The 2012 Youth Rally returned to Boulder, Colorado where from July 9-14 more than 200 campers, counselors and counselors-in-training had the time of their lives -- Just take a look at the daily videos on the website and you’ll see what we mean!
This year, we asked our friend from ostomysecrets, Cricket Henley, who attended as a counselor-in-training, to share with everyone her thoughts on the Youth Rally experience. Here’s Cricket’s report:
As I settled into my University of Colorado dorm room, nestled in the Boulder mountains, I began what would be the hardest, most rewarding week of my life! I had no idea what I was really signing up for when I agreed to be a counselor-in-training (CIT) for the Youth Rally. I knew I would be working with kids between the ages of 11 and 17, all of whom were dealing with some sort of bowel or bladder diversion. All I knew was I wanted to help and serve in whatever way I could. Little did I know that the kids would help me more than I ever could have imagined!
The camp is chock full of activities, all designed with the kids in mind. The large percentage of it is built around fun, encouraging them to try activities they might not otherwise think they can conquer. Other parts of it are built around education. The campers learn not only more about their own diseases and management of them, but also about others and how they deal with their specific situations. Campers told me they really enjoyed this learning about the other kids as it gave them insight to how other kids handle their lives. I was really moved by their compassion towards other campers.
Every day had a new activity starting at the beginning of the week with an outdoor scavenger hunt and lawn games. As the week went on, kids enjoyed skits, rap sessions, special speakers, a casino night, time at the UC Fitness Center, a trip to Denver’s downtown amusement and water park Elitch Gardens, time in the “beauty shop,” shopping on Pearl Street, playing sports, a special laser show, a talent and fashion show and an 80s dance/graduation party. Multiply this by being on a college campus, living in dorms, eating at the campus dining hall, meeting new and seeing old friends, all with only a few hours of sleep each night and you have Youth Rally!
As a CIT, I learned so much about the camp itself while also seeing what it would be like to be a counselor. It was exhausting, yes, but I met so many amazing kids and through each conversation I had with them, I gained such respect and admiration for how they each deal with their own bladder or bowel issues. As a grown woman with an ileostomy, the campers encouraged me greatly to continue to press on and remain positive in my situation. For me, the highlight of the week occurred over and over again, every time I shared a moment with one of these amazing campers!
Great Comebacks® is proud to partner with Youth Rally to support young people with bowel or bladder disorders, and we especially want to thank the volunteers who made this year’s camp such a great experience! If you know of a young person who would benefit from attending the camp or would like to personally support Youth Rally, please visit the website at www.rally4youth.org.