Diana Hofsommer | Camp Horizon | Volunteerism
The Power of Encouragement
At Camp Horizon, where some foster children come in with very real struggles and emotional hurdles to jump, campers can have huge breakthrough. But many times, the success stories, are as straightforward as mastering a new skill or achieving a goal. Diana Hofsommer, who has been volunteering at Camp Horizon’s summer camp program for 10 years, remembers her very first camper as one of those who finally mastered a skill.
“When I started, it was her second year at camp, so she was 9. She was a kid who was really gregarious, a lot of fun, but clearly never had anyone encouraging her. Every time she wanted to try something new, she gave up very quickly. So I spent those summer camp weeks encouraging her and telling her she could do it.”
Finally, during this camper’s last year at summer camp, when she was 11, she became determined to learn to swim. Though she had struggled to stick to it in the past, Hofsommer remembers, this summer was different. “She took the swim lessons every day, and every day she took the swim test, and every day she didn’t pass it.” She didn’t give up, though, and on the last day of camp, this camper passed the swim test and received her green armband, signaling that she could go down the side and swim in the deep end.
“It was a very victorious moment for her,” Hofsommer remembers. “This camper was an orphan – she lived with a grandmother who didn’t drive, so her case manager would come pick her up. She got in the car when it was time to leave, and she just raised up her little writs with her green armband as if to say, “I did it’.”