(Note: This story is based on an actual camper’s experience. The camper’s name has been changed.)
Edward was only four years old when his father began to abuse him physically and emotionally. Edward internalized the abuse and believed that he somehow deserved it, and this made him feel terrible all the time. He never wanted to go home at the end of school each day.
Eventually, a school counselor intervened and a social worker removed him from the abusive environment. However, Edward was severely traumatized by his experiences and it affected every aspect of his life. He had poor grades and didn’t feel interested in anything. He found it especially difficult to cultivate lasting friendships, and he had no confidence or self-esteem. He slipped into a deep depression and almost gave up on himself entirely.
Then one day, his social worker heard about the Rotary Youth Camp and the opportunities it provides for abused children to have positive and healthy experiences. She encouraged Edward to sign up, and he decided to give it a try. He was extremely happy that he did.
That summer at the Camp, Edward met kids from all over the area who’d also been abused. He related to them as they shared their stories of survival, and for the first time in his life he felt like he wasn’t alone in his pain. He gained strength through the relationships he cultivated, and had an incredibly good time, as well.
The Camp gave Edward and his new friends the chance to build their self-esteem and to meet positive adult role models who encouraged them to believe in themselves. It also introduced them to new interests and hobbies that they could develop into useful skills. Edward never forgot his first experience at Camp, and he resolved to return every summer thereafter, which he did.
Edward grew into a capable, confident, and compassionate young man who dedicated his life to helping abused children. He returned to the Camp every year to share his story with new campers and to help them realize their potential in life.
Your donation to Greater Kansas City Day will ensure that the Rotary Youth Camp continues to serve abused children and improve the quality of their lives. Click the yellow “Donate” button or buy a paper April 10 to donate any amount to support the Rotary Youth Camp.