Camp Valor

Just returned today from being a helper and counselor for three days at Camp Valor, a summer camp for about 50 kids and siblings with bleeding disorders. We actually left early today. Though scheduled to conclude tomorrow, we were evacuated from the area — Camp Wapiti in the Stansbury Range of the Oquirrh Mountains. A lightning strike started the fire late last night. I just saw a news report stating that 22,000 acres have now burned.

The camp was inspiring. I’m reflective tonight, realizing I’m missing what would have been our last night together sharing skits together. The bleeding disorders world is filled with inspiring people. From kids (this camp is for kids 8-13 years old) to counselor associates to counselors and leaders of the foundation. Last night we all participated in a “Golden Pine Cone Ceremony,” a chance for each kid, counselor, and others to name something or someone that they felt gratitude for, and then ceremonally place the pine cone in the bon fire. Some spoke of loved ones who have died. Others spoke of friends in the camp. It was touching.

A few other things that I loved from this camp:

– Being with friends, other parents, like Mya Anderson, and being able to share a few stories of our early days in raising our children with hemophilia and what we’ve learned over the years.

– Listening to Chad Hymas, an amazing being and speaker. In a farming accident, he was left paralyzed from his chest down. His story is one of perserverance. Of humor. Of gifting each other with time. Of being creative. He told his personal story, of which I know many varieties from the bleeding disorders world. It is one of doing what seems like it can’t be done.

– I loved offering a few practices with the kids that I’ve learned with friend, Chris Corrigan. Rock-balancing, which was great while waiting for next rotations. I love it when the kids see the rocks and wonder how it is done. They see the seemingly impossible in front of them. Even better when they try them. And juggling — particularly good this time while we waited in our evacuation space with a very gracious group of people in the Elks Lodge.

– Seeing the Air Med helecopter (demo unrelated to the fire), hearing a few stories of their work. Similarly with three SWAT Medics (again, unrelated to the fire). Those are people with some serious training behind them.

– Sleeping outside in the field. I was on my own for this one. And woke to see the lightning that started the fires.

– The SPLORE staff that worked with us again this year. They are a great group of inspiring leaders themselves. I love their commitment to recycling and conservation. It isn’t easy to do with kids. These SPLORE friends — Chala, Zach, Beth, Josh, Megan and others are really great to be with.

– I loved the Tai Chi class in the morning. This is a practice I could get into more.

I loved the feeling of being with this community. And in some way found myself very happy to be in the simplicity of purpose together. Camp is about wellness. About education. About helping kids learn to infuse and improve their self care. It is straight forward and clear. I’ll save it for another post, but the gift of this for me was reflections on the straight forward in my work.

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