The weekend of June 11-13th was an important few days for me. I didn’t think I would actually go through with it, but I spent that weekend at Camp Marston in Julian, California as a “cabin big buddy” at Camp Erin. It’s a camp for children aged 6-17 who are remembering someone who has died. Oftentimes it’s a parent or a sibling, but it can be anybody.
For lots of reasons I’ve been looking for a place where I can volunteer my gifts, and this looked like a good spot. As many of you know, I’m a chaplain with San Diego Hospice. My work with the terminally ill oftentimes connects with the Center for Grief Care and Education and the ministry they do. I believe that grief is a skill that must be learned and the staff at our Center provides the best education I’ve ever seen. I volunteered to work with boys aged 16 and 17. I know, I know, these are not the easiest people to work with, but they are people who are in need.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but when I met the boys/young men I was living with, I knew I had chosen well. It’s been a looooooong time since I was the Youth Minister at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia but the issues hadn’t changed. They still wanted someone who cared about them and I was grateful to provide them with them with that. Given what they’d been through, I was grateful to be the person who cared. I know I didn’t solve all their problems, but maybe I helped them know someone cared about them. Maybe I’ll see them next year.