My Time as an OWL Camp Buddy

NewView Marketing Intern Paige Gorshing shares her take on being an OWL Camp buddy.

My first year as being a buddy at OWL (Oklahomans Without Limits) Camp was by far the most nerve racking. It was 2009, and I was twelve years old. I had no idea what to expect out of a camp like this—little did I know, I would be a camp buddy for the following four years.

Being an OWL Camp buddy quickly turned into something I looked forward to every summer. Camp always has a different theme, which makes each year more interesting and exciting than the last. During my time as a buddy, campers have participated in ballet dancing, rock climbing, playing instruments, performing science experiments, and the list goes on. Helping the campers through these activities is what makes camp special! Witnessing a visually impaired camper overcome her fear of heights to ring the bell at the top of the climbing wall can bring tears to your eyes.

The thought of having to guide someone with low vision can seem stressful, but there is a special bond created between the buddy and camper. Buddies and campers alike are nervous for this week, as no one knows who they’ll be paired up with. Camp brings everyone outside of their comfort zone, and this allows the campers and buddies to lean on each other. In my opinion, Oklahomans Without Limits doesn’t just refer to the campers—it refers to the buddies, as well.

My favorite year of camp was the last year I was able to attend before moving away to college. This was the year that I was able to truly make camp my own. I helped create the schedule for the week, paired up buddies and campers, the whole nine yards. The week was stressful, but by the end I realized what a terrific event we had put together and all the smiles and laughs we created. It became something I was truly proud of.

Being a buddy and being a part of NewView has changed my life. Volunteering at OWL Camp helped me realize that I have a passion for working in the nonprofit sector, it brought me lifelong friends, and it created some of the best experiences of my life. If you or any of your friends are interested in volunteering, even in the slightest, I cannot recommend it enough. You can’t go wrong with being a buddy at OWL Camp.

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