My experiences at CTB have helped me put context on my own life and give meaning to much of the work I do all year long. These life changing moments at camp help sustain me while working with the Child Welfare system. Being a part of CTB is always rewarding, emotionally exhausting, filled with laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, song, and a flurry of activity. I take comfort in the company of incredible friends that I have made throughout the years as a volunteer, and I am humbled by how rich my life has become by having the honor of helping in the effort to make a difference in the lives of children. At the closing campfire a camper stood up and said,
“If I could just have one present for my birthday, or at Christmas, it would be Camp To Belong.”
Nothing could have validated us more, in that moment, and in these memories and sentiments I have shared. These children are the strongest young people I have ever met. They are resilient in the face of adversity and display love when often the world has not given them reason to love.
C.P. Estes puts so well in her poem The Faithful Gardener,
She says, New Seed is faithful
Its roots deepest
In the places
that are most empty.
Thank you for helping youth grow roots!! The harvest hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m going there!
~ Karyn Schimmels, CTB Oregon Director