Katie’s story


“I knew from the very first lesson, that this would not be an easy group of girls to work with”, said Melissa, a Moorelands Camp swimming instructor, speaking about an 11-year-old girl named Katie and her cabin mates. “They didn’t want to take direction and were not used to working cooperatively with others. As the week progressed I didn’t see any improvement in the girls’ attitudes. They balked at the idea of working in partners to solve problems and would never dare to show weakness.”

“On the second last day of camp, I it was time to learn how to do a kneeling dive. One by one the girls tried it, and with much success. That is, until it was Katie’s turn. ‘Alright Katie, why don’t you give it a try, just kneel down, squeeze your ears with your arms, finger tips together and point to the treasure at the bottom of the lake…’ She looked up at me with terror in her eyes. “I can’t,” she whispered. Tears were beginning to escape her.”

“Come on Katie, I know that you can do it. Let’s give it a go.”

“No,” she said, “I’ll hit my head…I’ll get hurt…I can’t do it.” I could see how afraid she was and I wasn’t going to push her anymore. But I wasn’t the only one who noticed the fear on her face and in her voice. “Come on Katie! You can totally do it!” “Just give it a try, we know you can!”

I could not believe my ears. These girls were rallying around and encouraging her. “Here Katie, you can borrow my lifejacket.” Another climbed out and took her hand. “I’ll dive with you if you want Katie.”

“Without even realizing it, these girls were demonstrating one of the most precious things that I experienced at camp. They were working together. They were encouraging each other. They were putting aside their differences and genuinely caring for one another.

I knelt down next to Katie. “So? What do you say; do you want to try it?”

“Yes,” she said. “I want to try.” And with that Katie knelt down, squeezed her ears with her arms and pointed to the treasure at the bottom of the lake. Cheers erupted from the girls and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a little girl smile such a huge smile. These were not the 7 tough girls that came into my class at the beginning of the week. After experiencing Moorelands Camp, these 7 girls had made real connections with each other and they had a new confidence in themselves.”

And that is what Moorelands is all about – helping kids develop competence, confidence, character and make positive connections with peers and adults.

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