Getting outside ourselves
Every August I have the good fortunate to witness some amazing healing that takes place at Camp to Belong, a camp my wife Nonie helped to start 11 years ago. The purpose of the camp is to reunite siblings who are separated from one another in the foster care system. I’m talking about brothers and sisters who are placed in different foster homes because one family is unable to accommodate all siblings under the same roof.
As someone who grew up in a house with two brothers and four sisters, I can only begin to imagine how heart wrenching it would have been to be separated from my siblings in those earlier years.
Needless to say, a lot gets packed into one week of Camp to Belong – so these kids can begin to experience at least a few of the activities most of us took for granted growing up.
Creating this wonderful bonding experience is made possible through the dedication of about 60 adult volunteers, most of them young professionals who give up precious vacation time to a be with the campers for a week. To see these volunteers working with these kids is a beautiful thing indeed.
What makes the camp extra special is that everyone, campers and volunteers alike, is enriched by the experience. The kids get to lose themselves in the full camp experience (swimming, arts & crafts, climbing wall, etc), and the adults (although they work their butts off) get to feel the satisfaction of creating a special, nurturing environment for these kids. It’s a classic win-win for everyone involved.
Ghandi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” And I see this in action every time I go to camp.
Volunteering, as I say in my book, Feel the Zest: 89 Ways to Be Fully Energized, is a great way to “get outside of ourselves”. Shifting our focus from self to others has the effect of giving us a nice boost in energy too. Anyone who has ever given of their time to a worthy cause knows of the inner glow that comes from helping others. It’s hard to beat.
Give some thought to what you could do for others on a regular basis. When you commit to a purpose bigger than yourself – you will be rewarded handsomely for your effort.