(via Tami Delish Seeger’s Birthday Wish | Causes Wish)
Camp Kindle has come to define my young adult life. Maybe you don’t care about my young adult life, that’s cool. We can’t care about everything. But for the next five minutes I’m asking you to care about the kids that I have for the last five years. I’ll spare you the origin story- how I got involved with Kindle is not unique or particularly interesting. It’s the campers’ stories that keep me coming back every summer. Stories of kids that were bullied and beat up at school because their HIV+ status became public, kids who were made to sit alone with a separate drinking fountain and bathroom so as not to “infect” the other kids. Every summer I hear stories of kids who have lost parents, aunts, uncles and friends to this disease. I hear stories of kids that have to lie about why they take medicine, who can’t go on sleep overs or play sports because they are afraid of others finding out they have HIV. But these aren’t the stories that move me the most.
I love the stories of kids standing up to others who are misinformed. I love when a camper discovers just how much power and influence they have, when they start thinking of themselves as a leader. I love the stories of kids finding the courage to be proud of who they are instead of ashamed of what they have.
I truly believe that Camp Kindle is a monumental part of that process. At Camp Kindle, the campers meet others who have similar problems and anxieties (many of them, for the first time). They get to really experience that they aren’t alone. So listen. It costs $1000 to send just one kid to camp. We serve about 200 kids every summer. Last year I raised $310 dollars. I am still humbled by the generosity of the people that donated, many of whom I haven’t even seen in years. I’ve raised the stakes this year and set my goal for $500. Cause I’m old, I thought it apropos to ask for $26- but whatever you can afford would make me and the kids at camp ever so happy. If facebook donations freak you out, you can mail me a check (made out to Project Kindle), donate via paypal (go towww.projectkindle.org, click donate and put my name in the description), or give it to me in person.
If you would like to learn more about what I do as the Leaders-in-Training Director at Camp, after you donate (or before if you need more convincing) you can head over to the LIT blog www.kindlingleaders.com and poke around. There are some cool videos that the LITs at camp have made, some interviews with past campers doing amazing things in their communities (ie: Paige Rawl) and other great articles. There is also more information about Camp Kindle and Project Kindle.