Students share experience from Camp BASIC
Belle Plaine, MN–At the beginning of their summer, the Summer Ministry Experience (SME) students spent a week at Camp BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Two of this year’s participants share their experiences from camp:
Jamie Anderson shares, “The Summer Ministry Experience (SME) has been one of the most eye-opening and rewarding experiences of my life. One of the biggest things I learned this summer is that people with disabilities are people just like you or I. They have feelings, interests, and needs of friends and support systems just the same as any of us. I had always known this, but I still felt that I needed to treat them “special.”
“This really hit me when our SME team volunteered for a week at Camp BASIC. At this camp we were able to work with an individual camper or two for a full week, from wake until bedtime, making sure they would take their medicine, eat, bathe, brush teeth, etc. By the end of the week, I knew the names of most of the other campers, and I didn’t see differences between camper with disabilities and the camp counselors—all I saw was a family; one family. … You can joke around with them and have conversations with them just like you could with anyone else.”
Deanna Becker has also enjoyed the experience so far, “Never once has there been a place we’ve gone or a person we’ve meet that is the same. Every person is special in their own way and it is impossible to put a label on a person with a disability or put them into a category.
“The week we were at Camp BASIC was one of the greatest examples of this. Some of the campers there were the most talkative and outgoing people I’ve ever met. Some of the campers didn’t say a word, but were so gentle and caring in everything they did. And, there were campers who could be a little stubborn, and some who were constantly kind.
“One camper especially stands out in my mind. Every time you would look at him, he was always smiling, no matter what. His outlook on life made me wonder if the things that I get upset about during the day are really worth it. Their attitudes and ability to love is so amazing to witness. The campers had their own friendships and relationships and many were very willing to create more.
“I can’t even count the number of times my heart melted during that week, because every one of those campers were so great to get to know. On the last night when all the counselors reflected on the experience, there were definitely some tears shed because all of the campers touched our lives so much.”
All 8 of this year’s SME participants participated at Camp BASIC. After camp, 1 student returned to The Lutheran Home Campus in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, to serve as a Chaplain’s assistant while the other 7 travel, hosting Bible day camps around the Midwest.
The Summer Ministry Experience is funded by donations. We thank all who make this experience possible!