll stay still is sitting on my lap and amusing himself by tying my shoes in knots.

Throughout the week, it's like any other camps with kids going to different activities including art and crafts, nature, kick ball, and, of course, swimming. By the end of the week you feel tired, but one high five, "I love you" or even a smile from that special friend, gives you back all the energy to finish the week.

On Friday after you say your good-byes and the tears start rolling, all you can do is wait for the third week of June to come a lot sooner. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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