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The Difference was Fred

 

“Life changes here”…a phrase you may have heard. This phrase doesn’t just apply to our campers and guests, but also our volunteers and staff. Often volunteers come to Warm Beach Camp to be part of something bigger than themselves, to help with programming, labor and other tasks. Little do they know the experience is often just as life changing for them as it is for the campers they serve.

This was exactly the case for Marcus Petterson, “Fred” here at Camp. Fred came to Special Friends Camp, Warm Beach Camp’s summer program for adults with disabilities, to volunteer six years ago with his grandpa at the age of 12. His grandpa wanted Fred to be part of something that mattered, a place where Fred could make a difference. A difference was definitely made, not just in the multitude of campers and staff members Fred worked alongside of, but also in Fred.

When Fred came to camp at age 12, he was painfully shy and was struggling as a middle school kid trying to find his way in the world. He was constantly bullied, felt different, and was teased endlessly for his red hair and unique personality. That first summer, Fred found a place where he could be himself and help others.

Each summer for the last six years, Fred has returned for the first Special Friends camp in June and stayed until the last camp in the middle of August. He was the first one in line to be part of the welcoming tunnel as campers arrive. Campers absolutely adore him!

During one of these summers, Fred found his gifting. Being part of Special Friends Camp inspired Fred to pursue his Bachelor’s degree as an ASL interpreter. Fred came to camp not sure of who he was or his place in the world, he just wanted something to do. Being a volunteer at Special Friends Camp changed him, transformed him, gave him a safe place to grow into himself each summer. He made life-long friendships and came to understand who he is in Christ instead of who the world thought he should be.

Come, be part of a life-changing week at Special Friends Camp. Bring your friends, and volunteer this summer! Learn more at www.warmbeach.com/specialfriends or call Faith Oates at 360.761.1267

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