Opinion Column By J1 Reporter Paige Connelly
Munroe Meyer is an institution whose mission is, “to lead the world in transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and communities through outreach, engagement, premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.”
This institution has changed my life. More specifically, Camp Munroe. Camp Munroe is a day camp program which runs Monday through Friday for six weeks out of the summer. This day camp program is offered for children ages 3 ½ to 21 with developmental disabilities including: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and/or any genetic disorders.
For the past two years I have volunteered at Camp Munroe. I was motivated to volunteer there by my cousin, Kate. Kate had done this the year before I started and could not stop talking about how much she loved it, which got me very interested. I had always had an interest in working with kids and adults with special needs and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so.
The first time I went to Munroe I was so nervous. I had no experience at all and I was afraid that I was going to be terrible with the kids. On my first day I was paired with a 12-year-old girl named Noelle who was wheelchair bound. After being paired with Noelle I was even more nervous because she had difficulty speaking so I was worried something bad would happen and I wouldn’t know. Thankfully she had a nurse with her who was incredibly understanding and helped me when I needed it. Throughout the day I got more comfortable. Noelle and I became quite the buds. The end of the day ended up coming way too fast. The rest of the week was even more fun than the first day.
Coming back the next summer I couldn’t wait! Year after year camp just gets more and more fun. This camp made me become a better person and form friendships that I never knew I could have. I am so incredibly thankful for this whole new world that was introduced me to.