As I prepare to depart from Camp Albrecht Acres (CAA) in a few short weeks, I look back and reflect on the memories made, skills developed and relationships formed, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the past year and a half here at Camp. I want to share just a few of the memories and reasons for gratitude with you:
Music & Sensory Garden
This project was incredibly special to me because it was one of the first projects I really took agency on. While it was a long process, with a wait on the weather to cooperate, it was so satisfying to see the project come together and be able to make a lasting change on the geography at CAA. Knowing that the instruments which now line the paved trails at camp will be there for many years to come, for so many campers to utilize and enjoy, was such a special project to get to be part of.
While I am certain many staffs of nonprofit organizations are close and feel more like a dysfunctional family than a staff, this group certainly does! We celebrate holidays in the office with tacos and party hats, we bring donuts and/or coffee when we stumble in late in the morning, and during breaks we catch up on family life news and play games together. There are office pranks every once in awhile, and items sent home with coworkers "help decorate." This group is here to support our campers, help each other out, and have a great time.
I have seen it before, and I am sure I will again, but the generosity of the Dubuque area community astounds me. Through grants, in-kind donations, financial contributions and volunteer time, there is so much to be grateful for in this community. It has been a privilege to live and work in the Dubuque area. A specific memory of this generosity was the "Night of Celebrating All Abilities" during which we held a live auction. At one point, the auctioneer began an auction game where essentially the last person to donate $40 toward the campership financial aid fund would win a trip, and the sheer volume of funds raised in the next 15 minutes brought me to tears. The evening was not only a successful fundraiser, but was also a great way to get awareness of what we do at camp out to the public.
There's no better reminder of why we work hard all year-round than a hug and smile from a camper. While I rarely worked one-on-one with our campers, I still received many smiles, hugs and 'thank you's from campers who only had to see my staff shirt to feel grateful. It's a humbling experience to know the name on my shirt is enough to elicit a smile - this place is truly something special.
Thanks for the memories, lessons and friendship!
Staff Members of Camp Albrecht Acres update this blog with press releases and information about camp events, camper stories, and community pride. If you have any stories you'd like to add, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.