By Dianna Rodriguez – Head Camp Counselor of Media
(Bellflower, CA) – Over 270 teenagers have decided to spend their summer serving the kids living around the St. Dominic Savio parish. Many people are in disbelief by the amount of volunteers we have at Camp Savio and think we are crazy to keep so many teenagers in one place. As a Salesian camp, we believe that there is no need to turn down young and joyful teens who are willing to serve. Our liturgical theme this camp season is strength because not only do we find strength in God, we find strength in numbers. We believe in the abilities our youth have and we channel their talents and energy towards the children so that they can give them the best summer experience ever.
Camp Savio runs for four weeks but counselors dedicate an additional week beforehand to learn how to properly deal with children and to bond with each other. Our volunteers need time to spend together so they can build trust and good communication skills to perform their best as a team. This training week they arrived every day at 8:30am and were dismissed at 4:00pm except Friday when they spent the night. The counselors were given different team building activities, talks about child psychology, inspirational witness stories by head counselors, and time to connect with God. Friday was the counselor overnighter and an adoration service was organized for them. A labyrinth of candles that led to a cross was placed in the youth center for the counselors to reflect on their lives and their relationship with God. The night went out with a bang with the different grades performing lively midnight spirit rallies where each grade competed for the spirit stick.
Overall, training week went well and taught many of the new counselors how to unleash their inner child. They have learned that it is not about them, it is about the children. Most importantly they have learned the importance of unity within a family. Many of our counselors have been pushed out of their comfort zones throughout the week, but they have grown tremendously in the process.