In college, I had to participate in a Senior Capstone class. This was a requirement for all students to graduate. The Senior Capstone classes that we offered usually consisted of some sort of volunteer/community outreach program. Also, most of these classes were scheduled just as most college classes- meeting once or twice a week, for a three month term. Instead of choosing one of those classes, I opted to participate in a two week summer camp for teens with disabilities.
During those two weeks, I lived and breathed those kids! We helped them get ready in the morning, ate meals with them, participated in exciting camp activities (obstacle courses, fishing, hikes, canoeing, swimming, etc.), participated in plays, sang songs, etc. Those two weeks were the most emotionally and physically exhausting two weeks of my life (at least to that point), but it was also the most rewarding and life-changing two weeks I could imagine participating in.
After seeing the teens and their absolute love of life and their fellow man, I wanted to continue to keep that feeling going in my own life. I worked for a year at a middle school in the special education program. Once again, it was difficult and exhausting work, but the rewards that came with it were unimaginable! For the past few years, life has gotten in the way and I have had very few experiences with this amazing population. But last weekend that all changed!
|The Bocce Ball Field|
|Mom keeping score|
Every athlete that competed in the games was kind to one another, while still giving their all every time they participated. They cheered one another on (even those from other teams), they reminded each other of the rules without being rude or insulting, they smiled and showed great sportsmanship even when you could tell they were heartbroken at the outcome of the game. I wish everyone could be more like the amazing men and women I met over the weekend.
|Mystery trying to stay cool|
|Our turn to play!|
|Joe enjoying the games|
Not only was this a personally valuable weekend, it may also turn out to be a professionally valuable weekend as well. I have always had the long-term goal to continue my education, and become special education endorsed. Since having Liam and continuing the reading endorsement, this has been put on the back burner and has slipped further into my pool of goals. But this is no longer the case!
|Taking a break between games|