Hey friends! We’re doing well at Camp Summit! We are all separated into different cabins and work with varying ages and genders so we all have different schedules. The campers love all the activities especially riding the horses! Every camper gets to participate in every activity and they definitely wear us out! Last night we had a wacky auction and tonight the younger set played Mission Impossible and the older set had casino night. We love being here and seeing all the campers’ smiles!
We are safe in Texas! After a long day of traveling, we made it to Camp Summit. We had lunch, did some training, and ate dinner (and lots of cookies). There is an Alternative Break program from the University of South Florida here and we are the first two out of state Alternative Break groups to come here. There are also students from the Texas universities and the staff is amazing! We are all pretty exhausted but so excited to meet our campers and for Jamil and Dannah to get here!! It sounds like it’s going to be a really fun week!
Yesterday, we all rotated shifts and got to experience new things and different ways to interact with the kids and their family. We became even closer as a group and we have so many inside jokes that crack us all up! When we got back to the hotel, we attempted to make spaghetti.. But the water took a good thirty minutes to boil.. The spaghetti in the end turned out so good, and we all bonded while waiting on it and as we told our “highs and lows”.
Our last day of GKTW was today, and the majority of us worked in the Gingerbread House, and it was so heartwarming to see familiar faces of the kids that we met the days before. The kids were so excited to see us again, and told us about their amazing week. That night, the village celebrated Christmas and had Disney characters visit with the kids and had Disney chefs who catered. All of us were scattered around the park at story time, the parade, the concessions, etc and we all had so much fun! However, at the same time, it was really sad to think about tonight being our last! Some of us visited the Gallery of Hope to learn about the history of the village and watch the video, but it was so sweet and emotional and sad. We all did the highs and lows for the day, and I think we for the most part unanimously agreed that it was the best day and we hardly had any legitimate lows!
I think each one of our lives were touched at some point during this week. We were expecting to change the children’s lives, but in reality they impacted us more! We’re so sad to not volunteer anymore, but we’re super excited to go shopping in Orlando tomorrow! Maybe one day we’ll return. 🙂
Our first day on the job at Give Kids the World started at a much-too-early 7am. We were split up into a few different groups: some of us worked serving breakfast at the Gingerbread House, some painted nails at the La Ti Da Spa, some stuffed envelopes in an office, and many more jobs.
Starting at 8am, children (with their families) busted up in the Gingerbread House to get served an amazing breakfast complete with ASB kids carrying their trays, refilling drinks, and bussing tables. It was tough work, but so much fun to meet long term volunteers and hear their stories. (one man we met was a 92-year-old WWII veteran!) At the spa, we painted girls’ nails and put on their makeup or airbrushed face paint, and gave boys temporary tattoos. Some of our volunteers packaged gingerbread cookies to be sent out to partnered sponsors. At around noon, we headed back to the hotel, where we made sandwiches and relaxed/napped until our next shift.
Later that evening, we returned to the Village and began our next shifts working a different job. Some of us drove delivery carts, some worked at the pool party, some played with kids at the “castle”, one person worked the carousel, and some worked in the game room and drove the train.
At our “Highs and Lows” meeting after our shifts, we all talked about the different people we met and how much they impacted our experience here so far. We met so many brave children who could easily fool us into thinking that they were completely healthy! Additionally, we were able to chat with parents and form a deeper respect for the sacrifices and everything else they do for their family. What an inspiring day! We are so excited for another day! 🙂
So even though we started our trip a day late, our traveling was a success! We met at the intramural fields bright and early and split up into three cars to embark on our seven hour car ride to Kissimmee, FL.
Some of us slept, and others chatted and got to know one another. We got lost a few times trying to find the hotel, but it’s all good, because we’re safe and sound now. 🙂 We went grocery shopping, ordered pizza for dinner, and I think by that point, we were all too tired to talk or hang out.
We’ve got a long day tomorrow, so stay tuned!