Alumni Additions: Lilo
We all have someone we look up to, whether it be our parents, teachers, celebrities, or all of the above. They give us strength and hope through their unconditional love, attitude, and their ability to help us learn by example. But you should know, that the people I look up to I actually look down on (or for a more developmentally appropriate approach I squat, bend, sit, or manipulate my height to be as close to their level as possible). Why? Well for one thing I’m taller than most young women my age, high heels are not even an option at this point, and for another the people I look up to are about half my age (and up to a few years younger than me).
The highlight of my college career was and will forever be joining and helping start Camp Kesem- Texas. What started out as an extracurricular activity, something to put on my resume, and perhaps get to know my o-chem professor, turned into one of the most exciting and unexpected life changing experience that has happened to me in my short 22 years of life. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Although this organization and I found each other late in my college career, I found the family and the group of people that you always hope to find when you’re in college. As coordinators we started this kooky family who will spout out songs after hearing a single word like ‘Announcements’ or we’ll forever be repeating a repeat after me song. I’ll be the first to say it, through the hardships of starting a student chapter, getting to know new people, networking, being afraid of failure made no sense to me at first, I questioned our actions and intentions and whether or not we could pull it off, but it all made sense once camp came.
Over the week we spent at camp, delirious from that wonderful Texas heat, lack of sleep, and allergies we got to know some of the most incredible and strongest people you’ll ever meet, our campers. We learned from them, we were humbled by them, we cried and laughed and sang silly songs with them. I personally won’t forget the 5 minute period where I was laughing so hard I cried during lunch and was then declared open to be piled on by about 10 campers, which obviously didn’t help my laughing fit, or all the hilarious moments with the older girl cabin, most especially our cheese ball stories as well as those great heart to hearts that I look back on when my days get hard, or life gets stressful. People always say that laughter is the best medicine, and that it can add on months to your life, well I’m sure I’ve put on an extra year or two on mine just through all the laughter shared at camp. These campers, who supposedly look up to us as counselors don’t even realize how much we look up to them, and how they’ve changed our lives forever, and beyond the counselors and families that I share this bond with can’t even begin to understand how they’ve shaped my last years as an undergrad. To the campers, thank you for giving me endless strength and motivation, you all are my heroes and my source of joy. To the coordipillars and counselors, the cheese ball loving, circle making, buzzard-song-singing people I got to share the last two years of my undergrad career with, I can’t begin to express my gratitude to all of y’all. You all are my inspirations, my friends, and my family I hope that you all can continue to spread the magic and the love that we’ve started and that you can touch more lives. And remember, along with the pizza man, Michael JorDAN, Toucan Sam, and Jackie Chan there’s always room for you in my hand.