Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” I believe that I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in Camp K for more than 18 years now, and to have the unique opportunity to play a role in enhancing the quality of life for so many people and families. When I was 18 years old, in Romania, I enrolled in an exchange program. That same summer, while in college studying to become a banker, I ended up being a counselor at Camp K in Utah. I had not been around people with disabilities before that time. However, that opportunity, that summer, completely changed who I am today. That was one of those moments when you make choices, and the path of your life changes. I consider that moment to be the turning moment in my life, and an experience that I would not change for anything in the world. Getting to know, and getting to work for, people with special needs and disabilities has enhanced my vision on human nature and the human heart. Who are we, where do we belong, and why are we here? I certainly believe that living half my life in Europe and half my life in United States has given me an opportunity to understand different cultures and different lifestyles. People are people – it doesn’t matter where you go around the world. Everyone just wants to have a better life, and make a difference in the world. People with special needs and disabilities are definitely no different.
We all define success in different ways, and success does come in all sizes, forms, and shapes. However, encouraging and giving hope, bringing hope to people with special needs and disabilities during our interactions with them (just like they bring hope back to us), and working to make a difference in someone’s life every day is certainly a form of success. I believe I have been blessed, and I am humbled by the opportunity to work for Camp K, and to represent Camp K as the CEO. I am excited to help create the vision of what our world needs to look like in 5, 10, 15 years from now in regards to inclusion, and services that people with special needs and disabilities should have in our communities. Every person who has achieved success in the world has had at least one person in their life who believed in them, gave them hope, gave them support. In regards to participants at Camp K, it is no different. They need someone who believes in them, gives them hope, and support. Camp K would not be successful without all of the wonderful supporters, volunteers, board members, and donors who build bridges and create success every day for our agency and participants.
Once a year, Camp K holds our annual fundraising event, the “Send a Kid to Camp” Gala, designed to help us build our scholarship fund for the summer. Disability is the number one cause for poverty, and people with disabilities need our support to be successful and independent withinin our communities. Camp K believes in inclusion, and works hard to provide those opportunities for everybody, and to provide scholarships to those who need it most.
Last year, our gala was the most successful ever. We had a lot of fun, and we had a lot of great auction items – silent and live, small and large, trips all over the world, a lot of fun baskets. We want to thank everyone who helped us make the gala a huge success. I want to thank Don Hudson – he and ABC 4 Utah have been amazing ambassadors for our agency. Don Hudson was our emcee last year, and he is coming back to emcee again this year. I want to thank the Sorenson Family for all of their continued support, who came to our gala last year and were honored with the Children’s Humanitarian Award. I want to thank Celina Jensen, our 2015/2016 Ambassador, who is getting ready to pass on the title to a new Ambassador at the Gala.
This is a call to action to our community to come support us on May 6, and to have an amazing time while making a difference. The Dalai Lama said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.” The trouble is, we think we have time. Life goes by extremely fast. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, you can by supporting Camp K. Please come join us on May 6, and be the voice of people with disabilities, and inclusion, around the world.
Help us make 2016 the best year in Camp K’s history!
“Together we dream, together we do.”