June 12, 2012
Did you know there's a Disney Land in Upstate New York? Did you know there's a group of people that are like angels like white angels helping relieve and cure the pain of cancer patients? Not just with daily help, such as, food services, babysitting, housekeeping, big sistering, tutoring, hotlining, dr. Referring but in general blowing a wind and spirit of life and excitment so magically into the patient undergoing treatment and the family. For years, I was employed as a counselor/supervisor at Camp Simcha which I like to refer to as Disney Land in Upstate. I was just a counselor; cancer has never touched my family and so I felt like I needed to give back. For those two weeks suddenly; there were no problems in this world for everything was so happy. No problems one would think? When you have young bald kids already aged 4 until 24 running around camp attached to an IV sometimes or many times stuck in a wheelchair. Yes, the happiest place; for besides for Camp Simcha not stopping at anything and going all out with a disney level program on a disney level camp ground. Camp simcha proved that happiness is not dependent on the physical; it's something deep within. So for these 2 weeks we left our make up bags home, our nice clothes and modern tech gadegets home, barely spoke to old friends or family and met eye to eye with the chore of the human. We saw the naked truth cus the physical and materialistic outters were gone. We were so excited with that one thing called "life" we too as volunteers suddenly felt connected to this desperation and apperation for life. We would dance and sing and hug and laugh. There was no discrimination, there was no limitation to the word happiness. The camp has free soda machines, a canteen that has sweets and dream goodies that only the happiest place in the world can possess. It has artrooms and wood carving rooms and pottery room and baking and a sophisticated basketball court and a wheelchair accesible pool and the greatest cook in the world; preparing 16 course meals. The lake has motor boats, paddle boats, kayaks and what not?!?! I know I've omitted some very important facilities like the game room etc..... I know and so do my colleague volunteers that the endless and tireless giving and spread of happiness that Camp Simcha has achieved is one that many cancer survivors and thousands of volunteers and bereaved families can attest to. The so many children that have left this world and met with true peace have no doubt helped and given strength to the organization to function and run better and better as a merit of the endless and tireless giving they gave until that last breath. Many an organization have tried competing with Chai Lifeline/ Camp Simcha but there's something magical that just can't drive them out of their success. They have built a professional team of directors and an organization run by professional and honest pple like Rabbi Simcha Scholar who are there for one thing and one thing only; to help and assist and ease. I was employed for a short while at the manhattan office and I was amazed when Rabbi Scholar told me at a meeting; "in this office and in this organization there are no mistakes; it's not an enter and delete process here, WE ARE DEALING WITH A LIFE!!!!! He screamed. The office runs like clock work; with scheduled case meetings and all that a professional office needs so it functions properly which directly affects the success of all they do for the cance patients and their families. Recently my niece was diagnosed and now; although once far from my family. I'm connected again with the organization (4 kids later and many years past) and those pictures that my brother emails us from the volunteers and case workers. The help they've supplied him with at home and otherwise cannot be properly described. For words cannot always do justice, especially in this situation. Chai lifeline/Camp Simcha deserve every high honor that can be bestowed upon them. And if not in this world then in the world to come.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?