What Camp Means to Our Children and Parents

Last Camp

Dear Rebecca, Darlene and staff,

As I pack my son up for his last camp, I am overwhelmed with emotion for what Camp Opportunity has done for my him.

Four summers ago, after dealing with many traumatic events, adjusting to inner-city living, being in constant fight or flight mode, my son had changed.  He turned into a bully, altering his speak, attempting to be like others, following not leading, trying to find his place, living in a transitional situation, he had changed.  Despite my daily efforts, I was losing.

Camp Opportunity came in and gave us an invitation to a stay away camp for children with trauma.  With PTSD, I knew he needed it.  BUT, location unknown, ok safety.  I get it.  A week away from home, can I handle it?  Is he ready?  I still brush his teeth!  My third grader.  Can he do it? Camp counselor ratio 1:1.  Ok.  You can go.  I had no idea what I had done.

Stan Stovall picked him up for camp.  Knowing he was a friend of his late uncle’s, that was super exciting to my son.  Off he went with the [news] man along with two of his friends.  All three were together.  Which made it easier.

Upon their return, the car door opened and I saw a glow on my son’s face I had never seen.  I realized it was ALL worth it.  He exited holding a large sign that read “Marvin.”   When we hugged, he wept in my arms.  Not like when a two year old stubs their toe.  Like Michael Phelps winning his first gold medal.  He cried hugging Stan good-bye.  As he fought his own tears, Stan handed my boy an autographed headshot.

Through tears my son told me all about his counselor.  How much they talked.  What he had experienced.  How much they had in common.  He didn’t stop talking about Marvin until the following summer’s camp.  Marvin is still and will always be a legend in our household.  I have never had the opportunity to meet him or to say thank you.  To tell Marvin how much of an impact he had on my son.  I wanted Marvin to know his caring, kindness and the words he spoke changed my son’s life forever.  Marvin has the ability to make an impact on people’s lives and should take that into consideration in his professional life.  So please pass that along.

Rebecca, Darlene, Marvin, the nurses and all of the staff at Camp Opportunity thank you for what you do.  You make life changing effects and influences upon the children’s lives you camp with.  The simplest of things you may not realize make a world of difference.  Your smiles, your words, your time, the stories you share, the things you find in common, the lessons you teach, the things they may have been missing and yearning for, all make a difference.  You are all impacting these children at a pivotal time in their lives when they so desperately need it.  What you do matters.  Please know how much you are appreciated and respected.

I am forever grateful and blessed to have two more sons that will be camping in the future.  I look forward to seeing how camp impacts them.

Have a great 2019′ Camp!

Make your mark matter!!


[Parent of Child aged 11]