Last Friday, I had one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life. I was invited to be a guest visitor at Midwest Children's Burn Camp located in Missouri. My son had been a counselor at the camp for five years and could not stop praising the facilities, activities, counselors, and the campers.
The overall objective of the camp is to remove from those who have suffered the effects of severe burns:
1 ) fear,
Many of the young campers have been through emotional and mental trauma as a result of their physical pain. They have been made to live as outsiders. At the camp, they know they are not alone and are given a chance to feel good about themselves.
As I wandered about the camp, I had campers come up to me with amazing kindness and the warmest of welcomes. It was obvious how much love and affection these young people wanted and needed.
On my drive home, it occurred to me how much youth and young adults who suffer from mental illnesses share these same feelings of exclusion and need for acceptance and affection. Why can there not be a place within our community for these young people to come during the summer to rid themselves of the same emotions and thoughts of those at the camp? They, too, have scars, only theirs are not visible. They are inner scars.
My mind took me back a few years ago when Slaying Dragons decided to have a summer theater camp for youth who will have fun and feel good about themselves. Through acting or being an active part of a theatrical performance, they would realize they, also, do not need to live on the outside because they are afraid that others will know of their illnesses. They will develop feelings of belonging and self-respect.
Unfortunately Slaying Dragons was not able to secure the funding for this venture. In 2023, we would like to pursue this endeavor once again. It appears to be even more important than ever. Please let us know what you think how you would like to become a part of making this dream come true.