TBT – Florida Lions Camp 2010

Without doubt possibly one of the fondest experiences of my life to date. Never have I worked anywhere where the work was so rewarding or the people I worked with so amazing. 5 years on I still stay in touch with at least 10 of these people from varying places in the world regularly and have seen 5 of them in the last 6 months. And that is a testament to just how close we all became as a group that summer.

So about the camp. FLC was (devastatingly I have to use the past tense here) a special needs camp in Florida that was the only camp in the state that had a policy of never turning away a camper no matter what their needs were. And because of this we really did face some challenges. I will never forget the Schiller Twins and their book or Rene who would tell you to shut up and spit at you in the face if you came to close. I remember him giving me a wedgee when I was fishing a water bottle from under his bed… legend. And there are many more stories like that.

But personally for me it really did make a change in my life. I probably wasn’t at the best stage in my life, issues from my teenage years were still lingering and at this period I was seriously considering dropping out of University. But if there was ever a kick in the butt moment in my life it was there, I came to the realisation of just how trivial all my issues were and my mindset on life changed forever that summer.

And those few months have shaped my life for the years to come and still do. It was here where I was referred to Disney Cruise Line whom I joined in 2012 and I followed the Director Barb to Camp Winnebago along with a few others the following summer. And all these events have led me to where I am now, my trip to New Zealand, coming to Australia, and even becoming an interviewer for summer camps. Even my University grades improved dramatically after this summer.

But unfortunately 2010 was to be FLC’s last. The camp was hit by three hurricanes in fives years and were heavily indebted to their parent charity the Florida Lions. I won’t even get started on how someone can be in debt to a charity but resultantly the camp had to close and I followed the director Barb to her new camp in Minnesota the following year. But I will never forget FLC, neither will the campers who went there, or the other staff who worked there. And I will always feel a debt unpaid to that place. If I ever get rich the first thing I will do is buy that land and bring back FLC.

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