Special Friends Camp Buddy 450pxBy Carolyn Cross, Special Friends Volunteer

I recently retired from a very long and rewarding career with Kimberly-Clark! One of the items on my bucket list was to volunteer at Special Friends summer camp at Warm Beach. This camp gives individuals with developmental disabilities an opportunity to participate in a one-of-a-kind camp experience.

To be honest, I was a little nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. On the first day of training I met my fellow volunteers and learned the name of my camper. It was then that my purpose became real and I was caught up in the excitement. As a “buddy," my role was to assist my camper in participating in their activities of choice, share in their joy and excitement, and most importantly, keep them safe!

Special Friends Camp is sheer JOY for these campers! The welcome line greeted campers as they arrived and every day was filled with high-fives, swimming, mini-golf, climbing towers, train rides, crafts and so much more. Being a “buddy” required no special talents other than a caring presence and a desire to ensure your camper’s happiness and safety.

My camper’s happiness and joy was a true reward. Her smile was pure sunlight. I knew this experience would be life-changing and provide another avenue for me to contribute my skills and time. My heart overflows with love for this camp. But more importantly my circle of friends and extended family has grown immensely!

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