Smith Park Annual AppealThanks to the leadership of the Smith Park Board ofDirectors, the volunteers who serve on our non-profit board,our Annual Campaign was launched this month and has raised$6,000 to date. Annual Campaign donors become members ofSmith Park of New York, giving them the ability to vote for ourboard of Directors at the Annual Meeting in March. Please read issue #8 of the Firefly for all the latest Camp Segowea news.
January brings many things: hopes and goals for the New Year, a return to school from holiday breaks, and for many of us, the beginning of our countdown to summer camp!
This January, we were fortunate to get a special note from a parent whose child attended Camp WA WA for the first time last summer. We are happy to share the letter in it’s entirety below. This letter beautifully highlights the experience thousands of campers have had at WA WA over the past 90 years, and is such an awesome reminder of how powerful our program can be for an individual camper. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Dear Camp WA WA…
I’m writing this letter as if you were a dear friend… because – it feels like you are. We don’t “know each other” personally – you know my daughter. Do you remember her because SHE REMEMBERS YOU! In fact, she talks about YOU all the time! You see, last year – my daughter had the blessing and gift of receiving a scholarship to visit you. Did you know you changed her life?
Let me tell you Wa Wa – you are MY friend for life now too.
You might not know this but the little girl who left and the little girl who came back were two very different people. You are a very good friend to have – you give little girls so many things. I sent you a little girl with anxiety and fears and some broken pieces… I had no idea you would send me back a child who was brave and self-confident – who learned skills to fix her OWN broken pieces.
This little girl has not had an easy life. She was so scared to travel to WA WA where she knew no one and had no friends. She had never been away from me for more the 2 nights! She balked 2 weeks before camp started but we talked a lot about being brave and we packed… OK we over-packed.
On drop-off day she was scared – I was terrified. Who were these people I was trusting with my little girl with her broken wings and fears? Would you know that she can get nervous sometimes when she doesn’t have a friend by her side? Would you know she practiced swimming for 2 weeks because she was terrified of the water test? Would you know that she wanted her bunk to be pretty and that she was didn’t like certain foods? She cried when I left and I almost took her back home but I gave her a pep talk and then I cried all the way to my car and sat in a parking lot wanting to go back and get her. And then for 2 weeks I chewed my nails off… and I too learned how to be brave.
I trusted you WA WA and you didn’t let me down. I got the first letters and they were hesitant but they were happy. I got more and they became joyful. She made friends – she became part of a family of people I never knew but they were HERS. YOU ARE HERS. You are not mine – you never WILL be mine except that through her – you are eternally mine. Because the day I picked up that little girl she cried again and so did I. But then – she cried on the way home – because she hated leaving her WA WA family. That’s what she calls you – her WA WA family. You became family last year. You changed a life. You helped a scared little girl become a brave little girl.
It has taken me months to write you this letter – to thank you… but you see last week the letter for WA WA came and I saw her face explode in joy again and the stories started again and the calendar went on the wall and the pictures on Facebook that have shown me memories that I am not a part of reminded me that I hadn’t written you to tell you – WA WA – you are amazing. There will never be a way to properly thank you for all the beautiful joy, love and care you give – you are not a camp – you are a family – and you change lives one at a time. Thank you for becoming part of our family.
One happy camper’s mom