For two summers Amy Hazlehurst, 20, left the bustle of London for the back country of Texas. At the sprawling, 500-acre Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville she met campers with disabilities who “prove that anything is possible. Each day they reach goals, conquer fears and make friends for life.” London swings, but Kerrville rocks. “The campers take hold of your whole heart. It’s the happiest place on earth,” she wrote in a blog post. Each summer the Texas Lions Camp hires 100 young camp counselors from the United States and another 50 from five foreign nations. They’re up with the sun to dress the campers, accompany them as they fish, ride horses and enjoy arts and crafts and roast marshmallows with them at night around a campfire. But the counselors are not mere assistants. “They’re close enough in age to the campers that they can look up to them. There’s that hero element,” says Steven King, the camp’s director of operations. “When they tell them they can do something, there’s believability. It’s not like their mom is telling them that.” But the counselors themselves also undergo profound changes. “It’s a life-changing experience,” says King. “You have to be honest about yourself at the camp. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses. Your most real self comes out. There’s no faking it.” “I tell them to take a piece of the camp back to your community. You can change the world.” Counselors get to know what Lions Club is all about, and many join Campus Clubs or have become Lions, King says.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Texas+Camp+Inspires+Service/2832383/423323/article.html.