7/23/15 - Camp Riley day 5
(the last two camps have both had pretty spotty service, so my updates are definitely falling behind, but I have some service at least temporarily so I will be posting as much as I can here as quickly as possible. Sorry for the delay)
Since we got the horse run project completed so quickly, we had the whole day today to hang out with campers for what that call Challenge Day.
at the beginning of the two week camp the campers all make goals that they want to complete before they leave camp. Since this week was all campers with some level of physical disability, many of the challenges included things like swimming laps in the pool, canoeing across the lake, or walking up the steep Access road into the camp called cardiac hill.
I knew that it was going to be cool to see the campers complete their challenges on that final day of camp, but I had no idea just how inspirational it was going to be.
Campers who were usually in wheelchairs were walking or sometimes even crawling on their hands and knees up the hill into camp. Campers who couldn't usually stand on their own were In the pool swimming or walking laps all by themselves. I couldn't help but tear up seeing all of the friends I had made doing such incredible things and working so hard to achieve them. Seeing a girl spend three hours climbing a hill on her hands and knees just to prove that she can do it on her own really shows that these challenges are so much more than just simple tasks. The work and dedication that these campers show is just so heartwarming and inspirational.
the crescendo moment was when we were at awards that night. With the help of one of our guys, a girl was able to slowly step out of her wheelchair and Walk to go accept her award. it wasn't until she got it and got back into her chair that she mentioned that that was her first time walking, ever. the whole audience Was completely silent, And then erupted in the biggest cheers I've ever heard.
i wish I could share more pictures, but due to some issues with camper media releases I can only use mostly pictures taken by our photographer Jesus Palma. As always, check out his albums for more pictures of the awesome work we've been up to this week.
- Ryker Belnap