The Thoughts and Musings of Tom Allain

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it

Stephen Colbert
(b.1964)

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Archive for June, 2010

Yes, At My Age I Can Still Be a Happy Camper

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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.