I spent the week of July 10-16 at Indian Trails Camp (ITC). Located in Grand Rapids, ITC is a camp for people with disabilities. It offers social and recreational opportunities for people that society generally disregards. The camp counselors are mostly college-aged men and women. The amount of patience, compassion, respect and dignity shown by these counselors to the campers, never ceases to amaze me. I tend to gravitate toward the counselors and other staff, as I share my heart, my story of redemption with them. This year I was blessed to have my boy Chris back as a counselor. It was a blessing because he wasn’t planning on, or supposed to be working this summer. However, since Megan, the Camp Director, was on maternity leave, there was some disorder. Therefore, Chris was called back for his 4th summer at ITC, by his friend and mine, Kyler, who is currently at ITC in leadership capacity. While I was at camp it was week 5. It was Chris’ first week back and my only week there. As I stated above, I gravitate toward the counselors going out of my way to befriend and learn the names of most of them. Once I went to ask Chris the name of a counselor. He had no idea and reminded me that it was his first week back as well. At that point, I realized that I knew more counselors than he did. For me, I have to meet and befriend as many counselors as I can because I am only there for one week, while he has 5 more weeks to get to know his fellow counselors. My other counselors were Noah and Camilo. Noah’s a cool cat, so is Camilo. However, I was impressed with Camilo, who hails from Columbia. Of course, English is his second language and he spoke it and understood it extremely well, especially considering that he is self-taught. Him and I also had similar taste in ladies.
I was blessed with an attractive “health official” named Taylor, who took care of my medication. She’s such a sweetheart, she’d actually take the time to spoon feed me a full cup of pudding if I wanted, when I only require a bite or two to down my medicine. I’m just now wondering if they had any grapes, would she? Lol I kid I kid! 😉 Luv ya Taylor!
Tuesday the band Brena entertained us in the newly built gymnasium. Brena is seriously the best cover band I’ve ever heard. That is, they cover or play music written and popularized by others. What’s great about them is that they are a rock band that doesn’t shy away from covering pop, R & B, country or even rap, and they make the songs their own by playing them in a rock style. The talent is overwhelming as several of the members play non-traditional instruments, like the trombone, trumpet and/or fiddle, as the song requires. For example, they played Charlie Daniel’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia in rock format.
Chris had to work outside of camp Wednesday, so Kyler stayed with me Tuesday night so he could help me with my morning routine. I’m sure Noah or Camilo could have done it, but Chris knows I feel more comfortable being transferred by someone who’s familiar with me. Kyler was with Chris and I in a cabin 3 years ago. So Chris asked Kyler if he’d help me. He agreed, so I felt like VIP!
Wednesday night my friend Jill stopped by ITC to visit. This is the only time I ever get to see Jill because she lives in the Grand Rapids area, while I reside near Port Huron. Jill has been instrumental in helping edit my soon-to-be released book, making textual suggestions and just pushing me to finish. Jill and I spent time visiting with Cara, who’s a registered nurse at ITC. Cara is a beautiful lady, inside and out, whom I so admire because she takes mission trips to Israel to teach the Palestinian population English. She makes no secret of her Christian faith, as she shares the gospel with those who are open. I have been blessed to share in here adventures, via email, as she teaches English to Arabs living in Hebron.
Thursday they had a dance. Even though I can’t really dance, I make it a point to go during a dance week because I like getting dressed up and, despite the fact that a spirit of envy is aroused in me as I desire to dance freely as well, I genuinely enjoy watching others dance. I also like to get my picture taken with my new friends.
They have different activities for the campers to attend by cabin. The cabins are named after different Indian tribes. My cabin was Seneca. It’s cool though, because I can just skip an activity if I feel like it. Friday I did just that as I visited with my friend Ashley, who was a former counselor at ITC. My cabin was boating that day. I’ve been boating
several times at camp, so I wasn’t really missing anything. Later that evening, with everyone hanging out on the porch outside the lodge, after the evening program, a counselor, Daniel, asked me what my favorite activity was. I said, “this.” Not quite understanding, I explained that I enjoyed just hanging out and shooting the breeze. For me camp is all about the people. The old friendships rekindled with my fellow campers, and the new friendships formed with the counselors.