At Kamp 7/28/15

I was worried my whole first bus ride to Kamp for Kids. What would I say to other kids? What was I supposed to do?

I remember pulling up on the pavement and a Kamp Counselor opened the door. She had a big smile and was really friendly, like she was really was glad to see me. But she didn't even know me. She told us to all step down and walk over to a table where there were a few other kids. She told us each to say our names, and we did. Then she described two different games we could play that morning. A girl across from me asked me if I would play one of the games with her later. I said, "Sure!" and that was it--I had a friend to play with! It was that easy. The best thing was that everybody there can be your friend if you want. You don't have to be best friends, but you can be friends. There are no cliques, like at school. Not even among the counselors!

At the end of the summer, when I went back to school, I had a talk with myself. I reminded myself that I had learned at Kamp to ask people questions about themselves, to give them a little time to answer. Not to push in to their "bubble"--their space. High five instead of hugs, you know? At Kamp, they teach you social skills. I could try them out at school.

But mostly, I felt like, "I can do this." that's the main thing that was different for me. And also, I found out that most people are nicer than they look. They are not all going to take your backpack and push you on the school bus. I started to say 'hi,' and really talk to a lot more people at school, people I never imagined I could be friends with. And it was fine! It was so much easier. Kamp changed everything.

by JAC Patrissi