I cannot believe that this ASB trip is over, it felt like it just started. I had such a blast working with people with special needs again while getting close with an awesome group of people. Though I had previously worked with only kids with special needs, I learned that many of the methods that have helped me with them worked with older people with special needs, and that both experiences were equally rewarding. One of the best parts of the experience in Camp Baker was the connections I made with both the group of children we worked with in the afternoons and the group of adults we worked with in the mornings, and how each day I worked to make the connections stronger. The initial connections that I made with many of the campers, or clients, at Camp Baker were great, but seeing the connections deepen each day I worked with them was remarkable.
I think the strongest connections I made were with the children. One example was with a non-verbal child. Since in my program back home I worked with lower-functioning kids, most of whom were non-verbal, I felt drawn to this one non-verbal child who was running around the playground by himself (he was also adorable). He was so content running around with the same happy, playful expression on his face, but I really wanted to work with him and try and make a connection. By the end of the day, I had got him to give me a lot of hi-fives and one big goodbye hi-five before he left. But the next day when I saw him, his face lit up and he ran over to me and gave me a hug. Besides the fact that I made my strongest connection with him, the best part about the connection we had was that it was not the only one I made, but seeing his face light up when he remembered me the next day was one of the best parts of the trip.
Not only did I make some great connections with the clients, both children and adults, but I also made some great friendships with my teammates. The people whom I was already friendly with before the trip became closer friends with me, and the people who I knew less or not at all are now some of my close friends. And that is part of what ASB is about. It is not just about giving up a vacation of partying with your friends or hanging out with your family to participate in meaningful and rewarding community service opportunities in places that you may have never been before, but it is also about making friends with other individuals who made the same choice. I love ASB and I am so happy to have the opportunity to participate in one of the best service experiences of my life with a great group of students who are not just my classmates, but my friends.