I’ve written a few articles about the lovely compassion of people in the face of my disability and I have another one for you!
This summer 2021, I returned to in-person summer camps for a few weeks. To be honest, I was very nervous about it due to COVID-19.
However, I was happy and pleasantly surprised that the school had very strict protocols in place and I felt 99.9 percent safe! Even with all the restrictions, there is still a little tiny risk.
However, that is not the point of the article. Previously, I’ve written on specific moments when people showed me unparalleled kindness in the face of my disability.
Where I lived, people were always hassled and only cared for themselves. So when they went above and beyond to show compassion, it meant just a little more to me.
The space was not disability-friendly
Anyways, back to camp. The camp was at a local public school near my home. The camp took place outside, everyone was masked and if we were inside (for bad weather or heat) the campers were socially distanced.
The only thing about this school is that it is sort of not disability-friendly. The parking lot is ages away from the building and there is only one elevator on one side. Both were particularly difficult as I brought my materials with me at the beginning of the week and occasionally had extraneous materials filter in through the week.
I always arrive early to camp to a) find good parking b) get the lay of the land and c) get my materials into the classroom if accessibility is an issue. And, since I had taught at this school before, I knew there could be a problem.
Accessibility was not an issue this time
But, this time, to my surprise, accessibility was not an issue. I spoke to the summer camp director who made sure that there was a rolling cart waiting for me (to bring my supplies in).
She made sure someone could help me access the elevator and always asked if I needed someone to help me. Additionally, during camp, the director or assistant director came by to ask if I needed a minute or any other support.
Their compassion and support allowed me to do my best work
I know employers and schools have to provide disability access, but that’s where it ends. There is no compassion or empathy; there is no further assistance. People do what is required and nothing more.
But, not the lovely people at this camp. They went to extraordinary lengths to make sure I could do my best work.
I often wrestle with whether to tell people about my rheumatoid arthritis upfront. After all, there is usually judgment that comes along with sharing an “invisible illness” diagnosis.
Even with that, I always share that I have an autoimmune. I want people to know about it and then show them how hard I work.
Sharing the love and positivity
I can’t say whether they helped me because I was a hard worker, but I can say that they were just good people. I just told them straight up - I have a physical disability - and, without a lick of judgment, they made sure I was comfortable in every way.
Generally speaking, I don’t put a lot of faith in the human race. From what I’ve experienced, people only care about themselves and won’t go out of their way to help others unless there is something in it for them.
When something amazing happens like what I experienced at camp, I have to share the love and positivity.
When was the last time someone did something amazing for you? LMK in the comments!
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