𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬. ❤️
In 2008 I started working at a Boy Scout camp in Wisconsin. For 8 weeks every summer, I worked alongside dozens of other camp counselors to create a fun and memorable summer for Scouts, Leaders, and Parents alike! It was nothing like I had ever experienced before! 😄
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟖 𝐈’𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭! 🙏
It was the week I was assigned to work with a Troop, and I met a young Scout named Evan. At 11 years old, it was his first time attending camp, as well as his first time ever being away from home for an entire week!
Many Scouts typically see their week up at camp as an opportunity to be away from home and to be free from daily responsibilities. But for Evan it was a different story. By the time Day 2 had arrived, he ha become really homesick. 😔
I remember seeing him cry outside the camp’s main office. I remember Scouts from his Troop being dismissive of his behavior: “He always does that! He just cries a lot!” And I remember talking with him. 👥
Through his sniffles he explained to me how he was afraid of being away from home for so long. In fact, he was more worried about his parents and how they were back at home. He worried if they were truly okay with him being up at camp. 😰
I had never experienced a situation like this before with a Scout, let alone anyone. But he was looking to me for support. 🙌
I remember putting my arm around him and offering him a new perspective. I asked him to consider his parent’s point of view, that perhaps his parents didn’t actually want him worrying about them. 👀
“𝘋𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥’𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮? 𝘞𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘧𝘶𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧?” 🙂
𝐈𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐲 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐜𝐤 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐡𝐢𝐦. 💬
We had a conversation or two after that, but by Day 4 he had become a lot more comfortable being at camp. I saw him taking merit badges, talking with Scouts from his troop, and enjoying himself in camp activities. 🙂
I rarely spoke with him the rest of the week. But I was glad the situation with him had ended on a positive note. 💯
𝐈𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐨𝐮𝐭. 𝐅𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐈 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐚𝐦𝐩 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐫.
…A few weeks after his troop left camp, I was at the main office when I was notified I had new mail. Typically I was receiving mail that summer from my family in the form of care packages and handwritten letters telling me how they missed me. ❤️
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐦𝐲 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐄𝐯𝐚𝐧. 👤
He sent me a handwritten letter thanking me for helping him that week. And along with the letter he enclosed a photo taken of us during a camp activity. 📷
I read the letter multiple times, unexpected tears filling me up with gratitude. 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐈 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐞. 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐬𝐨 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐚 𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐭. 🙌
This happened over 10 years ago. Not many people know this story. Not many people know about Evan. And not many people know about the impact they can have on others.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐠𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫. 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧’𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞. 𝐏𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭. ❤️
His letter and photo now sit in a scrapbook atop my closet shelf, and I don’t plan on ever getting rid of it. While I worked at camp for another 5 summers, I never saw Evan again.
I don’t where he is or how he’s doing or if he even remembers writing this letter, but what I do know is that this moment left a solid mark on my heart. ❤️
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