Working at Camp Anchor isn’t Work

Amanda Amato, Reporter

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Summer is for going to the beach, sleeping in, and so many more fun and lazy activities. But if you’re a 15 year old like me, you will work all summer. And it made my day working at the best place on earth, Camp Anchor.

If you don’t know what Camp Anchor is, it’s in Lido beach where people who have autism or down syndrome, ages 5 and up, are assigned a buddy. Their buddy, whether they are a volunteer or a staff member, hangs out with them the whole day doing many fun activities. Those activities include arts and crafts, dancing, acting, making food and so many more. The possibilities are endless. I’ve been a volunteer for 2 summers now and they have been the best summers of my life. Even though I’ve been there for 2 summers, Camp Anchor is 51 years old and has a popular balloon tradition, the last day of camp. This tradition, however,  40 summers old may be over due to environmental concerns. 

The balloons could land in the ocean and harm the animals and other organisms there. But the supervisor at Camp Anchor, Mary Ann Hanson, says that they’ve been using biodegradable balloons for the past 3 years. She also said that they help clean the beach yearly, recycle water bottles left behind daily, and many more to protect the environment around the site. 

Anyway, as sad as that is, it won’t stop Anchor for being the best program in the town of Hempstead. For the 2 summers I’ve been there. I have great memories and made new friends.. For example, this past summer I was in group Senior 6 with group leader, Lauren Epstein. This was an all-female group with both autism and down syndrome campers from ages 20-39. And even though there were 22 women in this group there is one camper I still talk to today through social media. Her name is Sandy Katrakazos and she is 26-years-old. Within two weeks she became my best friend. We always call each other nicknames and hug every morning, but when we were buddies for the whole day we would have a blast. She has really touched my heart and I don’t know how I would live without her. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to her especially because we were both bawling over the fact that we wouldn’t see each other until next summer. I can’t wait to hug and see her again.

Now that you know all about Anchor and how it changed my life, I encourage you to sign up or donate to Camp Anchor. It really is a life changing experience and the best summer camp. Also, donating could lead to expanding the campsite and adding more activities for the campers..And even if you don’t sign up or donate just remember this quote: “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you could mean the world.”  

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