A Passion for Working With Differently Abled Campers – Courtney Smith, Cabin Counselor 2019

As someone whose passion is working with children with different abilities and having done so since high school, I knew that I wanted to continue working with these populations throughout my summer. I expected the typical summer camp experience — making friends, working with kids and maybe learning something about myself along the way. What I got from Akeela, however, was all of that and SO much more.

I’ve never been a part of such an inclusive, warm and welcoming community. Each day I felt inspired, supported and loved, not only by Debbie and Eric, but also my peers that I worked alongside for two months. I spent this summer learning from the most quirky, fun and free-spirited campers on the planet, while laughing harder, trusting deeper and allowing myself to be who I truly am as a person – someone I’ve been holding back on being for a very long time. I have Akeela to thank for every moment of that, so when I think back on all the moments from this past summer, I can’t help but get a bit emotional. While I was helping our campers, Akeela was helping me.

Akeela is so much more than just a summer camp, and so much more than just two months spent in the mountains of Vermont. It’s watching campers make friendships and develop social skills, and seeing those friendships reignited year after year. It’s late-night porch conversations when you feel everything you’ve done in a day is still just not quite enough. It’s reassurance that you’re doing an amazing job and that your campers do, in fact, really like you. Akeela is community and Akeela is home.

Leave a Reply