Paige has been volunteering with the Anaheim Family YMCA Resident Camp Program for 12 years. She started as a camper and loved the programs so much that she knew she wanted to give back.
I loved the person I was at camp. I wasn’t the same person at home during the school year. I loved being with my “camp friends” and who I was around them. They made me feel good. A common ground we shared, was wanting to give back to a program that gave so much to us growing up. The idea of giving a group of campers a similar experience my leaders gave me, was something I really desired as a young adult (and still do). I wanted to be involved with the program for a long time because I believed in it.”
Paige’s typical responsibilities at Camp Fox & Camp Miehana are to keep campers safe and make sure they are having a spectacular time. However, Paige explains that it’s so much more than that. She feels it’s her responsbility to be completely present for them, to be empathetic and a good listener. She teaches them to be kind to one another. She is there to hold their hand as they try new things and to motivate them to be the best versions of themselves. Campers come with varying challenges and personalities and Paige is there to navigate a life-changing week of camp through all of it.
Campers quickly learn that for one week, out of fifty-two, they can be fully and authentically themselves. Every camper is given the opportunity, as soon as they get to camp, to be their true and best self. And when our campers are given the safe space to do so, they flourish into their best selves. Coming back to camp is a great reminder of who they are and who they are striving to be. It’s a great reset button for many. By the end of the week, our hope is that all our campers take camp home with them– and they absolutely do.”
Paige shares that she continues to volunteer for the camping program every year because it pushes her boundaries, she is constantly being tested and learning how she can be better. She explains that as a volunteer, she gets to build strong relationships with her group of campers in the short amount of time she’s at camp.
We become so invested in their journey, and they allow us to be a part of that. There is nothing more humbling and rewarding. They trust us and want us to be involved in their goals in life. It truly is the BEST feeling in the world.”