Camp Baker Changed my Life

I hate to say such a banal term, but it is the only way to express my life, more so my thinking, post Camp Baker. I went to Camp Baker with only one expectation: to learn. WIth such a broad and general expectation, it was impossible to be disappointed.

My week at Camp Baker eliminated fears that I didn’t even realize I possessed. The night before we started service, I called my mom terrified about the events that would follow. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing nor say nothing at all. My mom gently reassured me that everything would be okay if my heart was in the right place. These words flowed so compassionately and genuinely because my mom  works in a home for individuals diagnosed with AIDS/HIV and once also had these same fears. I trusted her and she was right.

I went in and saw each individual as simply a person with a disability, but a person nonetheless. From the start I felt comfortable and wanted. Feeling wanted was the fuel that kept me going each day. Smiles, high-fives,pounds, half hugs and just interactions ( verbal or non-verbal) honestly made my day. Not only did this trip help me make strides with familiarity and  comfortability (is that a word?)  with humans with mental disabilities, but alos it taught me a lot about myself and how decisions should be made and who should make them.

Should majority always win? Or does democracy only ostracize the minority? What does that say about the minority? Are they wrong? Unwanted? Not important? Negligible even? Maybe this idea of “majority rules” is a coward way approaching dilemmas and ideas. Over the week in various areas of my trip, I found myself asking these questions. These questions stemmed from pondering about group dynamics, but one could also think of retarded individuals as a minority. If we always use this concept of “majority rules”, important individuals apart of the minority get left behind, simply for being part of the minority. I never thought about minority in the sense of ability. But to think that the individuals that I made a connection with at Camp Baker are part of this forgotten and ridiculed minority, truly makes me sad. I thank places like Camp Baker and students on various ASB trips around the nation for taking the time to reiterate and reinforce the notion that minorities should not be forgotten and tossed aside.


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