I first came to the summer day camp at the Bay Terrace Pool Club through the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation (LBG) when I was 7 or 8, and now I’m 25 years old. The Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation helps children with special needs experience summer camp. I am hard of hearing and my camp experience has been one of the best experiences of my life.
From my first day at camp I loved it. It’s been a family for me. I didn’t talk much at first but everyone was so welcoming, nice, and supportive that soon I opened up and made a lot of friends. When I was a kid I loved swimming and playing basketball and that hasn’t changed. I love playing with all the campers and my co-counselors.
I love being able to come back every year to my Bay Terrace family. My first job here was working the pool deck and then helping with lunch. Now I’m a counselor with the teens. I love working with them. We always have a great time. What I love most is that many of the campers, especially the ones with disabilities like deafness and hearing impairments, can look to me as a role model.
I look forward to coming back to camp every summer no matter what. I get to see “my” kids each year and watch them grow up the way everyone has seen me grow up. If I had to say one thing that has most helped me in my life, it’s been my family and friends. My mother and grandmother are the strongest people I know. They never give up and never let me give up. My two best friends are friends from school and camp, Kedar and Edgar. They both showed me what friendship and supporting each other means. I want to be able to do that for the kids, if they’re feeling down I can cheer them up.
I can’t end without saying that being able to be part of the Lisa Beth Gerstman camp at Bay Terrace since 2003 and now working at camp for the past eight summers are my favorite times. All of my co-workers and the supervisors support me. I love coming to work every day and I love being part of the family.