This has been one of the most life changing experiences in my life; I've been on multiple service trips but none such as this. There is one difference. Kids. I love kids, and most of all I love making a difference in their lives. I've worked with kids since I was able to even work and what I have learned is that all kids are the same; they all have a desire to be wanted, they all have amazing minds, and they all have the ability to inspire anyone they touch. Working at the Simply Smiles summer camp is a mind blowing experience. Knowing what these kids are living with, and that they still get on that big red bus so happy to be with us for that day. Bryan said over and over that this camp is their haven, a place for them to let life go for awhile, not until those kids came running to the bus did I fully understand what he meant. As a team we prepared weeks on end to be sure all of our expenses were met and most importantly, that the we were ready for every aspect involving the kids. The first day of camp was rocky and we all felt as though our planning wasn't successful but at the same time we all felt as though we made some slight difference in each child with every smile, every laugh, every piggy back ride (lots and lots of piggy back rides!!!!!!!!) Looking back at this afternoon's camp day it was even more rewarding than the last. It was extremely hot today, I have the rosy red cheeks to prove it! Rebuilding the roof, fixing a family's shelter though is way worth the battle scars. The little girl that lives at the house comes out each day to check on us to see how we are doing; offers us a glass of fresh tea and asking for a ride over to the community center for camp. It's a blessing to see how our hard work is paying off even though the work is not even near completion. It just takes the time and effort to make a difference, exactly what my team and I are dedicating!
It's hard to explain my experiences on paper because it is just an unbelievable feeling. Most of what is around us is unbelievable; the poverty and the need, the landscape and terrain, the horizon and the long days, and hope that is being restored with every swing of a hammer or every piggy back.
Brittany- East Haddam Team