My daughter Hanna has enjoyed going to a summer camp for the last five years. Each summer in the beautiful countryside, she has camped with disabled boys for a week as one of the volunteers. Initially I was not too sure about the idea of a 17-year-old, who not only had no experience in care but also could hardly keep her own room tidy, taking on such a responsible role. My concern however was proven needless. She LOVES the camp. Her love can be felt in these blog posts of hers.
According to her, the summer camp is THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH. To a parent it is a little disturbing to know that she comes home with a sinking feeling in her heart when the camp is over, but I am really glad that she has found something that she loves and looks forward to so much.
At her first ever camp Hanna sent me a text: Having such a good time, don’t want to come home 😥 disco and karaoke tonight. xxx
When I showed this to my husband, he suggested a reply to her which I sent as follows: Don’t bother to come home – we’ve let your room to a refugee family, they do all house chores and garden work! -Daddy
She returned home yesterday from this year’s camp and yet again said that it had been the best camp ever. She made a 4-minute video showing the week of fun at the camp.
Two years ago Hanna became Sherwin’s helper. It was his first time at the camp so after arriving on Saturday his mother stayed as well, but on Sunday she decided he wasn’t going to settle in and Sherwin and his mother went back home. Feeling somewhat responsible, Hanna was saddened so much that she could not stop crying. She was therefore over the moon when Sherwin returned to the camp on Wednesday to enjoy the rest of the camp! Just before Christmas that year, Sherwin’s mother, two other volunteer campers (who are Hanna’s friends) and Hanna surprised Sherwin with a reunion at a shopping mall.
He of course has become a regular camper since. In spring this year Hanna learned that Sherwin’s family had started fundraising for him to have a life-changing operation – selective dorsal rhizotomy. Urged to do something to support it, Hanna decided to take on the South West Tough Mudder next month, along with two other camp helpers and one of her housemates.
Just like me, she is far from a sporty type, and yet she is going to run 12 miles in the mud! That made me feel like doing something to help and it happened that I was to sell my origami flowers in a local card & gift shop this month.
It all started when I made origami carnations watching YouTube last summer. As they looked quite pretty, I started adding them more petals, a stem and leaves. I gave the completed flowers to family and a few friends, but as I was so hooked to making them, I ended up having too many at home and thought of selling them. When I saw a notice at a local shop that they give two shelves to “locally made” crafts each month, I applied for a place which turned out to be this month after being on a waiting list. As it was timely, I decided to donate all money from the sale to support Hanna’s fundraising.
In Japanese there is an idiom Ichi-go ichi-e which encourages people to treasure meeting others. Had Hanna never taken part in summer camp, she would have idled away her time at home. I am truly grateful that she was given the chance to widen her world.
In case you would like to make a donation towards the appeal my daughter and her friends have started, here’s the link. Please note that this appeal will close at the end of August 2017.
From September 2017, please donate to this appeal which stays open until the £10,000 target is met.
Thank you for reading!
(Monologue: The fact that Sherwin’s family have to raise money for his operation while the want-to-be-a-model woman was given breast enlargement by NHS is beyond my comprehension…..)