I'm not liking where my thoughts are going lately and I'm trying very hard to not be too consumed by them. It would be quite easy to write a pathetic entry about how I'm feeling, but I'm trying to focus on something good. So, I will write about a child that really left an impact on me at camp.
For blogging purposes, I'll call him Tommy.
Tommy was too old for our program. He was 13, and we advertise that we only go up to 12. His mom registered late and it was all very last minute, and I didn't notice until he was there. Once I met him, it was pretty clear Tommy could find right into our program. In fact, he played like a 6 year old. He was the size of a 13 year old though, and I had to constantly remind him to be gentle with the little guys.
He reminded me of my brother. His looks, his behavior, his interests, even the way he walked, was like my brother. His health form listed a plethora of diagnoses, and my brother was only diagnosed as Asperger's, but none the less, Tommy could have been my brothers twin, except 10 years younger.
The other staff didn't like him much. In fact, one of them said she was scared of him. He had angry outbursts. When he was in trouble, it was pretty common for him to yell, "I hate you. Leave me alone!" It didn't make me scared though. And after he calmed down, he always apologized, on his own, without any prompting.
He had his troubles outside of camp, no doubt. See, the first day of camp, children bring lunches that are the same as what they would pack for school. Except your physical activity at camp is so much greater then at school, and children are always hungry the first day. They make sure their parents know, and they always have much larger lunches and snacks the second day. Tommy was no exception. On his second day, I commented to him upon seeing the three lunch boxes his mom packed (labeled morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack), that his mom hooked him up with food today! His response:
"What, do you work for DSS?" I could tell the sort of home life he had.
Yet, there was something about him. He did have a huge heart and he was so forgiving. If kids would tease him, he always forgave them and would play with them later. He may get angry in the heat of the moment, but always calmed down and forgave anything. He was never violent at all.
Tommy is the kind of child camp is made for. That boy inspires me.