Helping America's Most Vulnerable

First time camper, First time counselor

Guest blog by Laura Salinas

Laura Salinas participated in Volunteers of America's Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. as a counselor. Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. is a week-long summer camp in partnership with the Denver Police Department for 11 and 12-year-olds. Laura is a Civilian Report Technician with the Denver Police Department/ D-4.

When I was a kid I always wanted to go to a camp but my parents couldn't afford it because there were 5 kids in my family.

When I heard about the opportunity of being a counselor in Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. (Peace Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams), I immediately applied. I was so excited when I was chosen. I really wanted to make a difference in the kid's lives, so I decided I needed to experience a camp myself before being a counselor.

I found about a camp for adults in Mendocino, California in May and I immediately registered and went as my birthday present. It was a life changing experience for me. I went by myself and met a lot of really cool people. I felt like a kid again. I remember before going I was nervous because I didn't know anyone so I knew how the kids would be feeling before going to Camp POSTCARD. That experience helped me make them feel more comfortable and adapt faster to the camp so they could have fun.

After my camp, I knew I was ready to be a counselor and change kid's lives as my counselor changed mine!

I got close to the girls that were in my group at Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. and they were amazing. They were super good girls, they made me laugh a lot, and we had fun. They had a huge smile every day after they woke up and they were ready for another fun day at camp.

When I received a thank you note from each of them and read that they were happy I was their counselor because I made camp fun for them and they had a great experience, in that moment, I knew that I achieved what I wanted, to make this experience unique for them.

I spoke a lot to the girls in my group and individually about things that were worrying them in their lives and that were not allowing them to be 100% happy in their lives. We talked and I gave them advice about how to handle that in the future so they can be able to feel better about themselves and be happy.

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