Walstrom family with Wendell at Camp Courage

Walstrom family with Wendell at Camp Courage

Sarah Wright-Walstrom was looking for an activity for her family to participate in over the summer that would allow them to do good while spending quality time together. After hearing about True Friends through a ‘Doing Good Together’ newsletter, Sarah decided camp was the place for them. Sarah, her husband, Dave, and three sons, ages 7, 10 and 12, spent a week volunteering during the last week of camp at Camp Courage this past summer.

Sarah with Wendell

Sarah with Wendell

Dave and the two older boys assisted in a cabin of 11 campers, who were mostly active and verbal. They enjoyed assisting the campers with games, arts and crafts, sports and waterfront activities. Sarah noted that she was particularly impressed with how much her sons were able to learn about differences and appreciate people as individuals. They learned about respect and patience while assisting the campers and felt a sense of accomplishment from the week.
Walstrom children at camp

Walstrom children at camp

Sarah and her youngest son were placed in a cabin of seven older campers, many of whom were nonverbal and only one of which was ambulatory. At first, Sarah felt overwhelmed and ready to give up. By the end of the week, she had formed lifelong bonds with several of the campers. One of her favorite memories was taking the cabin to the zip line. She had a great time and was thrilled to see the group so happy and excited about an activity.

Since camp, Sarah and her family have embraced several of the campers they met into their family. Neither camper has family close by, so Sarah has found time to visit them, take them to lunch or out of their homes for the day and call them on the phone several times a week. She gets as much out of it as the campers do. She said they make her happy no matter what her day has been like.

Walstrom family with John

Walstrom family with John

Of the overall experience, Sarah said, “I really learned what it means to be a vulnerable adult. These individuals are at the mercy of their caregivers and it is so important to look them in the eyes, learn who they are as people, let them feel seen and let them do things for themselves. This brought me a level of awareness that I couldn’t have gotten any other way.”