Children's Harbor and Camp Conquest

Volunteer Spotlight: Leah Dennis

Schuttinga Family

Volunteer Spotlight: Leah Dennis

Every night before lights out at Camp Conquest, all the campers and staff would have “closing circle” around the flag pole. Rodger Cofer would lead this circle by, first, asking if anyone had anything to share, then leading a chant that everyone followed along with. The theme of the camp was military, so the chant was performed in military fashion by marching along to the words. The chant went like this:

"Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we are
So we tell them
We're camp conquest
Mighty camp conquest
We're survivors
Brave survivors
We're motivated
We're dedicated
We're strong as ever
When we're together
We are camp conquest
We are camp conquest
Motivated, Motivated
Dedicated, Dedicated”

Every time the kids repeated the lines “We’re survivors, Brave survivors,” you could feel the chills over every person there. To see children from ages 6-17 having fought and survived extreme burns, yet laughing and encouraging each other every day of camp was breathtaking. As a counselor, I truly believe I learned more from the campers than they learned from any of the staff. I remember a young child tell me that she was thankful for her burns, because it led her to all the people she met at camp. That right there is the true meaning of selflessness and bravery.

When Cofer asked if anyone wanted to share at closing circle, there was one night that a shy young boy stood up and said the most innocent, yet meaningful thing I’d ever heard a young boy. He looked to his best friend he made at camp and said that on the first day, he wanted chips instead of a banana for snack. The other boy smiled and traded him without any hesitation of selfishness. This small innocent comment brought tears to all of our eyes, as we realized how this small act of kindness was made truly through selfishness and kindness.

This camp was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve been able to be a part of. I went into the camp not knowing one person, and came back feeling like I had one hundred new best friends.

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