My last week in England was spent quite differently than my first three. I had completed my placement at the pediatric hospice and hopped on a train out of London to the Midlands for a week of summer camp. If you ask anyone who knows me well, they can probably tell you that summer camp is my forte. I spent 4 years during undergraduate university volunteering with Camp Kesem, an organization that offers a week of summer camp for kids affected by a parent’s cancer. My senior year of college, I served as one of the Co-Directors of my university’s chapter, and it was the best year of my life.
This past week in England, I volunteered with a camp called Over the Wall. This charity offers a week of camp for children and young people with health challenges. After spending three weeks with the hospice in a more calm and quiet environment, I was really looking forward to seeing a fun and energetic side of this field. I walked into the center and jumped right in to volunteer trainings.
The next five days were a blur of singing, dancing, laughing, crying, and life-changing moments. I was lucky enough to be a part of the first ever Silver team at the Over the Wall Midlands Health Challenges camp. Our team of 7 teenagers rolled in on Sunday, a little bit nervous and a little bit excited. Our team had a blast that week. The encouragement and positivity I saw from the campers and the volunteers was incredible, and I know that the campers were leaving this week with more confidence and positivity than ever before. I was reminded how important it is to listen to our clients. I learned so much about these young people by simply listening, and that is what they truly needed – someone to hear them out and acknowledge their struggles.
Overall, this week was a ton of fun, and it was the perfect way to tie up my time in England. I have learned a lot during my time here. I have had the incredible opportunity to explore a new city while meeting some incredible people. I have seen the systems in action here in England and have learned a lot that I hope to take back to the States with me. I am looking forward to reflecting more on what I have learned here and applying it in my work in the U.S.
To learn more about Over The Wall visit their website here: https://www.otw.org.uk/