Kevin Nolan, Younger Program Counselor

Camp Dreamcatcher is a team, but more of a family as we continue to grow.  We don’t discriminate or judge.  We listen and offer support.  Moreover, we strive for a sense of well-being and let each child know they are special and that we care.

During my early years as a counselor, I often wondered if I was helping to make a difference with the kids.  Throughout my 21+ years as a volunteer, I’ve worked with all ages, but have continued to bring my focus on our younger campers.  One year I was left with a heartfelt surprise.  At that time, I was with other co-counselors assigned to one cabin (our own group).  We had a young camper who was there for his second year.  Although we consider each child equally, this camper had been quite the challenge.  He made it difficult for both his counselors and cabin mates. Even in my then limited experience as a counselor, he and I made a connection.  On a particular day, the carnival visited with many prizes.  I spent a lot of that week with this camper who, although was dubious, yearned for attention and we became friends.  On the last day of camp, I met this camper before he got onto the bus to go home.  We both hugged and said our goodbyes as I wished him the best for the upcoming school year.  He whispered in my ear that I check my bunk when I returned to the cabin to collect my belongings.  I didn’t think too much into it, but assured him that I would.  Later, I found that he had left a handwritten note along with a favorite prize he had won.  A gift for me.  He expressed how much I had meant to him that week, mostly because I listened to what he had to say and that I would be missed outside of camp.  It was in that moment I realized that I (all of us) really do make a difference and I continue to return each year.