My son consistently fell through the cracks at school but never at Summer Camp! Thank you Ontario Pioneer Camp, for when a boy is seen, really SEEN…. great things happen!
When a child experiences genuine recognition and appreciation (outside of getting it from their primary caregiver) for the first time, it is a priceless moment in time. One I wish I could have captured on video so I could press repeat until it no longer plays.
Yesterday was one of those moments for Liam.
Have you met my little Li Li?
Ever since he entered school at the age of 4, he has not had it easy. He doesn’t fit the mold of our typical Canadian educational system. Year after year, he has been that square peg trying to be squeezed into that round hole. More often than not he’s heard from his teachers – his leaders – his mentors – he doesn’t compare to his older siblings, he needs to focus more, he needs to try harder, he needs to stop moving, he needs to pay attention, he needs to change. He’ll be going into grade 7 in the fall. Eight years of hearing (at school) that he isn’t enough…
When I dropped Liam off at Ontario Pioneer Camp yesterday, he made his way to the Camp Activities Director, “Nanook” and the first words out of his mouth… “Remember me?!” with a coy smile on his face.
I was expecting the usual pat answer, “Oh ya kid, of course, I do! How are you this year?” or something along those generic lines. It’s not like we’ve seen these people since July 2013. Plus, Liam is one of several hundred kids who came through Boys’ Camp last year.
Nanook made me tear up.
He quickly, without hesitance said, “How could I forget you Liam? The kid who talks more than any other kid I know,” with a chuckle and a head rub. “You’ve grown since last summer, no more standing up and reaching over the dining table this year, K?!” When Nanook read the activities Liam registered for, Boys’ Camp Radio was one of his 3 choices, he said with enthusiasm, “Out of all the boys at camp, you are perfect for this Liam.”
Liam grinned from ear to ear.
My heart melt.
If that’s the only reason to keep returning to Ontario Pioneer Camp every summer, that’s enough for me!
Liam deserves to be recognized and appreciated. He is an awesome kid who has so much to offer! Thank you OPC for seeing how special he is. He will remember these summers for the rest of his life and the impact you’re making on him will help him as he grows into manhood. His self-esteem got a booster shot yesterday afternoon.
OPC is worth every penny!
Ontario Pioneer Camp is a Christian Summer Camp, established in 1929 near Port Sydney, Ontario in the heart of Muskoka. Over the past 85 years, OPC has had more than 250,000 campers, between the ages of 5 and 17, pass through their 1200 acres and 5 sites.