Friday, October 16, 2009

Destination: Juliette Low Camp for kids with Disabilities

Article by: Dianne Kaiyoorawongs

Dianne Kaiyoorawongs, a fifteen year old sophomore, currently attending Pine View School and living in Sarasota, was one of 29 girls chosen by the Girl Scouts of the USA from across the U.S. to travel to Kansas City this summer to work at the Juliette Low Camp for kids with special needs for a month. “Counselors of course received an intensive homework assignment and week of training before working directly with the campers, but nothing could possibly have prepared me for the physical and emotional demands of Juliette Low Camp,” said Kaiyoorawongs.

“After the two camp sessions and working with the girls, I realized that being a camp counselor was more work and responsibility than I have ever had before, but this is the work from which I have learned the most. These are life lessons which are impossible to learn in any classroom.”

“Juliette Low camp was a magnificent place for me because of the warm, fuzzy feelings it gave me to know the girls truly appreciated what I was doing; campers constantly said that I was their best friend and loved to play with the counselors. Playing water fairies in the pool with two girls who are legally blind and seeing their imaginations at work was enough to make me wish that I could forever be a part of their lives. Not to mention the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment I got after a long day of catering to other’s needs before my own.”

Dianne also discovered a new career path, “Before this summer, I never would have thought that working with children with special needs was a career option, but now it’s my passion. The impact of Juliette Low Camp was amazing for me because summer camp has shaped my life and will always be an important part of my childhood. Words cannot explain exactly how miraculous it was that I got to help make a real summer camp experience possible for girls who normally could not experience camp in a traditional setting.”

“Getting to know each of the campers and her personal needs taught me so much about how the treat people with different needs. While I cannot come close to describing the true impact this experience has had on me, I can say that I highly recommend that everybody works with special needs in their own communities. It does not seem like simply doing crafts, going on hikes, and singing camp songs could possibly mean so much to one person, but I can only try to explain how significant it has been to me, and how much I hope it meant to my campers this past summer. Juliette Low camp was definitely the experience of a lifetime.”

Destinations travel adventures range from two days to three weeks and are for Girl Scouts ages 11–17. Girls do not have to participate in a traditional troop to apply for a Destination, all girls are welcome to apply. To find out more about Destinations visit

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